Saturday, January 31, 2009

Featured Poet: Greg Santos

"Greg Santos was born and raised in Montreal. He currently attends the MFA Creative Writing Program at The New School in Manhattan. He is the poetry editor of pax americana."

I Am His Majesty’s Most Trusted Servant

On winter nights the Emperor splays out

on his favorite ruby-encrusted divan,

his slight legs propped up on an ottoman.

I, along with a cavalcade of His Lordship’s servants,

the Imperial Grape Peeler, the Toy-Winder,

the Royal Fondue Dipper, His Majesty’s Pillow Fluffer,

among others, wait for our orders.

As the Royal Sheller of Chestnuts

I am the most important of

His Distinguished Majesty’s servants.

We wait for our bell, the ding-a-ling

signaling whether we are to grace the Emperor’s

munificent presence or whether we are fated

to slink away to our quarters in shame.

I am, more often than not, the chosen one.

For His Most Virtuous Highness’s fingers

are far too delicate for menial tasks

and I am truly blessed, having been descended

from a long line of noble nut shellers.

I take great joy in guillotining the nuts with a sharp blade,

exposing the meaty brains inside.

My most favorite thing to do once they’re shelled and popped

into our August Majesty’s mouth

is crunch the shells beneath my fists.

I hereby declare that the best feeling ever.

Taking the Amtrak Vermonter on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend to Brattleboro

Trees accustomed to swaying softly

formerly anchored telephone poles

snow-dusted mountains hardened to a sedentary life

ramble past your window

as if aware of something secret

looming over the horizon

like how cows lie down

when they sense a storm

or how Lassie knew Timmy had

fallen down a ventilation shaft or wandered

into a live mine field

while you, placid in the cup-holder

spill not a drop

they clamor: enough is enough

and the man in the gray flannel suit

stands, declares his aspiration:

medieval battle recreationist!

the woman in the aisle next to you

pumps her fists in the air and chants

sommelier! sommelier! (sommelière?)

potato chip specialist, opera singer

brewmaster, action figure fashion designer

one by one dreams

crackle and bounce amid the coach cars

and even the countryside decides to dusts itself off

pack its bags and take a little ‘me’ time

for an eco-vacation to Costa Rica

leaving you flustered and wondering

why oh why

you never went to sleepaway spacecamp

and now you’ve been left in the lurch

on a stretch of frosty tracks

with nary a bag of peanuts in sight.

Oh, Canada

The Canadian beaver is known for its industriousness.

It is also known for being mild-mannered and polite.

It mates for life and is a very social animal,

living and working with others in pastoral harmony.

But be forewarned: the beaver is not to be taken lightly.

The beaver has been known to fell small trees,

creating limpid ponds, which, while ideal for reflection,

can cause dangerous flooding in low lying areas.

The beaver’s ability to change the landscape is second only to that of humans.

Recently a crudely fashioned beaver lodge

was spotted along the banks of the Bronx River…

How can we be certain that these creatures will not take over?

This new and deceptively cuddly form of eco-terrorism has no place here.

We cannot rest on our haunches until all alien beavers are rounded up.

They must be sent back up north from whence they came.

Our national security depends on it, my friends.