Poetry: Selections from Peter Mladinic
A Though Z
A is for asshole, b is for bayou,
under the willow by the bayou.
C for caress, for Charlie in produce
with his red apron and black tie.
D for Dangerfield, Rodney,
I can’t get no respect. E, eagle,
the American eagle, the Tanzanian eagle.
F for faith. G for Gizmo our Maltese.
H for highchair. I, I think Bernie Kill knows
about style. J for Josh, K for Hemingway’s
“The Killers.” L for lug the corpse
over the grass and kick it into the river.
M is for maybe, N nothing, O oriole,
P put down that knife and let’s talk.
Q Queenie slammed the door and flew
down the stairs. R for runt,
S sound as in Long Island Sound, T
temptation, U a U turn can get you a ticket.
V vagina, W words wound, X for Xavier
Cugat was a bandleader. Y you don’t know.
Z for zest, as in I wash with Zest soap.
A canyon—I couldn’t see till I got to it.
I looked down at green treetops, rocks and
a stream, birds, paths through the trees.
All the while on top where I’m standing
everything’s flat, with rocks, mesquite,
and cacti with needles low to the ground,
and the mesquites’ thorny branches
waist-high. Those branches good to throw
in a fire pit once the flames get going:
Take a match to a teepee of twigs and dry
grass, sit in a metal chair outside the circle
of rocks and the branches flaming.
White House / Death House
What’s a little self-promotion, some me-
time. Danny Rolling for President of Hell.
Some believe in white privilege. I believe
in poetic justice. While you have neighbors
I have fellow sufferers. Sure, I was smacked
by my state trooper dad. Sure, I stabbed
and even took off a human head, posed it
and sat in the bedroom where she died by
my hand, as did others in Gainesville.
I camped in woods. I strummed a guitar.
Like Manson, I wrote songs, like Bundy
I slaughtered in Gainesville. Ted Bundy
for President! Bundy in the White House.
Me, Danny in the Death House we have
here, me and my fellow sufferers. Michael
Franzese, who did time, said if one innocent
is killed, the death penalty’s not worth it.
But what about self-loathing savages,
sub-human scum such as I? What was
coming to me I got, then some. I’m here,
burning eternally. Here with Ted.
Twiddling our thumbs, our souls suffering.
If even one innocent person… what about
the non-innocents? What was good for me
should be also for them. My constituency,
fellow sufferers, believe as I believe.
White privilege or no, put Danny Rolling
in the Death House in 2024. What we have
down here is like your White House up there.
Strapped to a gurney I was injected. Ones
who thought that too good for me were
right. I should have been killed, brought
back, killed again and again at taxpayers’
expense, but the dumb bastards showed
me a kindness I never showed that lady
whose severed head I posed on a bureau.
Peter Mladinic’s fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table is available now from Better Than Starbucks Publications. He lives in Hobbs, New Mexico, USA and is an animal rights advocate.