Jeff Whitney: Nobody Likes You When You’re Counting Demons
Nobody likes you when you’re counting demons
all the time. For example, oh, it’s such a nice day
shame about those demons. What great weather, too bad
the eternally damned will ruin it. Sorry
is not the same as forever and I’m sorry
Pluto isn’t a planet. Sorry the celestial body
is pooping out. My biggest wish is to be
in the audience at my own funeral cracking
one-liners until nobody remembers
the greatest trick of Death
is a barbershop where we all lack hair.
If we were the type to buy stocks,
to go on 1980’s cocaine benders,
I’d be rubbing my gums right now
and you’d be yammering
about the tennis ball economy. Thank god
that isn’t us. That we never learned
to be quiet. When you’re down
there is always a highway in Montana
with your name on it. And cities
keep their lights on all night.
I’ve tried to say one great thing
or several somewhat great things.
This is god, this is god. This is
what one says no matter the language
they are speaking. The earth
is a red horizon, cloudless ocean.
Strange bird coming always back to earth.
Jeff Whitney is the author of five chapbooks, two of which were co-written with Philip Schaefer. Recent poems can be found in 32 Poems, Adroit, Baltimore Review, Booth, Meridian, Oxidant Engine, Prairie Schooner, and Verse Daily. He lives in Portland.