A poetry collection – by Jeff Bagato

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Research on the Line

Scholars do the damnedest things
selling cocaine cola as psychological
freshwater for clearing palate and
bowels, a marvelous display
of erudition slips effortless into Red
Skelton cross-eyed hayseed, back
stabbed & backwater, at the slightest
wave of dollar green breeze from cough
drop millions—fortune telling science
can quicker see the meaning of love
than the mushroom cloud growing bold
under term paper panty-raid glass
cabinet fascinations—
it’s a smoke that won’t dope,
invented with glee, a particle
reduced down from the whole
that once used to be a brass
mind, a trap snapping on a stack
of smile buttons with a Washington wig
over the upper crust—smile
now and be counted—smile
and look familiar—movie star
tooth job rolling out professorial
like sun flare from a gradebook grin—
smile ‘cause it doesn’t hurt, smile
to take the edge off, smile come
running up tight as short hairs
pulled high and mighty
to be neighbor of the beast

Hidden Curriculum

School is a place where brains
lie bleeding over slabs of lined
white paper hole-punched within
an inch of their lives, drooling
for school lunch and laughing at
gym teacher crotch grab
every five minute interval—
Please relieve me of my dollar
when I step into color coated
candy aisle back of the school bus,
vendors spitting TV coordinated
light show thru textbook windows
and incarcerated lives—Please
represent me the have-to-have layouts
of doll flash and saran wrap sissy
mobiles—the ones that rev & stretch
& loop the loop one step from poking
out eye and going blind—Please
barbital or give me death—Please
run the dollar show gantlet thru
principal’s hairpiece parade—
Please show up candy clowns
on hallelujah donut bicycles,
crisp-creming hall carpet
with wonderland glitter from the
five and dime; Fifth avenue sneer
runs like make up on a cigarette face,
one puff and you’re deadly, kiss
me cost of living grandly—Please
look into my soul
and tell me
if it

At a traffic light, looked up

Hobo’s face appeared in the clouds
purpled up before a storm,
his eyes angular and flashing
with the sun behind,
and his grin was crooked—
nose stood out in relief
as a few rounded edges
moved out front
into a bulb

your light comes down
in lines upon us,
from your shining mouth
and eyes bright under
a dark brow

The cars draw his laughter,
his surprise—so small,
obscure this life, so much
less a miracle than the beholder

He never spoke to me,
though I waited

His eyes slid away, left
following right, nose
flattened and mouth puckered
up as if to shit,
imploded and the
face was gone

the light was green—
we had to go

If the world can get me to sleep

If the world can get me to sleep,
it is sure it can get me to die.
And I am tired.
It doesn’t matter.

The citizens don’t see;
they don’t see the roots of trees
touching their feet.
They have turned off all nerves
with a big electric switch
and have become hermetic
chambers, filtering all
air and water and light.

We disappear in air,
water and light;
we have always shared
molecules with our food
that will become food.
We never exist, and of course
we do—we begin, we end,
we live forever.

I am fading into sleep,
drugged by some urge
to grow numb and deceitful.
I am fading into sleep.

My thoughts vanish under the wheels
of a car, and become worthless
next to electricity.

I am tired.
It doesn’t matter.


A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music, glitch video, sticker art, and pop surrealism paintings. Some of his poetry has appeared in Empty Mirror, Futures Trading, In Between Hangovers, Otoliths, Your One Phone Call, and Zoomoozophone Review. His published books include Savage Magic (poetry), Cthulhu Limericks (poetry), The Toothpick Fairy (fiction), and Dishwasher on Mars (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.wordpress.com.

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