Theodore Worozbyt: from “Letters to the Alphabet”

from Letters to the Alphabet


The soil itself is exhausted, the icicle radishes flexy and hot. Albert, that line you wrote
Re: your wife waking to a hellish spate of days has remained with me, though the poem’s Name and my wife have not. I’m bad with titles, and once left a dinner party angry because
I confused style with pretension. All I remember is one guy had long hair and wore
His white scarf in the restaurant. Everything seems to have happened so long ago
My mother had a beehive and not to matter now. The way I live is completely observable From the two tachyon chairs that traveled so fast not to get here they disappeared before They came into existence. That’s a world record. Often, no matter where I go in this farm- Working town a smell of cakes almost burning in what must be giant oven hives heavies
The air with a sweetness that belongs elsewhere, and I stand in the yard, the parking lot, Inhaling to no avail, feeling not Grandma’s German chocolate cake on the wind but
Prison cake icing its own languishing meditations as the fleshes layer up and melt away. Snow falls down of course and catkins swirl like the arms of little galaxies, but no one Mentions the cake smell or has an answer. Death Cab for Cutie played in the bait shop when I went in.


I went in for the medicine, but the clerk had never heard of me or what I couldn’t buy.
Soap operas are no joke. When they end it’s like air conditioning broken in July.
You sweat, but cannot sweat it out. I don’t know what the smell of chicken cooking is to me.
I sent myself a tiny peep from the Czech Republic, where if I still had my white silk scarf I Could be more easily seen watching from behind my beardless hour the grey hat of Leonard
Cohen saying goodbye among two hundred and ninety eight others. It hatched blue lines When I stepped on it in the grass. Sooner or later even vermouth burns. Sam Stosur took
Her second tournament and removed her sunglasses. The one thing I shot and killed Without my feet I waited to dispatch until it had passed over the thicket where it would be Lost to my mouth. Its feathers coming out made a soft resistant zipper. I soaked the breast In cognac and ate it with braised cabbage and a male gaze. I never did distribute that
Herman Melville flyer. I’m afraid to brush my teeth; they might dissolve. I just one to find Love, said the barber to the flea. What sauce goes with mullet; it is so oily. I live in Snellville, Near Seattle. So it goes in the lecture about you know who, whose shoes reminded Viola of El Greco, Jr.


This afternoon I glanced at the door and in the window dark hair gathered, wound
Itself around a wild smile, threw me a kiss and went on. The pit bull shakes his head
Violently. I’ve let him down with my golden key, again. My neck feels better, the rest is Expensive and not worth shit. Walk in and out as you wish, you won’t miss anything.
Just all of New York City weeping into a cab driver’s toilet as I smash his hood.
My days glow red in my fingertips. I cannot stop staring at the sun. A kiss from the door,
Like wine, salumi and a bowl of salt to an old man. The old boy can’t be touched enough;
He needs a bath every few months. I change the furniture instead, but who wants to drive
Two hours to buy a chaise lounge from Huff Furniture when the original owner is still
Prone, eating an avocado, watching Ed Sullivan and calling out, Boy, bring me a toothpick.
Light my Camel. It tasted rich, like a suicide door black Lincoln Continental. The first
Was pink. It went. It got cut up with the Paris jumpsuits, shoved into suitcases and tossed
Over the wall at Four Seasons. The Marines drew robots in pencil, and bought a puppy
That made pats in their beds. A little piggie got stuck to my hair, they called it funnier
Than their K-rations.


Behind the Wal-Mart graveyard the black dog rolling in the grass, his stomach
Whitened in the sun. He twists up and runs. Now he goes. Beside the dumpster
A rough pudding of meat material lies curiously flyless. Often it’s a thick pork bone, a hip
I guess. In the commercial of not looking at you, dark-haired sisters intimate an Elsewhere Gaze for the camera. The shape of a white shadow completes the idea of a breast. The bottle Displays as a navel. I overcooked the chicken so his pills would fit snugly in. I think
These things come from the Chinese restaurant as kindness to the strays, but there are no Strays, only machines and erosion barriers. Dung is what I need, and plenty of it. The meat Resembles an inverted pie, and stays colored even after three days like boiled beets. It should Have, like all confusions, a smell. Sometimes being apologetic is nasty. Would you have worn A shirt made of marijuana to the opera? When I lean words forward they shrink. Just an Observation. Here come the ears, I would know their sound anywhere, anytime. It will be The last sound I listen to, the final sound I taste. Pardon me, I have to go handle the chicken And rice. I’m already too late, of course. I ran home in the dusk because of the new rule,
For Mother’s meal.


Ane Brun expected this song, I heard it in the engines of a cross-continental flight.
Her, I cannot but agree. Kumquat soap is no measure of forgetfulness, since forgetting
Cannot be measured in the way surgeons measure punctuation’s death in the skin. Hours
Were the alphabet but thirty scalpels exceeded the bleed limits and the Roman count.
The objects we live with on the skin are ghosts, brown spottings at the folds, the slides
Of guitar juice, and what Coleridge claimed was a dramatic propriety. The laudanums
Of the one hundred and forty million citizens in my country are childless. I am so sick
Of me I can’t italicize the end. When I push a white button the orchids surround
My cup with their diagnomens. The fever is growing among the few and the cats
That make footholes in the garden. Applause for the silver six foot fire wire, its clear
Rope of skin. I am still wondering why I didn’t tell you about the meter of black snake
The Maestro strolled over and I picked up, spoke to, and moved to a safer place
Than the dirt road in the woods by the college. I didn’t expect to say what I have said.
Man O Manischewitz.

Theodore Worozbyt is the recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Alabama and Georgia Arts Councils. His books are The Dauber Wings, Letters of Transit, and Smaller Than Death. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Conjunctions, Pithead Chapel, Po&sie, and the anthology, Gracious: Poems from the 21st Century South.

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