Mark Giffin is putting together a chapbook, available soon, entitled
Weeds, Pistons, Trees. He will make up the name of a publisher for
the book, but he's publishing it himself, just like he wrote this
biography himself. The chapbook will include pictures of cartoon
characters he drew for his son on a chalkboard before bed each night,
things like "Manny Mattress," "Billy Booger,"
"Brick Man" and "Serena Seed Pod." You'll buy
the book for these priceless pictures alone.
Mark Giffin in 1970. He looks much the same today.
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
For days he has made requests,
he believes I am some type of God.
This cat thanks me,
presents his body to be petted again,
shows his visceral reverence for my powers
which have changed the weather from
hunger-killing heat, good for nothing but
lying on the floor in suffering,
into humid cool gray sky
that we all so enjoyed today.
He takes it lightly, he never had doubt,
and I almost have faith in his judgement.
A Fly in Heaven
The young fly (rather cute)
tickles my cheek, brushes an eyelash,
disappears and returns, flirts with a nostril
and so I swat at him: two swings and he's dead.
I imagine that he goes to Heaven,
bothers Saint Peter at the gates,
passes into the realm and becomes an angel,
sweet on God's knee, an adviser,
he speaks with silver wings a-buzz,
delicate proboscis uncurling like a trumpet.
Floating serene in Heaven sun,
he darts at leisure eternally to incite
the virtuous annoyance of angels.
Snowman Toward the City
Snowman coming down from the mountains
driving a late-model Oldsmobile,
swerving behind other vehicles,
spray of dirty snow-water coating his car.
Becoming uncomfortably warm,
his ass slushy in the seat, still he drives.
He wants Marlboros from 7-11,
street noise and grit, he has grown tired of high valleys
and the cold clear still air.
Mountain tops hidden in thin gray clouds,
misty arms try to stop him. Trees whisper
under loaded limbs, calling to him: but he drives.
Remembering something as he passes a slow van,
then it's gone, a thought of the ocean and having salt,
of floating over the earth.
He doesn't have salt now and the tires squeal,
it's urgent, he's melting as he drives toward the city.
When will we be done with what we are doing?
I want it to stop but everything keeps changing.
Air will not quit its willful and awful shifting of positions.
Water is almost as bad, and don't think the Earth
is any better, rolling nauseously along senseless paths
in a ridiculous black eternity that's
vastly overdone and completely unacceptable.
Rocks and big boulders? No good even in context,
with a blatantly unearned reputation for stability.
They are busy corroding, chipping and cracking,
losing atoms, and people believe they must do the same.
They change their minds, feel differently about things,
come up with bright new ideas.
We need a universe with a job at the Postal Service,
where we can all glide forward effortlessly
toward our fully-dependable pensions of fate,
winding it all up with an actual, believable, unmoving end.
Ugly Little Weed
Little weed stubbornly grows
by a blank corner of the house, untended
amidst paint thinner spills
under fluorescent light at night,
too ugly for anyone.
There's no mother for this weed,
its kind grows on its own
or maybe its mother was
an empty sack of concrete
that fell off a truck on the freeway,
its contents powdering shrubs for sixty yards.
Birds shit on it without thought
as it spreads through dry gravel.
Its fate is to be yanked without mercy
when some dull use is made of its area,
or to sit dry, dead, brown and dusty in sunlight
after a life missed by everyone.
More alive than televised Coca-Cola,
it has more value than a president.
Copyright © 1999. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Duplication of this
poetry and/or art without permission of the author/artist is forbidden
under copyright law. Please ask permission if you wish to use for
Tuesday, July 11, 2000