John Kilgore


All over the lawn, angels
Go numb with astonishment; harps dangling,
Croquet mallets forgotten.

Impossible. The
Wrong address, the other Smith.
Still here they are

The man with the soupbowl haircut,
The liverlipped patsy always wincing,
The fat fool made to be slapped.

Moronic Magi of a different star;
Shameless body comics
With the gags that wearied Noah.

After so many pies,
So many fingers in the aching eyes,
The baseball bats, the rubber chickens;

They have gotten in somehow.
Maybe to tell
Why laughter is so like snarling.

Rakes in the grass, skates
On the staircase; hot feet
And swinging planks:

The tough kid on the corner
Sneering, Make it funny, see?
I might let you off easy

Jokes that made
The drooling idiot
Clutching popcorn in the dark

Feel for once a little dangerous,
Watching these eyesore bodies,
These twitching faces.

But here no one ever laughs
Unkindly. The seltzer bottles
Squirt right into your mouth.

It is all here
Every single thing as promised:
The friendly faces, the gravel drives;

The Friday lawn suppers where
The smiling Senator reminds the guests,
"Pies are to be eaten, not thrown."

The albino heiress
With the rosebud mouth
Ignoring the sweatered

Yale crew captain
To gaze at them instead.
Eternity without a punchline.

They look around with wide eyes,
With eyes for once not too wide,
Their hands like sleeping birds.

"Gee," sighs Curly, "I never thought
We were that funny." And Moe whispers,
Like a blessing, "Shut up, stupid."