My parents gave me the name of someone
Who would be an asset in our war against the pervasive
Demonic forces that threaten us on a daily basis.
Our list contained the usual suspects:
The Russians, the Count from Sesame Street,
Ayatollah Khomeini, Universal Product Codes,
The Young and the Restless, Satan, etc.
Anything of the world was suspect back then.
Now, our shared consciousness is more at ease
When the Kool-Aid Man is bursting through a brick wall
Into a room filled with bored-out-of-their mind
Preteens, carrying an ice-cold pitcher filled to the brim
With the sugary red essence of himself.
When this happens, we like to sink
Into our overstuffed chairs & watch the fun unfold.
It is good for one to always be prepared
To watch the fun unfold.
It is good for one to always be prepared
To share the sugary red essence of one’s self,
To not acknowledge the fiction
In one’s social exchanges with others.
To do this, one must exercise the restraint of Lot.
To do this, one must exercise the restraint of Isaac.
Still, probably, we should just enjoy the way time feels
As it passes through our digestive systems,
Although, if you get bored with that idea too early on,
You’ll have to wait for your limbic system to adjust.
In the meantime, I know that it’s unfair of me
To wish upon this stack of unopened mail
That everybody I went to Sunday School with
Will soon be raptured into my heaven of cheap
Lawnmower beer & shelled peanuts & flat screen televisions,
But like Joshua & Joshua’s doubtful minions,
I’ll wait patiently in this sepia toned no-man’s-land
Letting chrome flake from the bumpers of the boats
Parked up and down our street like hollow
Rockheads I sometimes dream of standing on,
Casting my net into a dark red sea, like O!
The extraordinary patience of things!


Caleb Curtiss

CALEB CURTISS is an educator, writer, and freelance editor. His poems, essays, criticism, and fiction have appeared in journals such as Passages North, Ninth Letter, Hobart, The Literary Review, American Short Fiction, New England Review, International Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, Fugue, Hayden's Ferry Review, Redivider, and The Southern Review. He has served as a public school teacher, instructional coach, manuscript consultant, event director, and editor for a number of established literary, educational and arts organizations that include Champaign Unit 4 School District, University of Illinois Writing Project, Hobart, Ninth Letter, Barrelhouse, and The Pygmalion Festival. In 2013 he was a finalist for The Poetry Foundation's Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship. He has studied poetry at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the University of Illinois’ Creative Writing Program, and Vermont College of Fine Arts where he is an MFA candidate in poetry. He is from Champaign, Illinois and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland.

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