Jack Boettcher

In 1978 a single daughter remained in Village X
and she was lovely. One evening while she slept
the other daughters had surprise-fled like nothing
to work on a dairy farm in southern Sweden
which was the extent of how much better it got
for them. And so a father sealed his sleeping daughter off
from radio feeds on the sudden diaspora, and a father
sealed his sleeping daughter off
from a hundred man-hands' agile imprints
against the rain-stroked windowpane.
This was the end of the decade of floods.
The hands would never, not once, touch her,
but already the hands had learned to trust the downpour
so much that drowning was no longer a concern
of their desperate handlers as the floodwaters heaved
deeper and the watermarks licked higher
up the stilts. But what if the monster is lonely,
and what if, suppose that, and so on?
Then a storm of response is launched to mute
the pitched appeal: "the floods will continue,
the men will mate solely with the water.
We do not find this unreasonable. The daughters
will pity this sad floating polis, we know
they will come back."


In 1992 Village X campaigned for renewed morale among
its citizenry, with personalized inspirational audio codes
developed from the demographic family research profiles
of 1987 and broadcast over each house by boomboxes wire-hooked
to the shipbuilding cranes that hung all over the hot valley
like the stray femurs of extinct beasts. This really didn't work,
but it did affect the staple livestock, large cow-like animals called croons
(for their baritone "grazing nocturnes") that moped around as if someone
had branded the same obscene word, with tremendous heat,
and mass, very slowly on their backs. Fuck. Rhetoric deflating posture
very slowly till their huge white bellies reddened with mud
and slicked off trails of wasted gray milk that looked also a little
blue in the sun. "Stereo blockades," pressurized loci of hits and
standards, were erected against the village's resistance
to either nausea or joy. No luck. These traps were too simple,
only the croons were attracted. Daily you'd see a lusting croon
charging into the blare-walls full-force and morphing
out the other side a steed of total sonic fury, reduced
from matter to a song so catchy it would often blank
the minds of the pre-teens for months.



These poems are from a series called The Deviants, a global narrative travelogue which always ends up on the wrong side of town.