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Green Berets:

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by Jim Esch

Copyright 1996 by Jim Esch

This is a collection of short poems and nonsense verse, most of which were written in the early 1980's. The poems explore the awakening of suburban adolescent consciousness by means of semi-random imagistic revery. Themes of love, sexual awakening, superficiality, authenticity/inauthenticity, maturation and responsiblity act as a coherent subtext to the surface chaos disseminated in the poems themselves.

Thanks to my high school creative writing teacher, Tom Williams, for exposing me to the can-opening poetry of Richard Brautigan, to whom I owe an artistic debt here.

Contents

The Green Berets - haiku - Haiku - Summer on Elm Street - TONKA POEM - SPACE AGE WRAP - Skippy Loves Bologna Sandwiches - Miss April - Ask Hansel - "What a Deal!" - Aerobic Norseman - Fast News - SANTA JOINS THE MISFITS (first version) - On the Rack - Knawk It Awf! - Scrap Heap - THE SPRING CHICKEN MASSACRE (A DRAMA IN 3 LINES) - Happy Poem #11 - Digital Breath - Nuclear Bridegroom - HIT PARADE DOWNPOUR - Sixteen Silly Sheiks - Summer in Dogland - Stick To It, Dough Boy - The Rooster Socks It To 'Em - Tan Me - She Had The Tongue - 60 Miles From Nowhere - The Man Who Was a "Stuckeys" - School March To The Death Camps - THE COMPASSIONATE MARBLE - INHALING SOFT FREEZE - NEXT OF KIN - ODE TO VEAL SCALLOPINI - Like Eve, On Tuesday Morning - Fertility - Leave My Twinky Alone - NEW SENIOR - SUBTERRANEAN MEATBALLS - DOUBLECHINS AND PARTYPOOPERS - Swine Flew - Locusts in October - Dinner At Almost Your House - CREW CUT - STUBBLE ON THE TILES - I've Got a Totem Pole - Greasy Men On Parade - Cruisin' Bulldogs - HAIKU - FUZZ ON MY SHIRT - THAT CLOWN NEEDS A MANICURE - HAIKU - BABOONMANIA - Woah Nelly! - BETTY AT THE BEACON BOWL, BARSTOW, CA - AN INVENTORY OF SOUNDS - Birds In My Hair - Concert in the Dark - Cape Cod - Let them beg - Shortly Before My Navel Explodes - Won't It Be Fun? - White on Black - Carthago Delenda Est - After Great Wars

The Green Berets

I'm waging a war
to free your hair.


haiku

your reality
shuns classification...
a dog scratches fleas



Haiku

in the dark
she's waiting for you somewhere
can't you see



Summer on Elm Street

Mommy is my mommy
My daddy is taller
Come play firetrucks!



TONKA POEM

little guy in a little red car
turns into a grown-up street
makes me think of toys and kids
and mushy little tasty treats.



SPACE AGE WRAP

all hail the superior,
everlasting,
peanut butter sandwich.



Skippy Loves Bologna Sandwiches

strapped to an easy chair
(we've only two months to live)
"I'm not stepping out of my room to get the mustard!"



Miss April

In second grade, David Hickman showed me a centerfold
-- Miss April in a shower.
Today it is raining.



Ask Hansel

why do the ginger men taste burnt and crusty?



"What a Deal!"

genuine simulated artificial vinyl leatherette.



Aerobic Norseman

Thor has thunder thighs that need thinning.



Fast News

The kings and the quarter pounders:
edible mass, incredible media.
Jennings, Brokaw, Chung, Rather:
big mac, happy meal, wendy burger, whopper.
News, analysis, commentary, pundit-try:
Fries, mustard catsup, diet slice, apple pie.
Eye on america, national focus, money crunch:
sprinkles on sundae, special sauce, burger of the month.
Journalistic objectivity --
The colonel's secret recipe.



SANTA JOINS THE MISFITS

"help!" she cried.
"ahh!" she screamed.
"What can I expect if I help you?" He belched.
"Your boots are tarnished. Give me my front teeth!"



On the Rack

sitting in the trashcan
evergreens never scream



Knawk It Awf!

a fine rhapsody indeed too many -
sounds awful, others are comforted
Me? I don't care about accents.



Scrap Heap

She has a problem
Ma says stay away....



THE SPRING CHICKEN MASSACRE (A DRAMA IN 3 LINES)

I.

"I can't drive."

II.

"She messes up."

III.

"I don't care if it's raining out."



Happy Poem #11

one and one
is two and
me and you
too
ha ha
I'm happy
ha ha



Digital Breath

a bit too perfect,
the sun gleams brightly when seen in your eyes.



Nuclear Bridegroom

He can't escape the fallout.



HIT PARADE DOWNPOUR

The light between the blades.
Flashes among the masses.
Soft summer sweat.



Sixteen Silly Sheiks

roundrobin love affairs
unskilled instincts
(the maximum penalty)



Summer in Dogland

oodles of nuts 'n bolts
concocted by masked dreamers.
Batman wants some too.



Stick To It, Dough Boy

Create, expand, knead and roll.
We're all hoping for that last large pizza to go.



The Rooster Socks It To 'Em

Remember how he'd cock his doodle...
Now he wears a tux and sings "I did it my way."



Tan Me

ooh baby you're deep and dark and mine all mine



She Had The Tongue

knew her place in society--
intelligent, sparkling, stately, cute,
but above all that... she had the tongue.



60 Miles From Nowhere

Desert fighters on manuvers --
Tomorrow Mike will eat dust
and we'll be on needles
wondering why we're 60 miles from nowhere.



The Man Who Was a "Stuckeys"

while his mate got gas
the girls refueled
with refreshments, traded anecdotes
and mental souvenirs
under his blue roof.



School March To The Death Camps

Off we go, yipee! We will die!
I can't wait! Go Team Go!



THE COMPASSIONATE MARBLE

we loved to see you run.



INHALING SOFT FREEZE

moon dance: breathe in, eat out.
laugh - funny - laugh. Breathe.



Looking Out From a Bottomless Pit

I saw your socks inside out,
your mind stripped of consciousness.
I saw a see-saw and your soul.



NEXT OF KIN

goats, bunnies. rabbits, cat fur.
A mother weeping.



ODE TO VEAL SCALLOPINI

doesn't that have cheese sauce on it?
I don't know what it could be!
I can taste the grissle!



Like Eve, On Tuesday Morning

must we ALWAYS have applejacks for breakfast?



Fertility

in the simple green mustard fields blessed by waxy leaves
I'd relish the sight of you picking fruit



Leave My Twinky Alone

Muffy and Sue
talk about their boyfriends
all day long.



NEW SENIOR

hail the all mall hall --
Broomall!



SUBTERRANEAN MEATBALLS

upon waxing my bike, the asphalt crumbled.



DOUBLECHINS AND PARTYPOOPERS

we must arrive before the cats litter on corinthian leather.



Swine Flew

dancin' crackpot fever
intensely forgotten
but for the needle.



Locusts in October

messengers of the living dead,
in the park or back yard
astride lawn chairs and skateboards
they drone and chant a withered harmony.



Dinner At Almost Your House

It was close enough
and you were there and
words will be words.



CREW CUT

something will have to be done.
Make It Short.



STUBBLE ON THE TILES

pebbles, aftershave.
Dudes incognito.



I've Got a Totem Pole

see my carved and painted faces
I'm here
and here
and here.



Greasy Men On Parade

tomorrow we'll play PAC-MAN,
eat pepperoni pizza
then we'll sing about the war,
watch John Davidson re-runs.



Cruisin' Bulldogs

tripping through the night
searching for nothing they have
leather collars with spikes



HAIKU

clouds on the move
patrolling the skies
torpedo joe



FUZZ ON MY SHIRT

recently arrived from parts unknown -- glorious imperfection.



THAT CLOWN NEEDS A MANICURE

cut those nails. feed him dog food.
wipe that smile off his face.



HAIKU

on the town
nature begging for some peace
street lights shine.



BABOONMANIA

Buzz Aldrin in our brains.



Woah Nelly!

Wandering aimlessly
wondering mindlessly



BETTY AT THE BEACON BOWL, BARSTOW, CA

desert dudes go bowling
eat ham 'n cheese --
she's been sandwhiched.



AN INVENTORY OF SOUNDS

My feet walking on a dirt road that went from my grandparents house to the elementary school.
The tires of my grandfather's '65 Buick moving against a gravel driveway in a church cemetary.
An old hickory rocking chair, built by a great grandfather, creaking in my room.
Walking through six feet stalks of corn and waist high carpets of wheat.
Our screen porch door slamming shut.
The barber's electric razor nearing my head.
The low hum of electricity in school, especially when no one was there.



Birds In My Hair

she's wearing a short skirt and
the park's been turned into a lot
(there's no music anymore)



Concert in the Dark

Have you walked from the door
of a time machine dream?
In your sweater and skirt,
saddle shoes, bobby socks...
it's only one night,
and we have lost our innocence.



Cape Cod

Once
in love with everybody
-twice-
everybody minus one.



Let them beg

the birds wait for me to feed them
they bounce and peck themselves
I will not feed them any more
let them sing, let them fly



Shortly Before My Navel Explodes

I'll hear the faint whisper
of everyone I ever considered loving,
like a kamikazee's last hurrah.



Won't It Be Fun?

Do you realize that we've never been together for a year and a half?
Let's not celebrate. We won't have a party. We won't call each other. We won't write.
Remember to look away when you spy me, and I'll do the same.
We won't even think of each other.
Don't forget the times we never had.
We won't let anyone know; It's just you and not me.



White on Black

a lover's touch,
a plastic nativity scene.


Carthago Delenda Est

I had to hold this for you in here,
the ring of flame tore me,
worse yet it was your words like claws
who conquered who?



After Great Wars

after great wars
ideas are empty coffee cans.
after the fire you cough up smoke.
poems don't rhyme.
What to do?
dance naked in your room,
don't try to explain.

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