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The Master of Ceremonies

Laydes and Gentilemen, welcome
_____to a world made strange
_____for us.
___________Allow this introduction:
Rudolf is my name, on earth
_______________________I was called
Ruddy Bumpkin by my wife, also
I was a train conductor, fancy that
_______________________we’re being held
here for a moment.
___________Look around—
low ceiling, unnatural light like a dentist’s office,
everyone puffy
and unequal to their day. Smile at me neighbor, I’m
your neighbor. HiHello.

An extended allegory, everyone turn to the Gentileman
or laydie to your right. This is the face for whom you are
should the ship of god sink which it won’t.
_____________________________Say Hihello.

Imagine you are turned to the person on your right,
Who says, “what the bloody fuck I’m late for work
five times this week they’ve stopped believing it’s
_______________________the train,” you can
either acquiesce without committing
_______________________to your saucy friend,
or scold him for his language or
_______________________decide that he’s a liar and
was late because he’s never learned
_______________________to tie a double Windsor right
and hence the lengthy skinny part
_______________________of his tie like the tip
of a reptile tongue
_______________________tween the teeth of his belt
and his woolen shirt lip protrudes.
_______________________Or you say yes, me too.
_________________What Dü?

Nina Budabin McQuown comes from the Bronx, where she started work on the book-length poly-vocal epic poem from which this joint is carved. You can find more of her poems in the Peacock Online Review, her food-writing at the Jew and the Carrot, and you can find her, studying eighteenth-century writing on meat, soil, and the soul, at University of Western Ontario.

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Micah Towery teaches writing and literature in South Bend, IN. His book of poetry is Whale of Desire. His writing appears in magazines like AWP Chronicle, Mantis, Slant Magazine, and his poetry and translations appear in Cimarron Review, Paterson Literary Review, Ragazine, Loaded Bicycle, and Prime Number Magazine. In the past, he's worked as a Coca-Cola delivery driver, bus driver, baker, and church organist. He sometimes tweets @micahtowery.

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  • 215 jhelum October 27, 2012, 5:12 am
  • cheryl May 8, 2013, 8:14 am

    is there a way to find more of Nina Budabin McQuown’s poetry?

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