Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brant Goble - Black Friday on Long Island: A Comedy

This story doesn't need an introduction: just know that Brant Goble writes an excellent poem about how things are.

Black Friday on Long Island: A Comedy
by Brant Goble

Scene 1:
This is the music—
the green hum
(Cue lights, flickering on)
chorus of mumblings and broken speech
(Awaken the zombies with the hollow eyes)
rattling locks—shake and bang
(Roust a couple watchmen, armed with clipboards and halitosis—
God knows we can't afford any better)

(Throw back the bolts)

Let a few in first
(the lithe ones, with slit-snake eyes
who can slide past the titans with their slack jaws)
but not fast enough

Scene 2:
Show the frenzy and the flying fists
(Call all the extras—envision raging breadlines or Eisenstein's battles)

Rumble floor, rumble
as the crowd breathes in—
(a giant thing, heavy and weighted with cold and sleep)

—and out

All bodies, now pressing, pressing
(bones and clothes and marrow turned liquid)

Man falls, tumbles, thrashed, and trampled
(commanding a scream to curdle milk or pierce a heart through
were any available)

Warp the metal, break the frames, tear the hinges off
(The doors become accordion)

All leap for the heavens as they burst through
towards a sea of shiny things and happy, happy noise machines
ecstatic, orgiastic, at the thought of ephemeral pleasures
and even more shit to become obsolescent
of the carpet of meat that once had dreams (and hope)
and the babe-not-yet-in-arms
(as blind and blank as its vessel)
beneath their feet

Scene 3:
Send in stooges with polished badges—
rendered impotent and red-faced
(even they've been discounted here)—
unable to disburse the savage masses
but promising to watch the replay

“There will be justice for this—we'll have every foot that tread through here”
(but be damned if we look any higher)

(Lower curtain)

Today men will die over childish things
(men who live amongst angels and sunshine)

And boys will smile (with glassy eyes) while they empty
clips (for a few hours longer) into flesh
in the name of their God
in a city that can't keep the Bombers at bay

This comedy's too dark for my tastes
with the players all method, all feeling too much
to be self-conscious or ironic
and the aisles aren't laughing

Who authored this farce
with its tired puns and low blows
this opera for beggars and billionaires
with greed and air and vitriol
between their ears?

What is this thing?

This is the season of the Son of Man
and all the world's adorned with plastic crucifixes