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Fitting Parts by Kenneth Pobo 


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All poems © Kenneth Pobo 2010

Cover art by JC Eckles

Published by Philistine Press






This book contains adult content. 







I would like to thank the editors of the following magazines for publishing work from this collection:

“First”  King Log

“Clap”  Origami Condom

“Child Molester”  UVU

“Come Unto Me”  Juice

“Leather Jesus”  Church-Wellesley Review

“I Don’t Like Thinking”  Melting Trees Review

“Going Upstairs”  Spire Press

“Unprinted Obituary”  Orbis

“Break It Break It Break It”  Maverick Press

“Lock Me Away”  Fluent Ascension

“Suit-Burning”  Coffee House

“They Laugh”  Foliate Oak

“He Says His Best Days”  Fluent Ascension

“Hustler”  Slipstream

“Warren The Poet”  The Poetry Warrior

“Bad Parachute”  Barbaric Yawp

“Response to “Changes IV””  Muse’s Literary Guild

“Fitting Parts”  Lucid Moon

“Fizzling Out”  Bottom of the World

“Curiouser and Curiouser”  Wicked Alice

“Communication Breakdown”  Inscribed

“That Cock Again”  Brouhaha

“Matched Set”  VS.

“Many Told Me Don’t”  The Battered Suitcase

“Summer of Danke”  Blood Pudding Press

“Portrait Of”  Origami Condom

“Rumor”  Bay Windows

 

  


Contents

First                                                                           

Clap                                                                           

Child Molester                                                          

Come Unto Me                                                         

Leather Jesus                                                           

I Don’t Like Thinking                                    

Going Upstairs                                                        

Unprinted Obituary                                                  

Break It Break It Break It                                         

Lock Me Away                                                          

Suit-Burning                                                              

They Laugh                                                               

He Says His Best Days                                           

Hustler                                                                       

Warren The Poet                                                      

Bad Parachute                                                         

Response to “Changes IV”                                     

Fitting Parts                                                              

Fizzling Out                                                               

Curiouser and Curiouser                                         

Communication Breakdown                                   

That Cock Again                                                      

Matched Set                                                             

Many Told Me                                                           

Summer of Danke                                                    

Portrait Of                                                                 

Rumor                                                            

 


First

First define me 
as a lifestyle choice--

the rest comes easily

and quickly.

 

Those who are

open

get shut

up, shut down

for the good

of the family,

put under

surveillance

or put under

ground.  Handing out

 

Bibles

at the stonings,

they read passages,

sing.  We're

examples,

things: easy

                                               

to kill

a thing,

easier still

to forget

you did it.                                             

 




Clap

A poet reads about his wife 
and he having sex.  Applause.  

A singing former chiropractor strums.

“Oh, I’ve always thought highly of Jesus/

He really changed the world.”  And

“Oh, my sweet grandmother/
we’re so proud of you.”  Applause.


Was his potato-peeling gran also 
a racist?  Gay-hating?  

Cookies.  A white-haired mummy reads 
about when he’s in a store and sees 
gay sailors, he has to run, run, run 
out of there, oh my, 

I bite the brownie to keep

from screaming.  Loud applause.                                                  

 

 

 

 

Child Molester

 

Many parents

strap down

their kid’s brain,

make the kid do

whatever they say,

 

so the kid grows up

to be like them,

flat,

hateful--

anxious

 

to make children

they too will molest.

 

 

 

Come Unto Me  

 
At five, I accepted sad-eyed, 
Stockholmy Christ pictured 
in my Sunday school room
as my savior.  

Jesus—a Jew?
Who knew?  

When he killed a fig tree
in a fit of pique, no teacher said, 
“Hey, lighten up dude.”  

They believed his miracles—
Jesus, walking on the Baltic Sea, 
causing a sensation 
all the way to Sweden.  
Loving him, 
like getting a good business deal.  

Most of the congregation 
bought new cars, new gadgets-- 

their kids, we hung out in malls. 

  

 

 

 

                                                Leather Jesus

 

                                                In a Milwaukee gay bar,

                                                 a man asks me to dance,

                                                  pulls me close,

                                                 kisses me for the first

                                                time, not knowing he's

                                                 first.  Jesus, in black

                                                  leather, stark

                                                 between strobes.

                                                The corner church

                                                 expects him to give

                                                  a lecture, but he

                                                 stays to see this

                                                kiss.  So many saviors

                                                 present tonight! 

                                                  Heaven, closets

                                                 with doors blown

                                                open, light pouring out,

                                                 warm and wrapping us

                                                  the way skin wraps bones.

 

  

 

 

I Don’t Like Thinking

 

I don't like thinking

I'm better than a bee,

a muskrat, an antelope,

or even a stony cliff.  At least

they don't worry about cars, 
banks and bad haircuts.  I’d 
like to bound about like a bee, 
find new bud addresses.  Oh,

                                                
to swim like a muskrat,

sleek between lily pads.

As for antelopes, how

wonderful to truly be

                                                
home on the range.  Stony

cliffs grab the best

skyscapes.  So why get

proud because I'm part of 

a group that stabs lawns 
with pink flamingos, that makes 
countries
that makes war?

 

 

 

 
Going Upstairs

 
Such polite boys--when we 
want sex, 
one says, “Would you 
like to go upstairs?”  We sound 

like when I was a busboy 
and I’d offer to pour fresh water 
or change the ashtray.  Hey,

we could just do it on the couch--
nothing up there would mind.  
It’s hard 
to be too polite fucking 

your ass.  Or is it?  When
we cum, our shrieks 
and groans, the bed wet, 

messed up, the world 
downstairs gone.

 

 

 

Unprinted Obituary

 

As Steve grew he learned how to hide

so well that by the time he was

sixteen, nobody could find him.

He knew he was what he denied

but found ways to fake it because

truth created torture.  In gym,

he laughed at jokes they told about

kids like him.  Hatred didn't doubt,

 

relishing a moving target.

Steve turned himself into a lie

to satisfy them, hoped to die,

hoping his death could stop the threat

of violence.  He hid so well,

but felt that everyone could tell.

 

 

 

Break It Break It Break It

 

Melanie's neat, singing

"Silence Is King Around Here."

It sure is, unless you're speaking up

for churches

 

and family values (nobody

knows what they are, but

the term costs me my rights).

 

Sharpshooter Congressmen 
have me in their sights.  I'd 
like to be silent, 
to shut up, so I could

raise hollyhocks and shoot

Repub heroin.  Then

 

would I be moral enough?  Would

I have values?  Nope.  Faggots

by definition have no value.

Admit us to cemeteries,

not barbeques, unless

of course, we're the main course.

 

Silence

is king, but many queens

are speaking out.

 

 

 

Lock Me Away

 

Maybe I’d rather be 
locked away than breathe 
a politician’s toxic fumes 
or drink a drug company’s

                                                
arsenic rivers, or eat 
media rat poison—oh,

to be locked away

in a room with two cats,


African violets,

a Howard Tate CD,

and a key to unlock

the door to let Stan in


so we can make

love while leaders

make mixed drinks

of piss and iodine.

 

 

 

Suit-Burning 

Leaders look sad and warped 
in power ties and cuff links.  
Each word a lie.  I wonder 
about their spouses 
and lovers.  Suit off,

does the lie stay in place?  
Does it lodge in the crotch?  

Our minister thundered 
in a black suit, had his 
crossword-puzzle God 
figured out and written with ink.  
We nodded, said “Amen!”  So, 

let’s burn suits.  If 
the suited dead can’t take it, 
strip them!  
Make them walk naked--

even for a minute,  
a cold truthful wind 
snapping their behinds. 

 

 

 

They Laugh 

In the locker room 
Jack bellows--for him, 
a game, especially football, 
is a song to a guitar.  He

memorizes plays, 
quotes coaches, used to 
be in the NFL, received 
passes and blow jobs, 
now weighs over 

400 pounds.  Seeing
him on the scale, 
one man yells 
“Put some clothes on!”  

They laugh.  Death 
clings to many folds 
of flesh. Jack jokes

in his own end zone,   
benches empty. 

 

 

 

 

He Says his Best Days Were in New Orleans

 

Not sexually

compatible, Harry

and Jim last

a month.  Jim’s

into rimming.  Harry’s

into long con

versations about

the meaning

of relation

ships.

 

Jim says his best days

were in New Orleans.

Harry doesn’t ask why,

 

goes in

to take a shower

and when Harry

comes out,

Jim’s gone.

     

 

 

 

Hustler

 
For five bucks I 
show them

a commercial

between   my legs

I'm seventeen   that

 

Brings   MONEY   
to buy my girlfriends   
things   or coke   maybe   
hey!  this beats

bagging groceries   the way

these guys   look

at me's   a REAL

trip   I kinda

like it   sometimes

 

get   a tip   even

if they   just jack

off when   I pull

down   my jeans

then   drop me back

on clinch   street

 

 

 

Warren the Poet

 

complains about people

not getting him: the poem

I wrote about the sleeping cat

got rejected, the one I did

about a boy getting his eyes

jabbed out, his legs found washed

up on a Lake Michigan shore,

got snapped up, now

what do you make of that?

 

Dunno.  Maybe

you write poorly about cats

and well about violence

or violence is now what

a red rose used to be.

 
Warren says he may quit writing,

 

says he wants to be

a leaf.

 

Poor guy, he’s caught.

New poems work on him

and won’t let him go.

 
 

 

 

Bad Parachute

 

when I was falling

falling & ground

was fast
rising to meet me

I learned I had been 
up

 

in the air all

my life & for
the first 
time I could  
plummet


so I let go

& enjoyed this

downward delight

 

   

 

 

Response to “Changes IV” by Cat Stevens But Sung by

The New Seekers on Their 1972 Circles Album

 

And we all know it’s better

that yesterday’s past?  Ha!

Yesterday hides

 

a pistol in his fatigues,

looks for only the choicest chests

to hit.  You say let’s all

start living

for the one’s that’s going to last.

What’s going to last?

 

Just tonight while walking

from my car to my door,

some kids yelled,

FUCKIN’ FAGGOT!

Hate,

 

a mosquito spray fog,

we’re all coughing

asthmatics,

the ambulance always late.

 

The army

(yes, they defend me, right?)

fired seven translators for being

                                                            gay.

Oh.

And we all know it’s better

that yesterday has passed--

 

now let’s all start living

ooops--killers on skateboards,

killers in pulpits,

dead

 

bodies,

too many to bury,

flesh slipping off bones

onto streets.

 

 

 

Fitting Parts

 

  The minister says that

 God didn’t intend

homosexuals because

 our parts don’t fit.  His

  God, Henry Ford,

   people are cars

  off the line.  You can get

 matching parts easily.  But

some don’t drive, 

 and some think

  cars exhaust.  Me?

   I’m happy with your parts,

  boyfriend, like them

 just as they are.  You’re 

a good fit!  And if

 Henry doesn’t like it,

  let him go back

   to his assembly line,

  let him manufacture steel

 mice to dart down 
America's highway maze.

 

 

 

 Fizzling Out

 

The television pukes.  No one

cleans it up.  Vomit

brims up to the windows,

hides the clematis.  We go 
to bed.  The house

stinks.  In the morning,

fresh coffee.

 

It’s still there,

the roomful of upchuck.

 

Bye.  Have a good day.

                                               

 

 

  

Curiouser and Curiouser

 

August, humid and smelling of funnel cakes

and sausages, we stroll in the Clearfield

County Fair.  We’ve just seen Andy Kim,

Lou Christie, Maxine Nightingale,

                                               

and Martha and the Vandellas perform,

4 musical orgasms.  Your

94-year-old grandmother’s hand-sewn

pillow won a blue ribbon.  We visit

                                               

the poultry.  So many chickens! 

I won’t say “They’re all alike” ever again. 

Some look haughty, red-crested, 

others thin, models after

                                               

a long photo shoot.  Horses sleep.

The sheep sound techy, like why don’t

these goomers just let us sleep.  Among

pigs we see a young man wearing a t-shirt:

                                               

I HAVE THE DICK SO I MAKE THE RULES.

His laughter and empty eyes.  We get snow cones,

don’t speak of him till we’re back

in our motel room, two men

                                               

who love each other. We wonder

if he has a girlfriend—maybe

she’d think he’s funny.  Until

he enforces.

 

 


 

Communication Breakdown

 

A man with too-big glasses and a tie close to his neck asks:

 

Name.

 

Aaron Stern.

 

Parents.

 

Sappho and Walt Whitman.

 

Excuse me?

 

They’re two gay poets.

 

No, you don’t understand, your real parents.

 

Sappho and Walt Whitman.

 

He snarls.  That neck vein the tie almost hides bulges.

You won’t get any money if you don’t tell us.

 

But I told you.  Without Sappho and Whitman,

I’d be dead.  My life began when they gave me life.

 

Next!  he says.

 

Please, I’ll starve.  I’m broke.  I came here for help.

 

Next!  he says, dismissing me,

shaking his head, eyes like brown coffins suddenly open.

 

 


That Cock Again 

the one I’m supposed to 
put my lips around, 
the one that’s supposed to 
drill my ass.  No matter 

where I go, it’s there, 
waiting, like the kid who 
stole my milk money 
in third grade.  When I sleep, 

I dream it’s coming 
at me, making demands, 
swinging from a heaven-hung 
chandelier.  Money-making, 
money-spending, money-saving 
cock, you never soften, are

like a burning house.  
You want me to play 
firefighter, to put you out, 

but you put out only 
to put out some more.  I fall 
on my knees.  No 
is no option. 

 

 

 

Matched Set

 
Nobody wants me to get married.  

Obama says 
he likes me but God adores
his marriage.  
Bush says he doesn’t like me, 
well he loves me but not my sin, 
and God adores his marriage.  

Straight men 
deciding what’s best for me.  

I don’t want to marry anyway.  

Married people often look nervous.  

A signed paper in front of 
a judge, another straight man
or woman, 
how will that make Stan’s kisses sweeter, 
his arms hold me tighter?   

Why make straights happy?  
Maybe if Ru Paul ran for office.  
Or Ellen DeGeneres. 

Straight.  President.  A matched set.  

 

 

 

 

Many Told Me Don’t

 

whistle in a graveyard.

Bad luck?  Hardly.

I whistle and out from

 

the ground come the dead.

To the nasty ones I say be gone

and they go.  Edna

gives me her plum cake recipe.

Ralph tells me of playing

whiffle ball.  Pretty soon

we’re all whistling,

 

the graveyard

the happiest

place in town.

 

 

 

 

Summer of Danke 

Schoen, me, you, and Wayne Newton 
live in Vegas, you said: Ohhh,
isn’t he hot?  I said no, let’s go

get ice cream.  You slept with Wayne
while I mulled fuzzberry or
chocflute.  I’ve slept with three Waynes
come to think of it—or were they all
Dennis?  Everyone’s a Dennis 

eventually.  Danke schoen, darling 
danke schoen, you think I didn’t 
hear you crooning to the bathroom 
mirror?  Even the maid told you please
pipe down.  You were in love, 

you said, with me, adding a great
Bette Davis gesture by the door,
but you must try smoking.  I tried
to be more contemporary, Johnny Depp,
sensitive and deep-eyed, but you

said I never listen.  I’m a stinky
actor, that's all, and besides you had

Wayne all over you.  Those warped
45s from his stint on Capitol, what
a bed they made!  Danke schoen,

separate planes and no more lurching
rain.  From now on it’s burning 
formica and razor cupcakes.

 

 

 

 

Portrait of

 
In the library I hear a junior
high history teacher badger his
sister-in-law: You have to read
Neil Boortz’s new book, have to,
I'm not going to give up on this.  His 

clothes drab as a fern wilting 
by the window.  I picture some girl
in his class on an April afternoon,
longing for a Pepsi and potato chips
but listening to him say that the Iraq War
will prevent them from coming
to our shores.  She raises her hand,

asks how he knows.  Then that smolder
that he gives his sister-in-law
when she says she’d rather read
a mystery, her orange stretchpants
slipping behind the globe.

 

 

 

Rumor

 
My bear of a man floats
on an innertube--waves
slip over me 

as my bear drifts 
half asleep.  Rumor has it 
that a world rages 
on shore.  Water,

if it knows this 
to be true, 
keeps quiet. 

 



© Kenneth Pobo 2010 

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