Cognitive Promiscuity: The Undocumented Gunshot Blues
I am walking to the reservoir in Newark Delaware
where the ghosts of passenger pigeons
assemble in mutable clumps
and have flocked here to reveal
something I’ve long suspected but could never admit.
In my left hand
I’m carrying a photograph of myself
sitting beside a giant mushroom
on a spangled float
in some esoteric middle American parade.
Once I sang backup and played gong as a member of The Undocumented Gunshot.
For her part my wife decided to survey a college course on cognitive promiscuity.
In my right hand
the Id of a glass of ice water
sweating on a blue tabletop
with little wet rings doddered about.
Surely these Delaware ghost birds know this.
Look at them.
I would go so far
as to say they’re smug.
I don’t have any other photos to show them.
The band broke up as the greatest bands do unsigned and under-mourned.
My wife spends her days quietly meandering contrary landscapes of ideation.
I’m approaching the reservoir
climbing that big green hill
the sun is a fat weight dropped from the sky
I see skittish deer
and what I’m guessing are foxes
my hand is sweating
but I can’t be sure which one
I stop at the crest
of the crazily huge hill
and chance a quick look around
there is so much that I will never understand
then I rear back and chuck my wallet into the reservoir
and I tuck my keys deep down in my sock.
Someone made a bootleg cassette of our very last gig and I am told the sound‘s quite good.
My wife gets what these birds are all about but she’s in the bathroom and she won’t say a word.
Jeffrey Little is the author of The Hotel Sterno and The Book of Arcana (Spout Press), as well as Five and Dime (Rank Stranger Press), and three chapbooks. He is a 2001 Delaware Division of the Arts Poetry Fellow in the strangely named Established Professional category. For the past decades he has been publishing work in journals such as Columbia Poetry Review, Exquisite Corpse, Painted Bride Quarterly, Shattered Wig, and Swerve. He has two teenage kids, a lovely wife, doesn’t sleep well, and does his best to avoid walking into walls.