Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Jack Conway

The Suicide Social Club

To whom it should concern:
I have gone to the suicide social club.
Should you decide to come, bring along a plastic bag
to knot around your head. There will be a warm bath
and razors waiting inside and a comic suicide;
they say he's knocking them dead.

I have forgotten that I forgot to tell you
that I was going but I left this note for you
propped against the empty bottle of pills
in the liquor cabinet. I know how strange it must be
to be strange but we cannot collaborate any longer
on the meaning of life, plucked like a fish hook
jabbed into the mouth of some flounder
as we flounder along, one world at a time.

This infectious experiment will ultimately be cured,
so let the night place one of her celestial fingers to her lips
as we join the joiners trying to pick the lock at death's door.
Our goose is cooked and there is no silverware in sight.
That bleating you hear is simply the multitudes crying out:
"Give us more pomp and circumstance," and we'll be as satisfied
as a dry cleaner at a nudist fest.

Red Pens

I sit correcting papers
at the sturdy Shaker table,
stacking stacks of them
in some elaborate battle plan;
red pens, scattered like spent soldiers,
casualties of this long war of words.
I move the red pen to where
transitive verbs carry you
from here to there,
marking how you've gone
from active to passive voice,
noting where first person
slips to third
and present tense to past.
You only have a first draft; and,
there can never be enough conjunctions
to connect us to the things of this world.
In the stacks I've stashed your obit.
I pencil out your name.

©2004 by Jack Conway

Jack Conway's newest book, My Picnic With Lolita and Other Poems, was published in 2004 by North Country Press. His poems have appeared in the Antioch Review, The Columbia Review, Rattle, Yankee, Stickman, Slow Trains, The Land-Grant College Review, and the Norton Anthology of Light Verse. He teaches writing at Bristol Community College in Fall River, Massachusetts.

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