Fortune Cookie

It is Nation­al Poet­ry month, stimpy. So I’m gonna crap out poems from time to time in lieu of writ­ing oth­er crap instead. I make no claims on the qual­i­ty of any­thing that appears, since I’m going to give myself no more than a half hour on each. Work­shop ‘em if you want; rewrite ‘em if you want; ignore ‘em if you want. And remem­ber to write your own stuff for my con­test!

You catch the film at six;
three Chi­nese chil­dren
blood spread like duck sauce
on the walls-
cold fin­gers stiff
like chow mein noo­dles.

At sev­en you decide
on take-out; the deliv­ery boy
for­gets your duck sauce-
you don’t tip.

Eight o’clock and
you read your for­tune cook­ie:

They say
Cato com­mit­ted sui­cide
because he would not live under Cæsar.

Nein o’clock and all is well.

4 Replies

  • Hehe, no film, but the for­tune cook­ie refers to a thought-pro­vok­ing piece on sui­cide by Kant [i think, can’t scrounge it up online]

    I was try­ing to go for an inured feel­ing, as if the “you” in the poem sees these hor­ri­ble things on TV, dis­miss­es them, yet some­how they ends up apply­ing them lat­er in a seem­ing­ly innocu­ous way. So you see some mur­dered Chi­nese kids and then for some rea­son you decide to order Chi­nese lat­er on in the evening, and the For­tune Cook­ie is my way of say­ing if your life is that dis­en­gaged from the world then it might as well be end­ed. I was also going for a lit­tle pun with the last line, because all is obvi­ous­ly NOT well, so the sen­tence sort of eats itself. Which might throw in anoth­er whole lay­er of mean­ing if i’m say­ing the “you” is a can­ni­bal for feast­ing on those vio­lent images.

    Hell, I don’t know. It was ear­ly.

    More on Cato here:

  • i like it as well. like the duck sauce-blood sim­i­le. only crit­i­cism i can think of right now is to change ‘film’ to ‘news’ or ‘tv’. you don’t have to obscure it.

  • I had to look up Cato… i guess you’re say­ing that Cato would have been unable to accept the lack of duck sauce, so the for­tune cook­ie tips you to not wor­ry about it so much, and thus every­thing is ok at nine…?

    i real­ly like the flow of this, i want to accuse you of spend­ing more than half an hour on it! it seems very refined to me. i like how “you don’t tip” ends with “tip” and then comes the for­tune cook­ie mes­sage which is a tip. also con­tribut­ing to the flow are the many num­bers; 6,7,8,9 o’clock, 3 chi­nese chil­dren…

    also inter­est­ing: it con­tains blood and sui­cide, yet i don’t get a hec­tic, urgent feel­ing from it. more like a con­tent, not-hun­gry-any­more-feel­ing.

    is it refer­ring to a spe­cif­ic film?

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