Poem #4: Prose poetry chain

Cody Walker


And then it hit me: Incredibly dumb was the new sort-of dumb. Today was the new Rome. Everyone was murdering everyone, and I don't just mean on television or in a villanelle. We drank the Kool-Aid; we spiked it with real spikes.

(It wasn't Kool-Aid, you'll say. It was Flavor Aid. Or rather, Flavor Aid and potassium cyanide. But that's like saying it wasn't love; it was hormones. It wasn't a Mustang; it was a Taurus. It wasn't an abecedarian; it was a coincidence.)

Still, I'm lost again, in this urban café. I've thrown off my armor, replaced it with—what's the fake stuff?—zirconium. When I tell you I've guzzled 800 cups of coffee, you'll imagine I've doubled the real number, for effect. Alarming thought: no more Zs.

I just want my lost possessions back: my yawl, my shawl, my mummified great-aunt.

Here's one recipe for Rest in Peace: Live to be forty years old. Not enough? Try forty more. Still not enough? Add a final forty; then set on a rack to cool.

Have I mentioned how hard it is to wake up alone? This morning I felt dream-challenged, history-challenged, chipper-girlfriend-challenged. I'm sorry. I'm actually home right now, whiffling with my tulgey wood.

Kool-Aid was called Fruit Smack until 1927. Forty years later, I was born: a not-quite-demi-centennial Fruit Smack II. Latin is dead; Scary Blackberry and Pink Swimmingo live.

Cody Walker

Cody Walker teaches English at the University of Washington and poetry through Seattle Arts and Lectures' Writers in the Schools program. He also serves as a writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House and the Seattle Art Museum. His work appears in Best American Poetry, Parnassus, Slate, Tarpaulin Sky, Shenandoah and elsewhere. In 2007 he was elected Seattle Poet Populist. His first book, Shuffle and Breakdown, will be published by Waywiser Press in the fall of 2008.