by D. Harlan Wilson
My feet began to eat me. I was standing there on the street corner eating a fetus and mayonnaise sandwich when I felt them bite into my ankles, and as I crumpled to the ground my sandwich flew out of my hand and into an open manhole. I lost consciousness. By the time I regained consciousness, my feet were starting in on my kneecaps.
I was supine and arched up my head as best I could. "What are you doing?" I said.
"What does it look like we're doing?" mumbled the feet through mouths full of bone meal.
It was a grisly sight and I tried to shake the feet off of me, gesticulating with my thighs, but they held on tight with their sharp teeth, and when I stopped gesticulating, they dug in deeper, faster, gaming for my crotch.
"I can't believe you two," I said, gripping the pavement with rigid fingers. "Haven't I treated you well? I wash you when you get Mike Schafer dirty, put deodorizer on you when you get smelly. When you develop a callous, I clip and file the callous off with the utmost care and when you get dry and scaly, I rub cream all over you. Sometimes you step on a tack. Don't I remove the tack and dress the wound? Don't I give the wound a little kiss? And the pedicures! Over an hour it takes me to give each of you one of my tenderloving pedicures. And this is how you repay me."
The feet paused. They crawled up my stomach and onto my chest. Their bodies were smeared with blood and hair and chunks of flesh and for a moment they just stared at me. Then they said, "You don't care about us. You only care about yourself. All that washing, all that deodorizing, all that primping and kissing and caretaking it's just a means of preventing us from embarrassing you in the presence of your peers, isn't it? Well, we've had enough of it. We're not going to be your boy band anymore. We're moving on to bigger and better things, us . . . But not before finishing off you."
"I've supported you your entire lives!" I spat.
"Wrong. We've supported YOU."
Snarling, I loosed my grip from the pavement, grabbed hold of my feet and began strangling them, but they were so slick with my gore they popped right out and scrambled back to what was left of my thighs. In minutes they had eaten my crotch, ass, torso and arms. Just as they were about to sink their teeth into the shreds of my neck, a policeman approached me and said, "Everything all right here, sir?" He looked down on me, the remains of me. Frowned. "What have you done?"
"I haven't done anything," I sighed, wishing I could shake my head, and the policeman, as he walked away, glanced suspiciously at me over his shoulder.
This Is Not a Poem
Frugal Oedipal complexity of life in 1945
When young men masturbated at carnivals,
And women with hair below their bathing suits
Sat in towers at the beach made of dried crustaceans
And bits of glass and discarded hot dogs in wax paper,
And old Chinese men practiced fingernail clipping
On the bamboo turnstile of revolving flatulence.
Last August night in Beantown,
Chipped teeth in porcelain sinks
And menacing pencil-thin moustaches
Collided with dead wasps on the windowsill.
Gazing forlornly at telephone wires,
Bricks, and chain link fences,
Split pea soup poured in my ear,
Warm, tingly, velvety liquid
Running down the outside of the thigh,
Neon labia in tungsten hips.
Last years excesses spill out onto the shag rug,
Goblets clatter, an early warning sign for disappointment.
The night the lights were frozen
And my head popped like a light bulb,
Idiots ran through the streets with placards,
Playing jaw harps and singing old army drinking songs
At three oclock when ghosts ooze from taxi cabs
And free rides can be had by all.
Your ship has departed,
Bound for foreign sales offices and fax machines,
Humming in the velvet Elvis dawn.
Anchovies slither down hallways
Attacking the teacher and nipping up girls dresses.
Fumes of turpentine and bacon fat
Waft from the lavatory; in the stalls,
The sacrifice of last semesters tie,
The class ring with the picture of our beloved clown
And Ringos nose in a small jewelry box.
Embalmed and shrunken penises in display cases,
The best young men youth had to offer
Their country, right or wrong.