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Delaware Poetry Review

Rich Boucher


When I bite into a York Peppermint Patty,
I get the sensation that both of my legs
have been cut off with a chainsaw
by a transient psychopath who I trusted,
and picked up on the highway,
because he seemed harmless enough,
and now I am screaming for help, all alone in the dark,
abused, caked in mud (a couple of slivers),
in the middle of the night, on a hospital bed.

Thank god this doesn’t happen every time
I bite into a York Peppermint Patty!

Sometimes when I bite into a York Peppermint Patty,
I get the sensation that I am heroic, virile, in a hot 11-way
with several all-natural porn starlets and suicide girls,
the Chicken of the Sea Mermaid and Kathy Najimy
and they stroke and kiss my slick, chiseled G.I. Joe chest
and we all practice 1960’s kissing, frottage, and lesbianism
until the shouting and moans sound like a fight
between Canada Geese and trombones;
until the sun rises and this expensive hotel room
with its four-poster bed covered in crimson silks
and with its pearl-inlay vanity smells of stale roses,
lipstick, cheap wine, and insanity.

Naturally, I don’t have too many complaints about this.

Still other times, when I bite into a York Peppermint Patty,
I get the sensation that my parents never loved me.
When this happens, I return the unfinished patty to the cashier
for a full refund because the cashier and I both know
that I grew up in a loving, caring family
I was one of 3.5 children
with parents who wanted me, who provided for me
and put me through school so I could learn
all the lessons I would need to get along in life:
so, fuck this York Peppermint Patty if it thinks
it can just play with my emotions
without having to pay the consequences.

One time I bit into a York Peppermint Patty
and killed some people, because I got the sensation
that they were all laughing at me.
Believe me when I say not a day goes by
when I don’t think about what happened
and how it could have happened differently
and how I could have opted for a Snickers bar instead
and how those people had families who loved them
and now they’re gone, sacrificed for a snack,
sacrificed for just 89¢, and nothing can bring them back.

Maybe one day I’ll bite into a York Peppermint Patty
and get the sensation
that I’ve taken my last bite of a York Peppermint Patty
and that everything happens on this earth for a reason
and that while I have died my soul is still alive
and I’m floating up slowly in ivory robes
to take my place of comfort and peace in the afterlife
and Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn
is tweedling away somewhere in the garden
and sunlight the color of flax and cream
is raining in a slantways beam through blue clouds on the horizon
and maybe someone will miss me
and maybe someone won’t
and maybe some will want to cry for my passing
but I’ll say, no, please don’t: do not cry;
remember me the way I was when you saw me last,
munching on a candy bar while the train rolled past.

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Dear brassiere ad models
heavenly in your maiden forms,
alone in your Bali gardens,
shapely wraith ladies of the lilyette
ravissant ingénieux,
Playtex queens almost ghostly now
in your mostly natural postures
in bedrooms with no personal effects at all
you half-naked angels who stand
classical and statuesque
in incomprehensible rapture
in the quiet, perfect rooms
of department store circulars:
we see you and we wonder.

Why are you smiling?
Have you just learned that you are going to heaven?
Do you always sit by the window in just a lace brassiere,
dreaming in the morning sun?
What must your neighbors think?!
Do you nurture this exhibitionist streak every day,
or only on the slow Sundays of Macy sales?
We don’t mean to pry, but do you often just stand there,
in your bra, smiling behind another woman
who herself is also wearing only a bra,
as though you both pledged to the same silent sorority?
Why hasn’t one of you spoken aloud yet,
asking the obvious questions?

“Who are you and how did you get into my house?”

“What is the nature of our relationship?”

“Since it appears that you and I will be living here
forever together, trapped inside of this catalog, and since there’s
nothing that either of us can do about it, would you like
to share a tender moment with me when
he puts the catalog
down and leaves us in peace?”

Are you softly pleased by the gifts of a suitor, dear lady?
Has your lover, just out of our range of vision,
has he let out a little belch;
is this what’s brought that quarter-smile to your lips?
Have you risen just now from a weeping sweet dream;
are you taken over by the music?
Is it the adagio playing that has you so?
Have you just won some little argument
and silenced your sweetheart’s protestations with wisdom?
Are you hearing voices, whispers,
(a photographer’s directions)?

Good God, what cup size are those, anyhow?
Has it been 18 hours yet?
Here’s a moist towelette to wipe that smirk off your face.

You have perfected the delirious head-tilt
of inexplicable pleasures,
you have, in the soft glow of this
early afternoon demicup bliss
achieved a state of near-consciousness
past awareness of intruding and consuming eyes,
you are the demonstration
of completeness half-clothed,
eyes half-closed,
you are the depiction of impossible routine
and you live within walls that are never stained by steam;
you have my full support—
you are the ready temptation for men
who have, sadly, no pornography in their bathroom
and strangely your partial nudity exudes a sure, pure modesty
you are the glossy contradiction
somehow ageless and nameless
you have no privacy and yet
you cannot blush
you are the quiet song of curve and glance
you are the wordless angel.

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(Case Studies in Advanced Zealotry)

The arduous, year-long process of total hair removal,
including my nape, eyebrow and gender hair;
it has finally come to a sure, and meditated, close.

I sit on the floor in the center of an utterly spotless
and bright white room; there are no furnishings
except for a mere window and door.

As I sit here now, Indian-style, shorn, and nude,
waiting for the appearance of things for me to eat,
I wonder what will materialize in the air before me.

Today turns out to be one tub of butter after another.
I can’t believe it: pint-sized, these containers appear
out of the thin air, hovering in front of me.

I am scheduled to be eating these glistening tubs
for the length of one day, after which time
I will find something brand new to eat.

But, until that time, I will be eating butter
until I am yellow, until I can easily,
and with little effort, squeeze between something.

The butter tubs will come one right after another;
they will come faster and faster, without a pause.
Merciless fortune is the author.

I believe that if I recall correctly,
the day before today
the thing to eat was walnuts.

Some of my memories are dim, still I know
that the day before the day before today
the thing to eat was beef jerky.

Through routine and abuse I have learned what to pray:
the day before the day before the day before today
the thing to eat was kimchi.

The song is strangled in my mouth,
a frenzied, passionate chorale of sadness,
of angels bearing chapstick and napkins.

Life is but a music video, circa 1982. I float in white space.
But keep watching, because, in just a few moments,
you see, I will be very exciting.

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About the Poet

Rich Boucher is a light-headed neobeatific, brutalist performance poet using only his mouth and a microphone to channel lagomorphic demon prayers. Continuously active on open-mic and coffeehouse stages since the fall of 1991. Founding member of the Worcester Poetry Asylum (long live 38 Harlow Street). Member of both the 1995 and 1996 Worcester, Massachusetts teams and Worcester Phoenix Magazine's 1998 Reader's Poll winner for the title of Best Local Spoken Word Performer. Member of the 2001 Washington D.C. National Poetry Slam Team. A former guest speaker and performer at numerous educational institutions, including Washington College, the University of Rhode Island, the University of Delaware, and the Cab Calloway School for the Performing Arts. One-time guest educator at The Ferris School for Boys in Wilmington, Delaware. Some of Boucher's work has been published in small print magazines, and some of his writings have been published online as well. Seven-year host of the Tuesday Night Poetry Open Mike and Slam in Newark , Delaware. Passed the torch of host in November of 2004. Rich is currently a regular performer (and admin group member) at the Delawhere? Open Mic & Slam Wednesday nights at the Crimson Moon Tavern in Wilmington, Delaware .

Page influences: e.e. cummings, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Wallace Stevens, Charles Bukowski. Stage influences: Bill MacMillan, Sean Shea, Marc Smith, Lea Deschenes.

Pay a visit to his blog: mannabozo.wordpress.com.