5 Poems


Carl Lombardi






The day the President got shot

I turned

l0-years-old and

happy. Mrs Mott did not smile.

She brot us a sentence from her serious voice

which said

He got shot in the chest

with a bullet just now

a minute ago,

- got shot.


The class paused less than as long as it seemed.

And I don't know what silence does

in the twitch of a teacher's lip

or maybe someone knew

- knew, you know,

that teachers lie sometimes

to little kids,


every little kid gave Mrs Mott applause,

and lafs and whistles and even "all rite" and stuff

(an offer, maybe - maybe hope - you know,

that everything was really O-K, you know).


Mrs Mott looked like she ate

a chunk of baker's chocolate, thinking

it was sweet

when it was not, and told us

every one

to be ashamed. We were

not allowed to play at recess, only sit

and think about it.

But I did not think, I thot

of a mountain bike instead: red with seven gears.

After school this kid asked me "did you clap?"

I told him that I didn't hear and clapped when

others clapped.

That's all




the President got better. and I got a blue bike.




Buns In The Oven

God's Acre, Salem, North Carolina


In Carolina, where

grass is still



green in long wide swarthy scissored patches

(and marble buildings rise like [roll-on] deodorant balls)

(Old) Salem


lung and all


other sorts of [peripheriquitious] machines [for

eating and shitting (and) things



Salem lives,

and at one corner of its living

lives a field,

(most green,) a field of marble

squares, where

curious people look for names

like theirs, and breathe in air from

just before

they scuffed into that (what

could be called), that dormant

-people garden (later


), (

air sucked from the corners of their think-

less mouths which say "hmm" inside

their heads,

and "hmm" alone



On that corner of Salem, God's (twice

as big as town) Acre posts a sign outside its inner

gate, and states (unquotely)"

(after, by entering, one has agreed

to no roller blading, biking, jogging,

and [in particular] all unseemly behavior)


The Rules For Being Dead


(i.e., 1. Be Moravian

2. Girls on one side, Boys on the other

3. Nobody gets a bigger slab

4. etc.)


"beneath white marble

squares in non-Euclid

-ian rolls of field

green as those who die


so that walkers thru

the garden (dor

-mant) see the



inside the sign-

's cased glass,

the beige-translucent spider glove which used to be

a spider, and exo-

skeletonly hangs on "lo"

of "flower"

where tacks with heads

like dented blood-plump ticks, two tacks (bent

and iron, baby's-finger long

) curl brown at the glass case

base, fallen from

only the left


of the



Upper people walk, and look, and leave. And



one person stomps

a cigarette,

half smoked or so,

on Salem Road:


a sacrifice to those (or so

) who keep the dead alive.



You keep a pile of worries by your door,

the shredded glass and lint and paperclips

you should have taken care of long before

I asked you what it was. "It's nothing more--"

you start. I break in with my "hmm"ing lips

"You keep a pile of worries by your door....

What do you need to save your worries for?"

"It's nothing more than your... those burning ships

you should have taken care of. Long before

I piled up lint or paperclips or ink or

bad luck, you barked commands thru paper lips.

You keep a pile of worries by your door,

too, you know." I know.

and knew before

I saw his pile and we snapped our plastic quips:

"You should have...."

"Taken care of long before;

no lint, no ships" I think, yet mumble "I'm sure

you die, at least -- don't drown -- from burning ships.

You keep a pile of worries by your door

you should have taken care of long before."





"I am not overwhelmed by your presents; merely whelmed.

I do not need a convertible turbo Porsche,

nor a pervertible blow-up doll, nor--"


"Hey, don't shush me! ... nor --"

"Shh! Overwhelmed

or not, I would rather no one know the gifts

I've given you. So complain, but softly. Please."

"What? Are you ashamed of Feta Cheese

from Greece, leather from Italy, face- and butt-lifts

from California, ties from Tieland --"


"- Thailand, and rings for all six fingers on my hand?"


The scene shifts. A dagger glints to appease

a four-toad man with pudgy morals. Sand

drifts sticky down theis of a whore sh-

ivered, curled, in the beach, with blood upon her knees.



I placed an egg in Tennessee

and everything around it grew

and made all bird and bush and wing

symmetric as a yodeled song.


And for this egg, this gray and smooth,

the wild warped

and wiggled veins to touch

the shell -- the slugs, the grass, the moon -


and stayed that way, as long as sun,

tho egg (and shell) dissolved (as well).

The eggs I mean are not refined,

like nothing else in Tennessee.