Nebuchadnezzar’s Rookie Year

by Ken White

Shiva Ahmadi: Untitled 12 (from Throne), 2012 | Mixed media on Aquaboard | 17 x 11.5 in (43.1 x 29.2 cm) | Courtesy Leila Heller Gallery

Stand anywhere you look there used to be a tree
threw down pine needles oak leaves
avocados margaritas what you wanted slid down

the bar into your hand – slap! You could kick it
sprawled among lionesses lazing with the lemurs
and gaze up at undercarriages of kingfishers. You could nap

among tumbled meercats. Yeah, Neb had to cut that shit down, stat.
He was a king. He had a saw. He did not generate
Original Ideas. Luke swaggered in his enameled codpiece

and with sonic boom and bright battering
spade razed promise to a bare stump. The party
was over. Puckered sap. The stump bound

with bronze, alone in its grassy field, St. Luke thought
it might make a pretty swell picnic table once it took on
a little patina. Oxidize! Oxidize thou thy bindings! Luke

snickered. He got a load of himself. He really ought
to take that show on the road, but first! A horn section!
Some percussion! Luke largely liked to dress as a cross

between Brandon Flowers with his peacock shoulders
and Planters salted peanut’s Mr. Peanut – top hat, spats,
monocle, watch swinging from its watch chain,

and Luke always backed by big brass:

‘Cause I’ve got BAM! (personality).
Walk (like Deuteronomy).
Talk (with calamity).
Smile (it’s all vanity).
Charm (works like Dramamine ).
Love (tuba drowns mouthed words).
An’ plus I got a great big har-ar-art.’

Down polished burlwood

the original Killer

slides his singular shiv.

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