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In a Perfect World Poem




In a perfect world…

The 4 faces chiseled in Mt. Rushmore

would be Johnny, Kris, Waylon, and Willie

OJ Simpson would be stamping out vanity plates

alongside the unabomber in San Quentin.

every wanna-be Doctor, Priest, and Lawyer, made to watch

Paul Newman in "The Verdict" at least 50 times

and a public school education would include mining the mother lode

of irony found in the life and times of Muhammad Ali

In a perfect world…

the Government would find it unnecessary to spend 5o million bucks

trying to prove that the president committed adultery and lied about it.

the NRA would wither up and die due to lack of interest,

It’s army of Lobbyist picked off one by one through random gunfire.

all the camouflaged, soldier of misfortune, pin-headed, good ol’ boys

would collectively decide themselves not smart enough to exercise the

right to vote.

And every child would know deep and sustaining Love

from those in charge of their care.

In a perfect world…

I could lay all day on the beach

soaking up Pacific Ocean Sun without burning my ass off.

my 1970, Olds F-85, with the 396, would get better gas mileage the

faster I drove it.

like maybe 100 miles per gallon at 100 miles per hour.

there would fantastic, hole in the wall, Mexican food joints on every

street corner.

with plenty of fresh Tortillas, Habeneros, and ice cold Negra Modelo

and "Baby Doll" with the wandering eye, would magically see George


every time she looked my way, causing her to re-think monogamy.


in these late breaking days

rebellion has become

the most ragged of fashion statements

the banality of it symbolized

by certain

hairstyles, cigarettes, rock bands, automobiles

a saltpeter-fueled revolution

defiance institutionalized

from our home entertainment centers

we see, we hear,

the latest corporate anti-heroes

as they sun themselves

along the banks of the mainstream

mega stars

idolized by thundering herds

spilling forth

from the nearest shopping mall

ask me and I’ll tell you

lovers with a cause

are the real rebels

the spiritual benefactors,

the wounded heroes,

the mystics eternally misunderstood

with fine grit paper

working against the grain

hands slivered and bleeding

creating hidden beauty

in time

through their labor

floating free-form

defying the gravity

of power, greed, envy…


born anew

these spirit artists become suspect

a kind of threat to social order

to be burned at a stake

nailed to a cross

assassinated by sniper fire

getting them out of the way

we make martyrs of them

coz the dead don’t scare us

the way living flesh and bone does

it’s easier to glorify a touched up past

than face a future

we seem hell-bent on desecrating

one by one

all are shot down

…and when the fields where the wildflowers grow

have been bulldozed and destroyed

then spring is gone

and what’s left

is a sort of somber confusion

as hard to define

as that 4 letter word

we so readily cut and paste

to fit our purpose


Smoke ring in a windstorm

old man with blindfold and cigarette

at the university he had "shown promise"

was called a "diamond in the rough"

but the years have gotten away from him

he pissed away his time

now he waits for the phone to ring

for Gabriel to call and ask if he has one last request

from the beginning desire had been a map without names

never sure where he was or where he was going

change made for the sake of change

point A to point B in a car painted primer gray

he drank too much-slept too much

read too much-chased "easy" too much

never finished the book he had been writing

for the last 24 years

now the Rambler sits on blocks

the manuscript lost somewhere in the attic

he calls himself "invisible man on blue planet"

the events of his life written in disappearing ink

nothing to offer as evidence of having circled the Sun

staring at the autumn sky, chain smoking, sipping tea,

he waits for the angels to raise their rifles

and take him home


maybe the angel watching over me

strikes a match along the corner of my eye

the way them TV outlaws use their cowboy boots

whenever they need to light up a smoke

or maybe the skittish ghost of a firefly

tries to engage me in blind man’s mystic bluff

I turn to look-too late-I miss it

left to ponder the validity of the hidden message

it happens all the time beyond the borders

micro sunspot surfing the line of sight

Marlboro angel in a nicotine fit

fires up when God looks the other way


dead men don’t care what the surgeon general thinks

dead men drive around with no place to go

dead men figure the come-on at the end of the bar, more trouble than

she’s worth

dead men hold alcohol in a medicinal light

dead men will sleep in their work clothes

dead men never have to RSVP

dead men keep the curtains drawn

dead men buy cars, and smokes, based solely on price

dead men avoid eye contact at all cost

dead men doodle on the obituary page

dead men drive on bald tires with cracked windshields.

dead men accept with resignation, the next day’s hangover

dead men listen to Coltrane, and Davis, start to finish, no


dead men never floss their teeth

dead men will drink Sake cold

dead men take the long way to work

dead men don’t sweat expiration dates

dead men never wear bandages

dead men are past blaming anyone

dead men see horse-shit and diamonds the same

dead men don’t care where the candle-wax falls

dead men forget what day of the week it is

dead men can’t get to sleep at night, can’t wake up in the morning

dead men have nothing in their hands

dead men never ask another chance

dead men have no need to make sense of anything

dead men play dumb when they know they’re being lied to

dead men have made the connection between sorrow and desire

after losing the thing he loves

a dead man will spend the rest of his days

anesthetizing the past

pouring gasoline on the future

dead men

have no fear of dying the second time


What Miles Davis was

to melody

John Coltrane was

to virtuosity.

black giants

in white-bread world

mixing up a masterpiece

branding iron hot-glacier cool

tornadoes and sea breezes

shouts and whispers

bold slashing strokes-lines straight, and razor thin

the frenetic energy of a humming bird

the economized motion of a crow

muted trumpet-raging tenor sax

"Kind of blue"

2 of a kind

heaven squared


you and me

terminal union

cancer full-blown

no chance of re-mission

we work hard

not to notice


back porch

I sip cheap red

strum a cracked and buzzing

harmony six string

tell the stars

to go fuck themselves


on your back

in bed

Cosmo opened

across your chest

you whisper

something to someone

on the phone


in the kitchen

under the ironing board

the 3 year old sits

blissfully occupying himself

with a green, rubber,

T-Rex toy

welcome to plan B

much time ago

I was to be a writer

of words and music

you were going to travel the world

a single woman

scoring brown-skinned boys

taking in the sights

but as in figure 8 racing

we "discovered" each other

an "accident waiting to happen"

made ourselves giant targets

easy marks

lowest form of idiot

the "little-man"

has no such regrets

no fear for what's future

he's like a sponge

soaking up the moment

laughing to himself

as he and imaginary friend

slip past the angel

sent to guard Eden's gate

Copyright © 1998 by THOM KELLAR, All rights reserved

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