Evan Myquest

Sunday, November 17, 2013

from the high desk

the clerk

high wooden pigeon hole desk
black suited Uriah hunching over his task
a radio talking politics at his elbow
Uriah sorting words
pulling back on the chaos lever
organizing thoughts
collecting runaways from the traps
herding tangents back to the linear
wondering if the clock would ever move
starting the morning with slow thinking
until coffee steaming
picking up his pace
through the hours
until lunchtime extravagance
with chicago hotdogs with the works and fries
a lethargic couple hours later
Uriah finding the pace again
and words flowing again to sort bins
of his own manic devise
he could not keep up with the clock
before he realized--
it was quitting time
time to walk away
saying goodnight with a survey glance around
turning off the lights
facing the traffic
needing his ever present umbrella

with Uriah gone

the words deconstructed
into chaotic random states
a beauty of another kind
as the brake on the chaos lever smoked

at the nine o’clock tick
a key in the lock
hanging up his manteau noir
shaking his head
Uriah takes to his high seat
turns on his radio

first impressions
met happy hiram on the couch
and could tell by his ears
he was intelligent
met this babushka
at the ticket line
and could tell by her fingernails
she liked me

met the curator
of the marquez exhibit
and could tell by his eyeglass frames
there was no way on earth
we could be friends

 met don giusepp’
behind the sushi palace
and could tell by his brows
god occasionally made duplicates

met sister sagittarius
on the ship to belize
and could tell by her molars
her faith was not genuine

met old ray again
during my conversation with the squirrels
and could tell by the part in his hair
we have a checker game in our future

met filthy penny once
and only once
and could tell by her ankles
she knew the lives of all the saints

met the gentleman with the lizard
poking from his mouth
and could tell by his retinal patterns
he fished saltwater exclusively

met the third chair french horn player
and could tell by her blank stare
she canned pickles

met the thurber reader

under the shadetree
and could tell by her knuckles
she was unable to remember the alamo

best we all are given the same shoes
or there would be no deep secrets here

Monday, October 14, 2013

cute is in the eye

How Cute: Old Man Poem #2

How cute--

They counter attacked and took back Poland without me
They liberated countries and people tyrannized for centuries (I looked on)
They got out the vote in places where whole tribes were massacred (I turned the news off because of the scenes)
How cute--
They cured invisible diseases thought unsolvable (and before I caught most of them)
They improved the body itself and doubled life spans; people without legs ran races (which was interesting given the new x-rays of my hips)
They achieved myriad marathon and triathlon records (which made me tired watching)
How cute--
They  uncovered the history of ancient civilizations under the ones they considered the earliest ever (I think I have relatives' - only once removed - grocery lists on those rock lintels)
They resurrected dead languages and read a people's last words (such language indeed)
They solved the murders of pharaohs (now that's some CSI work)

How cute--
They built huge dams on raging rivers (nice lakes, sorry fauna)
They harnessed the wind, the sun, and the atom (helped my allergies, thank you)
They diverted rivers and stopped Niagara (I got pills for almost the same thing)

How cute--
They found star systems in galaxies that didn't exist yesterday (laser got rid of my bottle bottom glasses)
They put science platforms and scientists in space (but parking in the city--arm & leg)
They rovered the moon and Mars and beyond (they're doing to the Martians what I do to terrorize the dog with my little remote car)

And then they all died and looked down upon what they'd done.
How cute, indeed.
From up there it looked like progress.
From where this old man sits, sheer poetry.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

here's to the 1% of yore

here's to the 1% of yore


sad sad king midas
said to his son titus
so sad am i and teary
regarding your sister dearie
who knew a provident wish could so up and bite us
pops if i may be so bold
yes tis sad what i am told
but see you this torch ablaze
now stand back from the smoke and haze
we will have comfort again in coins of gold
son son son my dependable one
what have you unmendably done
to the young dear one i used to cuddle
youve made of your sister a bubbling puddle
true enough tho: tis now a spendable one

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chasing Alain

Chasing l'Esprit d'Alain

  I'd done the trip only on a business directive.
  I said I'd never go back, something about too much perspective...
But the plane landing past the city lights again--
CDG--brought lancing into me, the spirit of mon cher Alain
In another time:
He said, Je m'apelle, Alain.
I said I didn't know when.
I'm late for my math final
And it will be a mother of a blunt edged spinal.
I'd said it a little stronger, more stupidly flip than hip-
I said, Frere, je m'apelle, Michele.
He said, Ma belle, oh hell,
You're standing in line
With an empty glass of wine.
I had nothing at all in my hands, I remember...
From a bota bag
This Alain grabbed by the tag
He'd poured us both a tasse
That I still called a glass
These are names that go together well,
Alain and Michele.
He showed me it's really not that rude
To light a cigarette on the range in the nude .
Quite hip suddenly, must have been the expensive pot.
He filled and refilled infinite glasses.
I never got to my classes,
He loved my cute little American ass.
We only went up for singing at mass.
Up wasn't exactly the word for as high as we were.
He was wealthy beyond wealth,
But it was his older friend Fredo possessed the true lovers stealth.
Alain and I played the Beatles records day after day,
But the anarchist Fredo, with a look, stole me'eart away

The Beatles came to the Olympia, that next year, January '64,
Day after cold day, we screamed until we could scream no more.
In a drugged pact we vowed to follow them on to Germany,
But instead, we and screaming thousands more only watched them depart Orly

Au cathedrale, on my knees,
I prayed for better ideas.
The host,
It tasted like cardboard toast.
I looked up and saw Alain,

Coming my way again.
The speed of my genuflection
Was only matched by Christ's resurrection.
I'd done my Credo,
Sung it and caught that wandering eye of Fredo.
And we both ducked Alain,
Laughing so hard since we didn't know when.

We were so giggling high at the time.

I'd hoped he wouldn't take it as rejection,
But our constant change in direction
Wasn't meant as any reflection
On his, truly, aristocratic complexion.
I'm telling you, it was just a game to us, and...
If by chance,
You're ever in France,
Chasing 'cross the Seine
L'esprit d'Alain
If it's all the same,
Turn back to Notre Dame.
Then you won't regret
That which I can't forget.
But before that...
Alain et moi, in church,
Finding at the end of our perfect search
That the Holy Ghost
Was the perfect subject of our confessional toast.
But after a year, Alain and I,
Never ever again were eye to eye.
It was the senior Fredo broke the holy rule,
He seduced the sorrowful Alain in a corner vestibule.
Because in Paris,
I'd run off with the businessman Harris.
Fredo understood,
I couldn't watch, and wasn't made of collector's wood.
The Virgin carried while the Father tarried,
And the Son never came out to see
My bon ami, Alain, being both French and short,
Ending it all as a most sorry sort.
He ran up a ridge
Bounded off a bridge,
Leading a profane screaming charge
At a glass-topped tourist barge.

That then was mostly frequented par les Americains.
Tant pis, mon ami. Only Alain,
Knows what could have been,
Main dans main sur Madeleine,
Au Louvre, petit Alain, je te couvre, avec regrette, pleine.
And I thought then-
Un jour, je crois que je me trouverai
Dansant sur le meme quai
Comme mon petit copain.
Une triste legende, certaine.
Keeps coming back to this, doesn't it?

In this time:

A plane, landing through clouds to sudden rain.

The first tears in tens of years.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Car Shopping With Clemenza

car shopping with clemenza
(this appeared in "lessons from the godfather" on ISSUU.Com where it is poem  #12)
hey mikey
you see what they call trunk room now
i don't think we coulda fit sal in there
in one piece anyway
best thing these days
they got rid of that center post in the windshield
good for the drive-in movies you know
yep, window repair might be got probably harder an' more expensive
but c'mon         how many times they shoot out one side an'
not the other
yeah yeah  moe green's glasses
oh wait a minute mikey
no running boards
we might need two maybe three cars instead a one now
an' we gotta update the fake taxi 'n' cop car, too
o this is gonna be expensive
jesus mary look at all the colors now
like we need different colors
hey, you see this hat
whaddaya mean you're out of black in that model
psst mikey    we need to shop somewheres else
this neighborhood is going to hell
peter, petto, mi amico,   perhaps I can reason with this gentleman

see         perhaps one day you will need a favor
perhaps there will be a problem with your mechanics
perhaps there will be a strange flu going around the sales force
a capit?
mikey      take it easy      we don't need no consigliere to negotiate this
suppose we appeal to this nice man's better nature
look we want to make a deal
and then the salesman said
well then
make me an offer


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Two for the People Shop

Little One in the Hospital, or Did You Say Eager?

hey little one, they're going to fix you right up
well not right up right this minute
you might have to stay a night or two or more
since that's when *they* work--
(don't worry because you are never alone)
all those happy slaptail beavers in their yellow hardhats
looking over midnight construction plans
as they string flood lights and fences
they unload from trucks beeping their    watch out    back up beeps
there's no limit to the kinds of honking and beeping
that happens as you sleep and you don't even hear one tiny beep

with hand waves from red bandana worker beavers
to white bandana trucker beavers leaning out their driver windows
they move their trucks around to dump all that scaffolding
put it around you and yes it might take a while to get all that going
as the boss beaver in his orangey hardhat studies the plans
he makes hurried chich chich chich sounds into his walkie talkie
which means wait stop stop stop
then it is chich chich chich all okay to go go go    move here move there
and yell louder   okay that's good     that's just right
but we need more light! and lights go on everywhere
like a whirling bunch of musical carnival rides
dot dot dotta de dot dot dee
a whole construction carnival with lots of slapping tails and high fives

but when the busy beavers start adding towering new floors
and hanging your glamorous new doors
it won't be long until the whistle blows breaktime!
you can bet they have accomplished plenty
even though it seems to you like oh my it's taking forever--
why then they turn the page on the plans and
before you know it there are more trucks and
the lights are on more new floors high in the air
all for you
all for the little one who thinks they're stuck and
they're the only one in the room
when there are hundreds of busy beavers
running lighted elevators up and down and
moving crane booms with a hundred lights on each of them into place

aren't you the lucky one?
that boss beaver knows his stuff
you're going to get up and fly away in no time now
you will get to make noise and play with toys
he promises that!
but whatever you do--don't say a word
if your doctor turns around to walk away and his tail peeks
out of his pants
and you can hear him
go chich chich chich down the hall!

OH NO! Stuck in the Hospital

Such bad luck
that you are hospital stuck
they put you in a room not so small
cold but pleasantly pastel with a bed so tall

thank heaven there's a tv with news
for times you can't rest, snore & snooze
funny you notice a bit
you have more wires coming from you than it

strange sounds last the night
visits from the needle nurse way past midnight
they say sleep will cure
but they never let you, that's for sure

they will fix you up if it kills you
& all of them too
so cooperate
as they operate

try not to eat all the green jello squares
even if no one cares
there's a wheelie chair to help you leave
long as there's nothing up that doctor's sleeve

that's when they give you the shocking bill
pages long & it causes you to go back for longer still!
and it makes them snickering bent over delirious
as you shout, you can't be serious!

your eyes bulge & there's the chest pain attack
& to the pleasantly pastel room they wheel you back

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I Don't Know Anyone Named Cosmo


Here's to you Cosmo
We do not know each other but
I have seen you or someone like you act the asshole a thousand times
As have I
Here's to you Cosmo
Life of the party
With your HELLO MY NAME IS COSMO tag pasted on your golf shirt
Are you sure you want people to know who you are
I would take that thing off Cosmo
You are a pretty funny guy Cosmo
But you push it
Your friends are starting to look around for better entertainment options

Here's to you Cosmo
Here's to your finding more appreciative friends in the golf shirt crowd
Somehow I am not holding out much hope though
You tend to part the seas if you know what I mean
Here's to you Cosmo
Wandering around alone with that drink in your hand
Eyes dialing in on prospects
Don't know if you should attempt chatting the women Cosmo
They seem taller around you
Here's to you Cosmo
Yes you can say that again




I can sleep with the best of them
Just not tonight
Too many monsters on the tv news
If I knew what to do about them
I might be asleep right now
Those monsters come and go far too often
For coincidence
One leaves
One comes
News at six then again at ten
Then again in the morning
Always a monster
Day after day always a monster
How to get rid of them
Do something about them that the news
Would not portray as monstrous in itself
It keeps me up wondering what the next monster will do to get on the news
I do not know how long tonight I will be bothered about it
Perhaps I will talk about it with a friend tomorrow
There's this guy

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Puppeteer poem

Debut: puppeteer poem. See issuu.com for PDF of the original series.

Driving Thoughts

those callous Germans he had left behind
bothered Hatton as he started the drive toward Budapest
he put weight to the gas pedal to leave them farther behind
but when it came to people
when it came to tribes regardless of borders
the fat Slavics had his heart
the way they partied
for weddings for funerals for births and baptisms
the way they softened when they drank
always too much too fast
as if to rid themselves of yesterdays
rid themselves of mercy and compromise
making up for the brief festive time in their lives' grind
one could say Hatton had as much in common with them
he was not
but he recognized
hard people tough people
it was good for a swaying alcoholic puppeteer
to stay out of their way
like those superior arrogant country Germans
despite their welcoming backslaps and pitchers of beer
he knew he was too much the profile of the vulnerable litteratur
having to watch every word he said among them
so they would not catch his contempt
but those Slavs the ones he held to his breast
after so many toasts to better tomorrows and prettier women
he also watched them be prone to crying in their hard liquor
their nightmares locked away but freed by drunkeness
only to be monsters all over again
in an instant tough again to the point of genocide
pretty village
pretty flames they'd said
he braked lightly into a curve
hoped the trailer lights were hooked up
traffic was getting thicker
closer to the capital city with its eight bridges
over the Danube
drunken to the point of oblivion
those tough ones--their logic reduced to:
mercy--maybe tomorrow
maybe not
today is for dancing and being entertained
which in the end was all that Hatton and his puppets were useful for
all along the bad high roads of the east
passing the slow drivers of old cars with NL on their bumpers
people watching at petrol stations
the people of the heavy hammers for small nails
of the east
Hatton wondered how they ever fixed a watch
all delicate mainsprings and tiny sprockets
where the engineering Swiss excelled
where the painstaking Dutch excelled
Hatton felt at home
among people who did not second guess
did not go beyond thinking
it seemed like the right thing
so a thing was done and what was done was in the past
Hatton felt at home in the east
where life was lived not questioned
He himself had stopped asking questions long ago
His questions had no answers
So he quit asking
And fell from spending time reasoning to time better spent drinking
Where answers did not matter for long
Where his heart could be ignored
And what seemed right at the time
was right for all time
He stayed drunk like Baudelaire ordered
He stayed drunk on words
He stayed drunk on language
Many languages and songs within those languages
It was not poetry so much as the loft in the oratory of the masters
Hatton liked that lift that put men and mankind into battle
with a foam at their chins
He liked to repeat the speeches
He liked to sing the victory and longing for home songs
Add his own loft of language to nobilify the drum and trumpet's call
He had that kind of range and delivery
He stopped busy people in their rounds
Made them listen to his shouts and whispers of speeches designed
To make the elderly remember
To make the young rebel
To make women look up and smile
All the while his puppets pretended to do the talking
Hatton could not shut out the Slavs
Even the Romani were near his heart
But it was the women of the tribes that held his rage
The Anna Kareninas. The Emma Bovarys.
That Lara seeking out Yuri Zhivago
Hatton had these thoughts as he drove the continent
Under the influence of rage the more he drank
Using up his money in crazier ways
Each city's women came after him
Gave him the eye and much more
And Hatton gave fair measure in return as long as there was a full tank at the end
It would not take much of an increase in the petrol to put him out
Lucky for him he knew unlocked unguarded tanks in the east
Where friends bartered alcohol for fuel
His fuel for their fuel
He would not regret the loss of the road
He was not much for scenery
Without drawstring curtains to the sides
And classic doomed love in between