Poor old Phil:
they stick his fat ass
in an undersized box,
feed him carrots
and blocks of cheddar cheese
so he won’t shit in
front of the cameras.
The Punxsutawney marching band
tries to play a song:
the same song that gets played
at every small-town festival.
Meanwhile, Phil isn’t thinking about shadows.
He wants the kid in the gazebo,
the one getting the handjob
to be discovered,
to have flash bulbs
strobe him with his
pants down, balls shriveled.
But that won’t happen;
at best it’ll be an inside joke
in the percussion section
long after the mayor has
hoisted Phil skyward
to ensure a definitive silhouette.
But poor old Phil doesn’t complain.
They open up the box
and pluck him out.
Reporters check their makeup.
In the mayor’s frigid hands,
Phil tilts his head
away from the sun.
The lead drummer thunders
with all 115 of his sophomore pounds.
The trumpet section has reach forte.
The shadow appears and then is gone.
The crowd gasps.
The kid in the gazebo
makes a salty mess on himself.
The celebration continues well into the night.
Poor old Phil gets crammed
back into the box,
lays down on a bed of carrots,
carves himself a cheddar pillow,
thinks about how soon he can shit.
I am Told that this Song has no End
Outside, there is a dark forest
composed of beeps and sterilization;
your voice calls to me
like boots scraping on damp grit.
I place residue in your throat
to ensure a certain chain reaction,
a sharp vulnerability
due to being slightly out of tune.
In response, you ask me to crack
an avalanche into a bowl,
a mountainous mechanism whose song
you do not wish to duplicate,
a mechanism that has paralyzed forests.
When I oblige your request,
the beeps dissipate,
your throat empties,
out like lava.
Waking up Again but not Really
The object at the center of a black hole is dimensionless
and infinitely dense with the mass of a terrestrial mountain
but no larger than a subatomic particle.
It is here that I wake,
my head eerie and dry-mouthed,
my fist clutching itself like an organ;
the lightlessness is a nightbird
more colorless than your pupil.
When I begin to unfist my hand,
glyphs streak out like myths:
Atlantis unsunken, a catfish
swallowing a child near the riverbank.
A monsoon of hues bulges
from my clammy palm…
…I am less than microscopic
and I am sucking in everything
living, dead, and unfathomable.
©2020 Seth Berg All rights reserved.
Seth Berg’s first book, Muted Lines From Someone Else’s Memory won the Dark Sky Books 2009 book contest. His second book, Aviary, co-authored with Bradford K. Wolfenden II, won the 2015 Artistically Declined Twin Antlers Contest, and was released by Civil Coping Mechanisms in January of 2017. Other poems and fiction have appeared in 50+ journals and two anthologies. He thinks you have a weird face.
Link to website: SETH BERG / MUTED LINES