024.1: Paul Legault:: Wet Paint & Como Mantequilla para los Catolicos & Missing You 024

In these three new poems, Paul Legault chaperones a Monster's Ball of oddity and hilarity, celebrity icons and sex-drive, existential irony and anti-beauty. Hell, we even have a Robot Chef, West Virginia, Dolly Parton, and Elizabeth Taylor to boot. Each piece works in the funkiest of patchworks, as in "Como Mantequilla para los Catolicos", which begins with an invocation of the imagination or the muse, which I believe for Legault is probably the same entity.

"Enough./And enough again." In fact, each of these three poems begins this way, evoking a dramaturgy of the weird, the pastiche, and the beautiful:

ATTENTION: Be on the look-out for a glass cabinet with a tallish man inside of it.
REWARD: White will not exist.
THE IMMORAL CITY: I am only Paris sometimes.
PARIS: Voudrais aller a la plage.

This cast of actors is not your father's ensemble. Instead, Legault draws out a witty and odd little parody on parody in his colorful little chamber of echoes, in which person, icon, place, act, and idea have their variation on the poem's ever-changing theme. It sounds complicated, but rest assured, the poems are damned funny while evoking a rather nerve crushing anxiety about the present and the future. In this example (Spoiler Alert), the sexual tension gets, well, a microphone, as ORAL SEX and SEX have their say in this absurdist's matter, only to feel the Freudian pang of incest taboo shutting down the party for sexual imagination and liberation for good:

ORAL SEX: I will be your invisible sister.
SEX: Sister, it’s your wedding day.
MOM: This poem is inappropriate.
I’m sorry, mom.
I don’t really know.

Paul once said to me when I asked him about what poets he admired and those he did not that he abhorred poetry in which, "The mouse gets the cheese to easily." Indeed, his poems tack an M.C. Escher of a maze on his little mousies (us). But if we can borrow a glimpse into this young man's sublime, it comes in a gravy few lines such as this:

The sound of memory is sevenths multiplying
like juice projected onto a gong
or a hot day the sun went down on. Cody Todd

Wet Paint


Before we knew it, everyone had
at least kissed a cousin.

THE BEACH: Simplicity is for strangers.
BIRTH: I like to watch the beach give me
to shells and the living citizens.
CANDACE: I like to collect leaves.
CANDACE’S BONES: Shake, shake, shake.

Boston is asleep in its sepulcher.
Robert and Robert died like two angry virgins

hoisted off into the same white bonnet.
STEVIE: I put my sugar in the pail.

ROBOT CHEF: I will light the blue torch.
DOLLY PARTON: They will have to fill a canyon with rhinestones

to ever really get rid of me.
I’ll lay my white egg in the flood’s white center.

*

Como Mantequilla para los Catolicos


Enough.
And enough again.

ATTENTION: Be on the look-out for a glass cabinet with a tallish man inside of it.
REWARD: White will not exist.
THE IMMORAL CITY: I am only Paris sometimes.
PARIS: Voudrais aller a la plage.

The sound of memory is sevenths multiplying
like juice projected onto a gong

or a hot day the sun went down on.
ORAL SEX: I will be your invisible sister.

SEX: Sister, it’s your wedding day.
MOM: This poem is inappropriate.

I’m sorry, mom.
I don’t really know.

*

Missing You


From the rafters, they lowered an angel with the head of a dog and no legs or arms that
flapped around with its wings for a bit until it got tired, at which point it just laid there,
barking angrily and then whimpering, until it fell asleep sometime in the night and dreamt
of mustangs and of rivers and of death.

CHRISTINE: Oh. Hi there.
WAYNE: He reminds me of West Virginia.
WEST VIRGINIA: He reminds me of you, Wayne.
THE WINGS: I wish wings had thumbs.

Surprisingly enough, someone invented badminton
and cheese, and England, and science fiction.

They should have a parade.
ELIZABETH TAYLOR: Men should wear pearls more often.

COYOTES: I’m afraid of the snow.
THE SNOW: I get very nervous.

It could just be all the shit we were doing.
Or it could be anywhere.