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Poetry #450
(published September 3, 2009)
Cymbalta Clown
by Dennis Mahagin
In June
when the cottonwoods
shed their milky confetti,
I think

of tornadoes,

and the magician's

who was down
on my root when
Mount St. Helens

making midnight out
of 2 in the afternoon. . .

When cottonwoods
drop their tufted drawers
as spores, everything
sticks to everything
else, like feathers
on greasepaint, I think
of the inevitable pink
itchy coo sty — blooming
in the eyelash
of a Tenderloin junkie
on the nod, dirty
hail stones
in July, cordite, God,
ball gags and lightning.
I think of getting
out of Ringling


Those awful cottonwoods
plumb the depths, they
make soporific
television snow
out of everything
that's real. . . I think
of a pristine beach,
salt water
taffy in
pulled just
out of


make a clown feel
so rotten, downy
quilts cover every
ulterior, effluvial

trees shit
their dandruff,
and whisper
to us clowns,
they say:

"It's tough all
over. . . It's tough."

We walk around
fucking clueless
as brides in June,

we never saw it

Dennis Mahagin explains: "I wrote this piece after seeing an ad for Cymbalta on television, and feeling very bad that I was only a human being, and not a free bird, or stately tree.

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