Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quarry, W. Todd Kaneko


QUARRY for the Hungry Monkeys
W. Todd Kaneko

Poor families can’t afford to live like Brontosaurus now
that monkeys no longer hide in trees, now that apes own
every factory and workshop. Sepulchered in the stomach’s
sad hollow, their butchered remains are winnowed,
divided among luckier animals who cannot digest
the poverty of dinosaurs. Those creatures have
no memories of primates perched gluttonous
at their desks—that movie with Ronald Reagan
as the father of all chimpanzees, Marie Antoinette as
that princess who bobbles on about dessert before losing
her head. Each morning, the gibbons feast on foreclosed
homes, on faded polaroids of theropod scraps jettisoned
in the swamp. Under the cloche of night, here is a jawful
of coffee-stained teeth and hoary mugwort. Here is desire,
shaped like that simian taste for Triceratops and primate
skullduggery. Here is Charlton Heston’s America—allegory
disguised thin as an astronaut unboxed and duped
into discovering his landlady buried in the strata.
Here is George W’s America—a fortune for monkeys
greedy for meat as General Motors lays off enough
livestock to fire up indigestion in the fattest
orangutans. Perhaps spear gashes in prehistoric bone
cannot still the mouths of long-vanished sauropods,
tinny voices from the Jurassic sparking a plot against
apes looking for supper. That dithery brain recalls
eating giant ferns, dreading thatchy predators who stalk
with expensive thumbs. That leathery body remembers
living on the skids without worries about last paychecks,
but here is a family portrait, a smorgasbord for gorilla
billionaires—mother worried about her mortgage,
father about rising prices for milk, junior about extinction.

________________
About "Quarry," W. Todd Kaneko writes
I was thinking about how a writer often has to dig around in a poem
to figure out what it's doing and what it wants to do. I was thinking
about how we kinda have to dig around in the OWS movement to figure
out what precisely is happening there. I was thinking about how so
much of this decade's unemployment rates and economic woes are tied to
decisions and practices that people have been overlooking for decades.
I was thinking about using HTML to make a reader dig around in a
poem—use your mouse to select the text and unearth the rest of the
poem. I was thinking about dinosaurs.

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