Jeff Gangwer

Freshman - 504 Points (September 23,1984 / Hood River, Oregon)

Paying The Bill - Poem by Jeff Gangwer

I’m talkin’ t’ the lunch ladies at school in the Cafetorium—
Which, by the way, is a portmanteau word for “cafeteria” and “auditorium”—
And they start laughing when I tell them about “paying the bill”—
Which is just a euphemism for “launching the flesh rocket”
Or “sinking the submarine” or “parking the porpoise”—
“Stuffin’ the muffin” or “drivin’ the hotdog bus into taco town”—
A little bit o’ the ol’ “Humpty Pumpty” or some “gland-to-gland combat”—
And we’re all laughing now because the “rhythms of life” are oh-so rib-tickling
When you stop thinking about all the AIDS, rape, famine, and drought in Africa—
What you don’t see when you look out at your backyard through your sliding glass doors
Here in the federal republic of the United States—
Even if you live in Mississippi, the poorest state in the Union—
Or in Baltimore, Maryland—where the events of H.B.O.’s The Wire take place—
With “Jimmy” McNulty and “Bunk” Moreland—Lester Freamon and “Kima” Greggs—
“Herc” and Carver—“Bubbles” and Omar—“Stringer” and “Bunny”—
Fictional characters from the Old Line State—“Little America”—
Where the Chincoteague ponies travel in great herds on Assateague Island—
Only to meet the saltwater cowboys who drive them off the beach and into the water—
A strange sight to behold—the equine beauties swimming awkwardly—
Their ochre necks and heads protruding from and bobbing through the slack tide

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 13, 2015



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