Selected Poems

by Scott Poole

Right at Home

One night I crept into the house
while it was sleeping,
But it woke up.
It walked down the street
and tossed me
onto a neighbor's lawn.
It stumbled off drunk
and other houses rose
and followed it.
People, dogs, and cats were
scattered everywhere.
Protests formed. People yelled.
Cheerleaders threw tomatoes.
Ferrets ran wild in the streets.
A mean article was written,
"Buildings Couldn't Care Less."
Churches dissolved and fought
with concert halls and pool halls.
University buildings wouldn't
talk to the dorms. The dorms
wanted to become whore houses.
The whore houses left for
the desert in shame. Convenience stores
ran till they were inconvenient and
wouldn't listen to their parent companies.
Mansions divided and turned into hundreds
of beautiful shacks. No one got laid.
It was all asexual as far as the eye could see.
A forest demanded its trees back,
but when log cabins arrived,
it changed its mind by turning yellow.
All the mountain lakes were crammed
with houses on vacation.
No house wanted to be in the city.
Porches were left behind. People
left sitting on them didn't know
which way to look to be seen.
Scenery, which had been forgotten,
gently became more seen
and turned sunset red with pride.
People tried to sneak back in
but the houses always ran off.
They tried to chain houses
to the ground. But the chains only
dragged the lawns with them.
People sat on the houses
looking for things to eat.
Houses ate other houses.
Great battles raged and some
set their houses on fire
and sticks battled each other to ash.
Soon the houses were all gone.
People lived in more
and more elaborate tents and soon
you couldn't tell the difference between
what they were wearing and what
they were living in. If someone was lying
on the ground, it was customary to say
"You look right at home."

Turkey in Phoenix

A man lures a turkey into his Subaru
and rolls up the windows.
It's Phoenix, the day before Thanksgiving.
Sweat is already forming on the windshield.
His family is coming. Maybe he could get away
in his little car of hope
if the turkey wasn't already in there.
Perhaps it'll be okay.
His sister's kids can sit in the backseat.
The adults can eat in the front and on the hood.
When the whole family is stuffed, they can go
for a drive, wear off the food, and motor right
to the top of a red mesa and hug.
That might be nice.
The turkey looks nervously toward the horizon.


Wouldn't it be nice
to be declared, finally, insane?
So you could get on with it --
throw the TV through the window,
drive the car off the road into an unpaved future
and walk around exclusively nude.
Imagine relegation to a warm bath in Ward Six
reciting the same Whitman line
a thousand times.
Oh to be un-apolegetically fat
under a beautiful tree surrounded by guards.
Do you love me?
Grab me here, by the chin,
in the dark.
Put your tongue on my lips.
Drool on me.
I don't care who
you think you are.
Swallow my breath.
Tell me I'm insane.

My New Dog

I love balloon animals, slick, transparent, light,
massive balloon animals. I want to live
in a red, ninety-foot high, balloon dog.

I want to see the bees just try and destroy it.
I want the neighbors to leave beautiful
hand-written petitions on its gold ribbon collar.
I want to watch police lights bank off its curves,
and crash back into the angled night.

If they come for me I'd like to be arrested
covered in small red balloon dogs, to be dropped
so the dogs pop, to hear the neighbors ducking,
thinking it gunfire, thinking it substantial.

Later, I want to watch the whole thing on COPS
from jail, on a Tuesday night, on soft metal chairs,
on a TV hung from the ceiling in a thick plexi-glass bubble,
my life floating up there like a previous idea,
with prisoners who won't recognize me
the fact that I've already escaped.

©2001 by Scott Poole

Scott Poole
Scott Poole is the Assistant Director of EWU Press. His first book of poetry, The Cheap Seats (Lost Horse 1999) was a finalist for Foreword Magazine's book of the year awards. He reads his work every Monday morning at 7:50 a.m. on KPBX, Spokane Public Radio, which can also be heard live at KPBX Listen Online. His second book of poetry, Hiding From Salesmen, is forthcoming from Lost Horse Press in 2002. See more of his work at his Web site.

Home Favorites Links Guidelines About Us

Subscribe to the Slow Trains newsletter