patent pending

if you’re happy in love

don’t read this

disregard it like bad advice

a boorish pickup line or too much junk mail

tumbling from your letter box

or maybe if you care a bit for language

you might find it useful at your next cocktail party

to spur the conversation perhaps

toward a common topic

once it has unwittingly turned to sports

or workplace gossip

when the men and women have broken into herds


a cocktail party taboo, an unmitigated disaster

as the men shotgun cans of beer in the garage

laughing, roughhousing, a raw, greasy bond between them

with no girls allowed pinned to the tree house


i give it to you for this reason —

this fat little poem with acne and crooked teeth

to unite your cocktail party

when david’s friend bobby

with the brando hair and muscle-car fixation

has lost interest in your friend mel

from the human resource department

who only came because bobby was coming

it is at that crucial nexus in the evening

where the two universes split like atoms

into opposing areas of science

that you can pull this poem out from under the sofa cushion

to lay it on the floor like a mat with coloured dots


now tell bobby and melanie to first step on the green

dot with their right hand and left leg

on the yellow dot and so on.

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