Three Poems

Mike Young

from the MC Oroville project

Shit, The Rope Swing

David and Wayne are all sighs. The rope swing is gone. In its place: torn-up boxer briefs, Miller cans, dog shit, human shit. Human shit? Yes. Butterflies and motorboats caress the inlet. Water moves away so easily. O MC Oroville, if only I could cope that well without offending you. Out comes my acoustic—what an asshole! David and Wayne promise to make my show—if they can skip their shifts. David of the sour and multiple hairstyles, enough that I'm always like Oh. That David. Wayne likes my song about the saddest earthquake. It's interesting, I guess. David rolls his knuckles over his mustache. You can sing and play at the same time. That's good. On the road back from the inlet, we consent to the casino bar. What else? Wait! Where is David's ID? Where? And if we never stop, that's fine. And if the dogs of our hearts never gnaw the ankles of the world. We won't stop. We won't. We stop. The ID is fine: still atop the car roof where David left it. Now stared at by the three of us in the road beneath the hours left of sun. O where have you gone MC Oroville? Are you still busted by the lights we sped and tied up in the kites above the lake? If I could bypass the offense of salvation, I would lay you in the olive grove and turn the sirens off.

Do You Like My Sunglasses?

Last seen in the junkyard on a yellow bike. Seen burning his mouth on the Keg Room pizza. Seen bearded at the punk shows in the autoshop lot, where I met a girl who made me lick the rain off the chainlinks and stop talking up a shitstorm. Some say MC Oroville moved south to work at a thrift store in the East Bay. Reprezent! It's not like we won't wait. We sell our water south, but the State keeps the money. In Scoops, the chicken mango dog tastes like the chicken Mediterranean dog. But we're trying. If someone invents a machine to bring murals alive, we will need new brochures. I bought Wayne the river for his birthday, and he promised to build a basement beneath it, in case MC Oroville needs to crash real low. At Staples, a drunk in a blue sundress watches the punks make flyers. She asks them if they like her sunglasses, her John Lennon sunglasses! But they are only the Wild Wild West sunglasses Burger King gave away in 1999. Then the punks split, and the lady photocopies her ID—some dispute with the law, the landlord. After she's evicted, she writes a letter. To my delicious punks, she writes. Kick out the links, eat the rain back to where it starts, find somebody's hair and set that hair on fire.

from "Don't Wake Up It's Just Me"

The Local Pompadour

Lamp cord in a coma: I know, I know! It's
strenuous to shepherd electricity. Believe
much? Don't. You are causing electric
delays. Your nancy boat takes too long.
We have major bass tournaments and dead
tourist trap whitewater rafting to organize.
All these things scarf electricity. Augusta's
traditional greens are kept tidy thanks to
spacemen. Spacemen in their wee space boots
skate around underneath the greens with lanterns
to keep the greens soft, warm, comfortable, a tad
lickable. The greens understand. The green con-
sult the local horoscope. For seventeen days, local
horoscope maestro I was, memorizing birthdays
of friends, allowing petty feuds to rule the fates of
dozens. It was a small town. We fished. We had no
complimentary doughnuts. The revitalization scarecrows
gabbed plans of toll-free phone numbers and Hug It
Out sessions. One scarecrow wrote a book called
The Fucked Chevrolet: A Tough Pastoral Stance.
One scarecrow wired up a lantern in his chest.
He called his heart matter a kind of mine.
Where is my outlet, he is fond of saying, all
down the day, all down these streets, these
streets of little to no to tons of rain.

Mike Young is the co-editor of NOÖ Journal and sole editor of Magic Helicopter Press. His work has or will appear in Pindeldyboz, Juked, Backwards City Review, Hobart, MiPoesias, realpoetik and elsewhere. A chapbook of poems is forthcoming from Transmission Press.