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In companion with the exhibition: Jonathan Butt and Mernet Larsen

COOLANT SYSTEM
by Alan Gilbert

Itís not heroic, itís broken. Itís the silent trip
between unspokens. We recognize the architecture
but donít name it. We take a place amid the holes
resembling pink dots inside our fathersí hearts.
All the little words donít even reach the doorbell.

Some people are awake in the middle of the night.
Some are at the bathroom sink rinsing and spitting.
Thereís a PowerPoint presentation for just about
anything, and a personalized ringtone to alert us
when the war is callingóitís the sound of beds
being dragged across an orphanage floor.

The next ice age will fill the rivers with antifreeze.
Itís the midway point of a sugar packetís half-life,
spoonfed in timelapse with porn made to order.
I still briefly pause when I hear an airplane flying
low. The police helicopters Iím more used to,
as an ebbing river of concrete reveals a beach
strewn with Mardi Gras necklaces hurled
at the Superdome.

We change the sheets for the next set of guests.
We live with contradictions. At a benefit
for eating off plasma TVs, my gift bag contained
a womanís razor and chocolate-covered pretzels;
yours was filled with Play-Doh and a snorkel.
Initial programming includes episodes of Pimp My Ride
for self-propelled cyborgs randomly chosen
for modifications after fending off drunks swinging
gravy ladles.

Donkeys do well in semi-arid desert. Manny or
Mandy? Who will heal the healers? Someone
smeared a label warning Do Not Ingest. Clouds
move quickly ahead of the front and a rush to close
the windows. Normally, Iíd say it was a good thing
we were home, where worn-out shoes are left curbside
with the other paper and plastic recycling.


(Originally published in Late in the Antenna Fields [Futurepoem, 2011].)


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