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Page 23

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You break the neighbor's window, I break you,
my father said before he threw me
against the dresser
in his and my mother's bedroom,

then punched me in the neck.
I saw stars shoot
above the red shag carpet.
The next thing I knew,

I was in my room,
and my father watched TV.
His slurps of beer
foamed in my ear.

His cackles were swords,
cutting my gut. I tried
to take my mind off my pain
by reading a comic book:

a back issue of Iron Man.
On the last page,
a woman asked Iron Man
if Commander Kraken,
the issue's guest villain,

had drowned in a cave.
Iron Man ruminated
on helping the commander,
if he could have. But he didn't
find an answer. I was

confused: weren't super-heroes
supposed to know
right from wrong?
Weren't parents? Why

wasn't this so?
I didn't know yet
that my father was both,
physically and mentally abused
by his father;

I didn't know yet
that his father's infidelity and drinking
made him hard, scarred,
distrustful and angry at the world.

Now that my hair is almost as gray
as my father's, I understand that
I don't have to bury my anguish
like a treasure chest or a body,
as he did. Something always

has to happen in a comic book,
but it ends, for the most part,
until I hear my father laugh:
his cackles as sharp as the steel
of a powerful pirate's blade, stabbing me
for hours on end.

  Joey Nicoletti __


the schnauzer, our Baby Girl over nachos and tacos at La Davina is our treat
for having survived the week, packed with meetings and medical tests
for me and Baby Girl, whose back legs shake more and more each day and
I’m worried that this is the start of her last days with us;
I’m worried that you and I will be unable to go to sleep without her;
I’m worried that the American President will alienate the world via Twitter;
I’m worried that the bushfires will keep burning and smoldering in Australia;
I’m worried that Venice will be submerged by its worst flooding since 1966;
I’m worried that the next phone conversation with my father will be the last one

he and I will ever have, that we won’t have another day when neither of us
isn’t gripped in the mist of our respective medications,
that we won’t get to enjoy even the smallest of our small talk, that even news
of John Tonelli’s number 27 being retired by the New York Islanders, raised
in the rafters of Nassau Coliseum, The Old Barn, before they move
into new digs, again, will become a flag of our inability to talk and listen to each other
instead of at and over each other as adults for me; the same holding true
for Butch Goring’s number 91, joining all of the other Islander legends
whose numbers are sort of coordinates for the times and places in my boyhood

when a Knish was the answer to every question and the ultimate peace offering;
when my face was awash in arcade gleam: streams of sweat induced by Galaga;
when the music of Prince thumped and grooved in my room and streets of puberty;
when Benson and Hedges cigarette smoke slithered around chandeliers;
when telephones were in the walls of kitchens, beside cupboards and cuckoo clocks
and Johnny Carson inspired David Letterman, whose stupid pet tricks enabled me
to laugh myself to sleep, even when my parents threw dishes at each other,
before Television’s eyes got heavy, and went to sleep, unlike me
later on tonight, and I just thought you’d might like to know.

  Joey Nicoletti __



Fennel. Always use it when you make sauce.
You no forget this. Capisce? It important,
like you girl. She Irish. She strong. She have
eyes green like leafy tree. She laugh tall as da Chrysler

Building. That’s good. You have taste. You like?
She smart. You work better overtime to keep up.
She to you what fennel is to sauce; to Sunday
and any dinner. You no forget this. Capisce?

  Joey Nicoletti __


Martian Ruler Kimar is upset
that the children
of Mars
are lazy
and under the influence
of too much pop culture
from Earth.
They are obsessed
with the planet’s TV shows
and don’t want
to do much
of anything.
In an attempt
to get the kids
again, Kimar orders
the kidnapping
of Santa Claus, hoping
that the jolly,
old toymaker will know
how to cheer
the children
up again.
But two
Earth kids are
also abducted,
and this
makes matters worse
for Kimar.

  Joey Nicoletti __

© Patricia Carragon: Eat the Rich

© Patricia Carragon: Eat the Rich