Monday, December 21, 2009

Four Poems by Brad Liening

Foxy In Death (Brad Liening Finally Gets the Upper Hand)

In the eyes of the casket, the earth
is more beautiful than the sky.
Hello little groundling,
you look smashing.
My brain?
Totes made of stars.
When I die, exactly how foxy
will I look?
Answer: so foxy
and still I'm hedging my bets:
I want to be semi-nude,
I want to be interred in terrycloth,
I want it to be suggestively draped
over my privates.
In public.
In the totally packed amphitheater,
nobody will want to get up
to go to the bathroom
for fear of missing something,
everyone weeping,
everyone a little aroused and asking
who made all the windows so steamy.

Wolf Blitzer

Everyone steps gravely down
from the helicopter,
expertly dressed and coiffed,
even the last guy
who’s nowhere near the landing pad,
who’s back in the office at 4 am
pitchforking the day’s
shredded documents
into the furnace
and updating the website.
Who’s running
this asylum, anyhow?
The sky fills with
little slivers of light.
In other news:
My foot hurts. My head
is screwed on right
and still the cogs look
wonky wheeling through
the moth’s fraenulum.
Such a tiny thing
keeping us aloft.
A hawk, a wounded butterfly,
a man asking for a lift to Florida.
The tick gets big.
It's time for a change.
Pills, wars, the dollar
against the yen,
water and air filters,
what once saved us
is now decomposing
and dangerous.
Who’s nudging us
through the noisy maze
into the noisy world?
The other side of green
is green, the other side
of purple is the bruise.
Dig deep and you'll get the bone.
Dig deeper and follow
the rat through the hole.

What Brad Liening Does Sans Parents

Looks up definitions for all the words he doesn’t know when reading the King James.
Watches daytime TV and drinks Cokes through Twizzlers.
Plans the perfect heist.
Practices his dance moves in front of a mirror for three consecutive hours, because this is his life and he’s living it by his own rules!
All the real work begins after three hours.
Stares through the window into the street.
Dreaming, dreaming.
Avoids mirrors.
Avoids the telephone except when making crank calls.
Anonymously disses celebrities on the internet.
Finishes the New York Times crossword puzzle then buries it in the backyard and then begins to prepare lies about what happened to the paper.
Digs a tiger pit.
Studies flight patterns of butterflies.
Reads all of Keats’ letters to Fanny and clutches Kleenex not already used for masturbation.
Masturbates again.
Diagrams possible architectures for new flying machines for a new century.
Sips a cup of tea.
Cultivates neuroses.
Accidentally splices his DNA with that of an ordinary housefly, setting into motion a chain of events that will change the face of science forever!
Sets a trap for ghosts.
Hangs out at the mall.
Checks the ghost traps.
Practices his swing because he’s not going to be trapped here forever and this is his ticket out!
Adjusts his headband.
Some medications may increase thoughts of suicide.
Putters and tinkers some more.
Puts his suitcases by the door.
Rigs up a fishing line to catch fish from the crick while tricking some older boys into painting the fence he was supposed to paint.
One-armed push-ups.
Develops new ice cream flavors previously undreamed of: pickle-cherry-oyster-candy-corn!
One-man band practice!
Tries to remember.
Tries to forget.
Places bets on underground bare-knuckle boxing events.
Grows wistful thinking about the smell of fresh-cut grass and the flat sharp crack of a baseball bat and those haunted Michigan summers.
Seals all his secrets in a box and stashes it in the middle of a snowman.
Leaves all the lights on in all the rooms because he was raised in a damn barn.
Drafts a list of goals that never gets filled in.
Cooks a big meal with lots of asparagus.
Waits to pee.
Breaks in the new trampoline.
Goes green, goes paperless, trades in his car because cars are coffins and amasses a large amount of spray paint cans for local radical action.
Affixes sparkly dolphin stickers to the fine china.
Outruns the apocalypse.
Terror starts at home.
Blacks out his name on every document in the house.


Aliens turn people into goo
in an act of great
metaphorical significance.
But first there are a few
buildings to burn down
and a dozen trucks to explode,
a bloody handprint to smear
above the banister.
The dangers of socialism.
The dangers of capitalism
as obvious as the requisite
naked breasts or the mothership
fucking up the metropolis
but nowhere near as fun.
Exploding heads!
Exploding hearts!
Dust: familiar signifier
of our collective futures.
Still, the nudity was nice,
that scene in which the man’s
face changes hideously
into a scary man’s face
and who then brings home
a really creepy poodle
for his daughter, played
by you, the only one who
suspects something is wrong.

Brad Liening is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. His poetry has appeared in over a dozen online and print journals, including H_NGM_N, Swink, Forklift, and Fou. He's a poetry editor at InDigest Magazine and he helps run Hell Yes Press, a DIY press that publishes poetry chapbooks and zines. He lives in Minneapolis.