The Art of Tetman Callis High Street,Poems dream of the blue minnow

dream of the blue minnow

the president and his secretary for war came last night to a party at my house
barbecue and cocktails, a bonfire in the back yard

i sat with the president and his secretary for war and we talked

the president was charming
he was a funny man
his secretary for war was a sourpuss who didn’t say much

my marijuana plants were growing in a row behind the house
they were young and healthy
i told the president see it’s not such a bad thing
he was noncommittal, changed the subject, made a joke

his secretary for war, a tall gray man
said it was time to leave

we were in the back yard sitting in white plastic lawn chairs
the president stood and began pirouetting across the yard to his waiting limousine
he was a happy man, a funny man, though he had about him the air
of distancing self-protection common among the famous

his secretary for war, not dancing
followed him to the limousine

i turned to one of the other party guests and said see he’s not such a bad guy

this other party guest said no man he’s bullshitting you—look

he pointed towards my house
a small white helicopter fluttered down out of the night sky

standing on one of the helicopter’s white landing skids was a soldier
armed with a heavy machine gun, he opened fire at the back door to my house
the bullets were explosive
white flashes and sparks erupted

my house caught fire, though my marijuana plants still stood
silhouetted by the flames and explosions

the party was over
the helicopter landed
the soldier told me it was time for me to clean up all the mess

housecats stood on naked wires in front of me as though on clotheslines
i was to turn a rheostat to send current through the wires
to see how much the housecats could take and what would happen
and when would they die

i turned the rheostat
the housecats’ paws began to smolder
the housecats looked at me, their eyes were green
i broke the rules and turned the rheostat up all the way to get it over with

the housecats fell smoldering onto the wires
the wires burned through their paws, their legs, their whiskers, their jaws
and the tops of their heads
they fell from the wires
there were the smells of burning fur and flesh
it was day and my house had burned down

(Published in High Street: Lawyers, Guns & Money in a Stoner’s New Mexico (2012, Outpost 19); copyright 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

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