I.Q. Zoo & Other Prose Poems

I.Q. Zoo

Großer Zoologischer Garten, Triptychon — August Macke (1887-1914). Source: Wikimedia Commons

So they opened a theme park in Hot Springs called the I.Q. Zoo, which had all sorts of characters – the educated hen, Priscilla the fastidious pig – doing things like vacuuming. The gates closed at 5 p.m. It was only noon. A man in line to see the Acoustic Kitty held an umbrella over his head on the cloudless day. God had just spoken to him out of the barrel of a gun. “Ticket,” the lady ticket-taker at the entrance said. She thought his face kind of resembled an empty gray glove. The mouse orchestra bravely played on.

Discovering America

The giants of modernism have begun to show their age. “Like us on Facebook,” one practically begs. Another is having difficulty remembering various euphemisms for being drunk – soused, plastered, looped, shit-faced, polluted, bombed. . . . All the land around them now belongs to the storms that lash the sea. The shopping gods have also apparently turned against them. I could tell you more about their secret anxieties if you and I ever actually meet in person. On the History Channel, meanwhile, the Vikings are discovering America. But even with the sound turned up, what it means remains unsuspected.

Little Tragedies

If you’re like me, one of those who just knows that we’re all being secretly judged, you remember punches being thrown, children being trampled, everyone fighting for a better view. Dusk was all hollow doors and blank windows, a smoked-down cigarette between its fingers. The faces of old friends ceased to seem familiar. It must have been the light – single atoms, wide apart. I prayed that I’d catch sight of the blue signs that say Evacuation Route. No such luck. Gods don’t work double shifts.

Outside Eden

I’ve been waiting two hours. You said in your email you had something very important to discuss. The last time it was that your dog’s hind legs no longer worked. My advice has always been the same: Art is all about starting over. Occasionally someone stares at me in anticipation of my saying more. Fuck T-Mobile! Remember “The Twilight Zone” where the downed telephone wire falls on top of a grave? A dead husband calls up his lonely widow to chat. Another reason – as if I needed another – that I hear apples falling all night in the orchard.


Her favorite thing was to go where she’d never been. When it came time to go, if she had to take a bus somewhere, it was like she was going on a blind date. There were always two things that happened. One was a boy in a straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade. The other was blue.

A Girl Asks in Class, “What’s an Id?”

An infection eats away at the superego. The more you watch, the more you want to watch. It’s just like Wall Street to respond with a late afternoon rally. Ever count how many cars have a Jesus fish? Probably better if you don’t. The hardest part is calling your folks to tell them that life keeps getting in the way of your work. All you can manage to say is that a deer cracked your front bumper last night on Plainsboro Road. Your mom’s tired. She doesn’t ask what happened to the deer. You wouldn’t know, anyway.
Howie Good