Nomadic Geometric Proofs: a surreal hx of western civilization

By Joseph Reich

“There are still a few animals left out in the yard…” -Jim Morrison

1. a hallway ticking in a clock

2. a shadow of a juggler but no juggler

3. a shadow of a skyline but nothing inside

4. a mouse swallowing a piece of wax fruit

metamorphosizing into a pear-shaped tuba

5. a whole family wrapped in safety-proof zippered-up

furniture wrap to keep all memories & facts in tact

6. a whole patch of sunflowers which squirt

slapstick liquid made to trigger laughter

planted in the tuxedo of toot shores

sprouting from robe of dolly llama

7. a sputtering electric candelabra

in some lone solitary caravan on

the distant & splintered fugitive ocean

8. a shipwreck with long lines of tourists

lined-up at the buffet, old timers in dark

spats playing shuffleboard, aloof obnoxious

women playing cards on deck & the schmaltzy

balding middle-aged band still bent over instruments

9. one of those deep dark dives with dusty

trophies lined in the bleary-eyed window

composed of nodding-out veterans, drug

dealers & wealthy daughter starving artists

10. a cracked snow globe which just feels like the here

& now she loves me she loves me not stagnant future

11. laughing sisters strolling down the avenue at dusk

spitting sunflower seeds into each others scalp

unaware making it all that much more hysterical

12. the hysterical hag venomous & violent with giggles

13. the palm reader’s sons bawling her out in the window

for stretching the truth & being out of touch focusing

too much on the future & not enough on the past

14. a mote drying-out on a clothesline outside a castle

while a pervert with binoculars watches the king’s

slut-virginal daughter dancing naked & whimsical

after she comes out the shower preparing for

a life of seduction & turning young boys wild

a wild child feeling persistently brow-beaten

& taken advantage of by an overbearing

impossible-to-please father & without

even being aware of it turns to a life

of crime constantly running away to

carnivals & battles; a battering ram

& batons left in the tool shed of the gardener

pretty much responsible for raising both children

the court jester & king’s fool building card castles

in the courtyard out of tarot cards which predict

the future ironically tipsy beneath the full moon

15. the girl next door spying on me through keyhole

me peeking through birches to the prison on shore

16. a general store made up of trap doors & folklore trampling

in like some vagabond whose seen too much of the world

engaging in a natural stimulating rapport with a wife

with red hair & walking out feeling like a new man

17. a porcelain pagoda with thimbles on the sill filled with

drizzle for the chameleons & hummingbirds in the hills

18. a lumber truck loaded up with timber just to build secret cabins

next to taverns in the forest for long-lost lovers & companions

19. plates pasted to wall glued & pieced together of elvis & the queen

of england due to a history of dysfunction & domestic violence

20. an all-you-can-eat feast for the stoning at the dinner theater

putting on performances by moliere & tennessee williams

21. those sweltering summers used to sit inside childhood matinees

watching westerns where you swear it felt like it was raining all

day hearing the faraway tremulous distant echoes of holy thunder

not sure if a part of the movie or something between the heavens

& down under & when you exited the theater back to the remains

of the strange insane blinding sun all that was leftover were those

still & sacred puddles pristine immaculate not exactly sure where

they had come from glistening reflecting wondering what

had happened with a sense of rebirth & redemption

those brown paper lunch bags stuffed

with moon pies & baloney sandwiches

22. trucks stuffed with ex-convicts & slapstick comedians

rambling over bridges to move grand pianos for miserable

widows in their victorians up on the tippy-top of mountains

forced to tippy-toe in their socks up winding staircases

everyone always cussing & threatening each other

23. the haunted blinking radiotower up on the pinnacle of the precipice

& island of deaf children always heard howling through the forest

24. wind chimes with their mad rollicking improvisational

symphony before a storm and wind fluttering through

the leaves like a stadium full of monks collectively

chanting in robes not caring at all about the score.

after the rain falls shattered flowers like violent

swans with necks bent over on the prowl

25. horses like holy hearses being transported in

caravans in the mad clandestine rainy nighttime

26. a little wicker basket pushed down the mad river of tears

a little later on a silhouette in loin cloth nailed to the cross

suffering alone shedding the selfsame tears shedding his skin

wondering what he did to deserve this somewhere between the

pyramids & pillars & watering hole & river blues traveler bob dylan

(neil young solo) playing long mean harmonica heart brings you back

27. taking shots just coming off shotgun bus on-the-run at dusk

in a long-lost sunken barroom behind the musty mustard

curtains beneath the stars of the bars of a lace curtain lounge

of an asylum of a rising skeleton skyscraper glowing phosphorescent

& foreign in the smog of a radiant ghost town of historic cobblestone

28. a convention of spies followed by slow ballroom dancing

in a schmaltzy hotel in the heart of a heartless city

all stuffed in the breast pocket of a tweed jacket

reeking of pipe smoke & after-dinner brandy

all around that industrial area where they print

counterfeit money & old puppeteer getting

evicted for refusing to go condominium

29. ex-convict becomes an exhibitionist wandering naked through

penthouse with a pair of binoculars religiously strung around

neck like some transitional-object he hopes to never forget

while across the street in florescence a bible club meets

along with alcoholic’s anonymous & dog obedience

30. studs hanging out outside with pool sticks in silhouette

31. strolling around the central park reservoir always imagine

those muted howling faces in the glowing faded autumn

of wealthy widows’ tarnished chandeliers whose wise

ass sons take on a life of crime behind the blinds

of beautiful bleak-boo-joie balustrade buildings

32. in truth first thing astronauts saw when they landed

on the moon was a staticky transistor tuned to the blues

33. a mayor on top of float in top hat with bullet holes waving

with porn queen to all those pimps & prostitutes who voted

for him in an incestuous town made up of mimes & clowns

34. young ladies who have been betrayed & cheated on by their men

hollering like a nightmare in front of real estate agencies on the curb

35. librarians mutely wailing in the porthole windows of victorians in drizzle

36. coyotes sleepwalk past the cathedral, past the cinema, past the corner

diner & disappear down the alley into the valley of moonshine mountains

37. gorgeous red-haired waitresses working at boxcar diners next door to

bridal shops always with the spirit of phantoms in flowing silk dresses

38. the profile of a cat burglar scaling the side of a building with suction

cups & secret potion to knock out residents & rip off diamonds & pearls

39. waiters on strike demanding respect from tourists & coquettish

older women obnoxiously passive-aggressively flirting with them

40. a feast of aristocrats & madmen at the afternoon chinese buffet

41. dogs tied up to corner in the lightning & thunder during a matinee

42. a drizzle falls on the village bringing bear down from the mountain

& old timers with their wagons dragging cases of pabst blue ribbon

43. wealthy white women with kleptomania problems taking off in

tears & tiaras in long gold cadillacs their husbands purchased

for them exactly like treating them like just another possession

44. a glass animal collection suspiciously shattered on mantle

45. daughters with nymphomaniac problems spreading open

alabaster legs in front of smart phones in bathroom stalls

46. their fathers from vaudeville with drinking problems

& multiple personalities on line at unemployment

47. when they both get home they’ll try to put their

split-level in the suburbs out with buckets of fire

48. firemen arrive whispering gossip & rumors

49. young girls from the block with no life in their

eyes mechanically hula-hooping for their lives

50. a teacher making out with his student right in front

of the courthouse with smoke from the pig roast

51. a white trash cop in leather boots & ten-gallon

not man enough to give a ticket to a devil on

a motorcycle acting like a wannabe rebel peeling

through town but will pull over a housewife going

a couple miles over (most likely for issues he does

not have control over) & then give her his infamous

ridiculous passive-aggressive male chauvinist lecture

52. not too dissimilar than those affluent industrialists

from columbia in white tuxedos with handlebar

moustaches & straw hats who used to come over

in riverboats to do business in an area so dense

& thick & verdant couldn’t even get a shovel

through the jungle & where the pan-american

highway ended with endless twisting rivers

& jesus christ lizards dancing over lilypads

giving the impression they’re walking on

water & water hippos & white monkeys

swinging from the tree line in the distance

53. the bloated human cannonball & thin tall strung-out giant

dragging his pair of pawnshop stilts returning home through

the chopstick alley of the movie theater to weather-worn wraparound

porches in a land of hippies & lawyers with chemical dependency problems

54. the old perverted usher wanders down cobblestone in the thunder

55. the rest are swingers who act elitist & bourgeois

mowing their lawns with ascots on & preach

& pass judgment on their first born expecting the best of manners

who only end up parroting poor behavior or turning overly-formal

56. a church woman in the choir with a diagnosis

of munchausen disorder condemns all the liars

(while brainwashing bewildered children) but has never

done one honest thing in her higher-than-holy existence

57. a wax museum full of martyrs who’ve been brutally assassinated

58. a country who blindly worships & gives omniscient status

to doctors & politicians & talk show hosts & soldiers

59. a real true-blue wanderer the son of a senator blowing his shofar

in the shadows of decadent cobblestone alleys of foreign cities

60. a chain gang still cuffed around wrists & ankles sharing

triple scoops with sprinkles cracking-up at the creamery

61. the mistress still dressed-up in whips & leather

taking measured sips of her tea at the coffee shop

62. in the feint distance in the man-made canals

acrobats on rafts swallowing swords & fire

63. a lighthouse whimsically winking for lost

romantics like a brooding bird on a wire

64. a pristine beach which overlooks a smoggy

polluted skyline full of silhouetted fire escapes

& spires from the beginning to the end of time

65. the smokestack steeples where they used to keep

the orphanages shoot past your window from gare

de lyon down to the decadent palm trees of the

mediterannean on the border of france & italy

where the railway workers from the union are

always on strike, while up to your own devices

to figure out what they’re saying over the intercom

& have to switch trains to make it down to naples

all the way to the boot of the hustle & bustle

of southern italy where old barbers will literally

wrap you up in a warm terrycloth towel, lather you

up & shave your skull with shots of espresso & opera

before you take the ferry over to the misty shores of sicily

66. this was the exact same strange sleepy fleeting feeling

you had when you used to take those long slow trains

from the big easy crawling through the sacred stamen

of the sweating seeping magnolia & crepe-myrtle

swamp-lagoons of the deep south that couldn’t help

but to penetrate every pour of your being physically

mystically spiritually & transcendentally through

brick alley bible belt country up to mason-dixon

slums of old black richmond, virginia, washington

d,c, finally at last making it to patterson, new jersey

& grand central station, a delinquent still

on the run being met by your older sister

who appeared to have a modicum of a sense

of humor & compassion & sympathy for me

67. on the ferry to sicily crazy candelabra calamari buffets

along with corny cabaret & asian men in sequin jumpsuits

crooning half-crazed opera to a very tough audience of old

timers nodding-out fantasizing about neighbor’s daughters

68. upon arrival the carcass bones of the belly of the beast

suddenly swing open & out waddles morbidly-obese

twin gigantic dwarf bullies & men in their mercedes

with their miserable aloof wives mourning behind

sunglasses single-minded shooting to the suburbs

69. stud-gigolo-soldiers well-groomed & neatly

dressed in uniform looking to make a killing

70. dead dogs passed out from the humidity on the lawn of polizzia

71. your taxi driver in fishermen cap snapping his fingers to some

ridiculous disco, literally running over the bones of strays not

seeming to give a damn on your way to palermo surrounded by

the majestic mafia mountains & miraculous fruit & fish markets

72. street urchins & wild dogs bum-rushing with peach baskets mashed

over snouts, while blood-thirsty hags sit on stoops laughing aloud

& wind-up bride & groom walk proudly down alleys to the sea

73. you make it back to your dimly-lit porthole with saints & crucifixes

over your headboard behind windswept, weather-worn shutters in

one piece but really not sure to commercials where housewives just to

please their men & stay slim strap vibrating belts around their mid-section

74. you sit bronzed & contented on the promenade along

the mediterannean eating a slice of sicilian with fresh

olives straight from the mountains watching the gorgeous

olive-skinned siren-goddesses stroll in seductive sundresses

75. fall fast asleep to the continual sound of wailing

of young hustler merchants in maddening alleys

76. what it means to be completely anonymous & alone (lone!

some ultimate stranger) literal definition of missing-in-action

77. at dawn right around where all the great ancient explorers

come from somewhere between valencia & barcelona

the cobblestone starts to get hosed down along with

tourist stands & postcard carousels outside the bull-

fighting coliseum; the gypsies & petty thieves

get conveniently shipped in for the ceremony

78. saltwater taffy & tee shirts & posters

of matadors, glassblowers & flamenco

dancers; the origins of folklore & civilization

79. a chimpanzee somehow having made it across

the strait of gibraltar from africa to andalucia

in the evening becoming something of a relentless

scavenger panhandling for polenta & slice of pizza

80. a catacomb of siamese cats & stray dogs

staggering from heatstroke which leads

to the lush verdant banana leaf courtyard

where in the morning they serve champagne

& cream puffs & honey cake & pompadour tea

81. a strange sleazy old man in goggles swims

beneath where they keep the morning buffet

82. a drained old lady like a jigsaw puzzle

which has broken down into a number

of pieces parasitically scowls in the lobby

83. in the brilliant clean cobblestone alleys

of shadowy cafes sitting up on top of stools

at the bar in front of beaming mirrors criminals

& gigolos & pastors take their morning coffee

before a day of hustling & seducing & saving

84. a seductive madonna-whore mother daughter

in their tight chords pick up their morning paper

from the magazine stand just outside the square

85. classically beautiful bronzed chiseled wives bide

their time in sophisticated shoe shops still wanting

to attract & turn on their brand-new banker husbands

both looking at it as something of a mutual investment

86. later on with the rest of the townsmen they will

gather around the flaming carousel at sundown

keeping an eye out on their creatures somewhere

between the beach & mountains of lemons & olives

87. vultures huddle up on top of palm trees in the morning

of costa-del-sol minding their own business harmlessly

looking down on the tourists who are the real vultures

88. a bird on a wire hiding behind the blue mist mountains

that house missions & madmen & martyrs & fountains

89. you bid farewell from the aromatic train station in the ancient

jewish quarter of sevilla hit with the heat of africa & andalucia

90. somewhere between the posh hotels & policia multi-colored

parrots conspiratorially crouch way atop telephone wires

in the glowing fading iridescent twilight of barcelona

91. it rains so much in the summer bicycles get

stolen & magically reappear in the autumn

92. girlfriends take off & just doesn’t matter

your mailbox casually full of arrest warrants

93. what else can you do but make a name for yourself

& take off from the lake back to the poverty-stricken

wealth thinking up schemes to keep yourself out of trouble

94. you get into the luxury hotel business…

95. dogs on leashes getting familiar in private parks

while prudish men & women not getting it look

off to the horizon in areas so unfamiliar don’t

even have neighborhoods named after them

96. monuments of madmen in drowsy closed-down abandoned

red brick smokestack rundown mill town always glazed in

radiating dim glowing sun of autumnal alleys & windswept

phantoms right around the cannons of pick-up stick pine forest

factories with mischievous boys snickering like mad scientists

bent over with magnifying glasses trying to burn the whole damn

thing down & drizzle falling on the jack-o-lanterns at sundown

97. a long sleek immaculate white cadillac with bat lights on

which simply vanishes into the bleak purply night, while

young pretty girls sweep up the donut shop in silhouetted

whispering nocturnal whoops-johnny-whoops mountains

like brilliant beacons beneath the flickering starlight

98. buddha with a fishing pole nodding-out by the riverside

99. the banana pudding man shows up from burntdown

stadium to deliver his elixir to the old puerto ricans

100. we all end up at the diner on the border of madness

& freedom like a buffet of leftovers & bouquet of plastic

flowers wasted & half-crazed & disoriented & contented

with the hustlers & drug dealers & drag queens & ancestors

101. you take great pride in playing the part of stranger & trickster


Joseph Reich is a social worker who lives with his wife and thirteen year old son in the high-up mountains of Vermont. He has been published in a wide variety of eclectic literary journals both here and abroad, been nominated seven times for The Pushcart Prize, and his books in poetry and cultural studies include, “If I Told You To Jump Off The Brooklyn Bridge” (Flutter Press) “A Different Sort Of Distance” (Skive Magazine Press) “Pain Diary: Working Methadone & The Life & Times Of The Man Sawed In Half” (Brick Road Poetry Press) “Drugstore Sushi” (Thunderclap Press) “The Derivation Of Cowboys & Indians” (Fomite Press) “The Housing Market: a comfortable place to jump off the end of the world” (Fomite Press) “The Hole That Runs Through Utopia” (Fomite Press) “Connecting The Dots To Shangrila: A Postmodern Cultural Hx Of America” (Fomite Press) “A Case Study Of Werewolves” (Fomite Press) “Taking The Fifth And Running With It: a psychological guide for the hard of hearing and blind” (Broadstone Books) “The Rituals Of Mummification” (Sagging Meniscus Press) “Magritte’s Missing Murals: Insomniac Episodes” (Sagging Meniscus Press) “How To Order Chinese During A Hostage Crisis: Dialects, Existential Essays, A Play, And Other Poems” (Hog Press) “The American Book Of The Dead” (Xi Draconis Books) “American Existentialism” (Tuba Press) “From Premonition To Prophecy” (Delinkwent Scholar Press) “an eccentric urban guide to surviving” (Analog Submission Press).