Scott Keeney – 2 poems


At Home

Frog in the toilet like a hole in the sky where the nail used to be.

My throat is a rope tied to the future.

Mosquito mouthparts are adapted for piercing the skin of plants and animals. While males typically feed on nectar and plant juices, the female must obtain nutrients from a “blood meal” before she can produce eggs.

Mouth-to-mouth distribution, or the wind just passing through some leaves.

The green ones. And the red. A handful of dirt. What did you have in mind?

Eyes like pasta shells . . . I’m hungrier than I thought.

Boring fact: the bills are living on the edge of a wicker basket.

The persimmon tree shaking behind me.

The market spikes. Ouch.

Stars steep in this cup of tea—how’d ya like me now?

A bag of ash.

So what?

I put my feet up and begin working another sonnet.

The moon is cold and gentle. It does the same thing every night.



Metaphysical Skill Set

The French have a way of winning me over
with their handy metaphysics and subtle minds.
I thought I was reading a prose poem at first
but it was just a series of end-stopped lines
that ran the text measure without turning over.
Nothing is inconsequential, but that doesn’t mean
there’s a grand scheme, or God, of things.
Metaphysics is a match between the curious
and the bored, sometimes played on a six-string.
The poem can be a mirror or it can be a hammer
striking a mirror and asking you to pick up the pieces,
but I prefer legs and the ephebic ooh la la
of the lesbian lizards and psychedelic geckos

found in South Vietnam. When a Snoopy dog runs
it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be.
And it’s that belief—in the face on nothingness—
that keeps the buskers busking in the subways
rather than bouncing their bones on the third rail.
Not that it has to be that way. Parlez vous francais?
“Not really, but I’ve translated a handful of poems,
including three quarters of Le bateau ivre—
is that how you say it? I start it off with the line:
Drifting down Rivers that didn’t give a fuck.
The contemporary American requires that kick
to keep it real.” Nothing is so “unimportant”
that you say “Let it go” without making a conscious
decision to do so. Abraham Lincoln was French
because he was quiet, reserved, and relaxed,
or at least melancholy—you would be, too, if you
were going to be assassinated—and because
he understood the problem and offered a solution
not unlike the dying Zhuge Liang who ordered
his men to make a wooden statue of himself
to dissuade the Cao Wei forces from attacking,
thereby allowing his Shu Han army a safe retreat.
And that’s how Lincoln became an honorary
Chinese-American the way Huckleberry Finn
is an honorary Jamaican-American and I’m
an honorary progressive activist who voted
for Nader, whose thoughts were summer lightning,
twice. Fireworks explode in the night—nothing
is actually moving because my jaws are clenching
tight and freedom’s just another word for OK—
there must be no religion on at least one planet
with sentient robots and metaphysical play.


Scott Keeney is the author of Sappho Does Hay(na)ku (Sephyrus 2008). His work can be found in Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, failbetter, Juked, MudlarkNew York Quarterly, Otoliths, Reconfigurations, and Shampoo among other places.

About gobbet

gobbet is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the very best experimental poetry and prose. Intellectual perversity and explorations of dark themes are positively encouraged. We are only interested in work that is progressively experimental. We want to see risks, and we want to see them pay. No previously published work. Prose should not be longer than 1000 words. There are always exceptions. Send 3-5 poems. Include a short bio. Send submissions to Work will be published every 5-10 days. We also intend to publish anthologies of selected work published in gobbet. We will do our best to reply promptly. Most submissions will receive a decision within a month.
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