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 thoughts on “Fortune Cookie

  1. 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:
    http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​C​a​t​o​_​t​h​e​_​Y​o​u​n​ger

  2. 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.

  3. 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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