APHORISTIC CONVERSATION STARTERS FOR A DINNER DATE WITH A SLINKY
—after Russel Swensen
1. If the fork marries the spoon, a knife is still a knife.
2. If reality truly wanted to be realistic, it would become a cartoon.
3. Don’t fill up on the bread. We don’t know what’s coming, or how much.
4. I knew a woman, once, who couldn’t stand to waste food. When her sons wouldn’t clean their plates (here where the plates are always overfilled), she always ate what they left.
5. She had witnessed many atrocities.
6. Imagine pastries, the terror of raspberry filling squirting out the other end.
7. I tire of the circumstances and want a motorcycle with trim handlebars and a metaphysical helmet.
8. This is what the philosophers refer to as a thought experiment.
9. A man and a survivor of genocide walk into a bar.
10. That’s the thing about lettuce. While the dinosaurs didn’t live, salad pretty much did.
11. But enough about me.
12. My ex-girlfriend is a serious cummerbund.
13. Fact: a coat hanger makes a better everything-else than a coat hanger.
14. No one discusses the sugar glider in games of Duck, Duck, Goose, what do you think of that?
16. So the bartender says, only one of you is a man?
17. Considers the pragmatics of language.
18. Pours the survivor a drink.
19. In Cambodia there was a tree against which infants were held by their ankles and bashed against the trunk of a tree.
20. Next to the tree was a hole.
21. For obvious reasons.
22. The tree is still (and I went) there. Tiny shards of bone at its feet.
23. You don’t talk much, do you?
25. You know what I hate? Loofahs.
26. I’m an incandescent light bulb! I do three things.
27. 1) Clap on; 2) Clap off; 3)
28. “Destroy yourself if you don’t know!”
29. You play your cards right, you’ll get more out of this than linguini.
30. We’ll walk downstairs.
WITH REGARD TO THE BIRD-PRINT ON THE SLIDING GLASS DOOR
It would have been the head first, must have been, the whole
exacting white imprint extending out from that first touch of beak
to glass, the touchstone of surprise, which, quickly down-folded
from airy empire, hurries from point of beak to socket, or eye more likely,
though that could fling no oily dust, having carried
none of that there. So in the second instant, two pools
of clean glass where each eye would have struck, another
in the first for the beak streaking down, and in the third
a crown of feathers—but all at once, an over-exposed glimpse
of cranial impact. So then the body of course—now disappeared--
appearing much larger than it would have appeared
in flight, ballooning out in the sudden collapse from third
to second dimension. And then the wings, their leading edge
distended from the body, as if the shoulders never arrived, as if
the wings to the body were never attached. I latch
onto each shaft and barb and hook of the feathers
apparent, not blurred but clearly exacted, extending from each wing
to limited points, as in the strictures of a painter painting
a rectangular blank canvas. It would have fallen to the ground.
It might have passed out. It would have taken itself
considerably away to fly or die out in the unfathomable
recollection of having been airborne for so long.
Brian Nicolet also has an MFA and stuff. His chapbook Ode to a Means to an End was a semi-finalist in a contest a year or so ago, but no one ever told him. It’s okay; he didn’t win anyway. His poems and reviews have appeared in Subtropics, Gulf Coast, C4, New South, La Fovea, Colorado Review, and Fringe. He works at the University of Texas at Austin, nevertheless remaining a member of the petite bourgeoisie.