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Mark Van Fossen

of

Lancaster, OH, US

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A Short History Of Employment

by

Mark Van Fossen

The sun rises.
*
A piece of it won't light up.
*
Perhaps a corner.
*
An electrician is sent to repair it.
*
His eyebrows burn off
*
because the sun is 50,000 degrees or more.
*
It's hot.
*
The electrician sues his boss
*
for 'breach of eyebrows'.
*
His boss's company goes under.
*
The electrician is a millionaire.
*
He moves to Atlantis
*
because
*
the sun doesn't rise there.


AS RAIN DROPS DYING

by

Mark Van Fossen

It was the only chance
she'd get

to review love and the
rest of it

sitting by the bushes
out in the rain

so many people walk
right by

pay no attention
to the efforts

of a dead woman.

THE BLUR BOMBSHELL

by

Mark Van Fossen

Sorer than hell
the day after

retreating then
from a big blonde
after too many Kamikazes

I retreat now

(probably will all damn
morning) to the toilet

to get rid of
the guilt

the drinks, too.

Umbrella

by

Mark Van Fossen

Hanging around
this place

just in case

the sky caves in
and somebody needs
an umbrella

I waltz, really waltz
down the avenues

discreet

is not a word
from these streets

time and time
again and again

these faces in crowds
lackluster

but I'm with
them, really

just doing my time
here with the fish

suffocating
in the streets

waiting for the sky
to cave.

The Old Man's Way

by

Mark Van Fossen

The old man
who lives
down
the
tracks

in a weather-
beaten pitiful
tent

under oaks
beside briars
near dirt

cleans in a
creek (perhaps)

burns newspapers
for heat

breathes heavy
and runs away

whenever he
sees
me
coming.

A Brief Memory of San Francisco

by

Mark Van Fossen

On
San Francisco's
far east side

before I was
through holding up
street corners

I wandered
out into the avenues
where the red smoke
rose up
from rusted gutters

made my way
down to the tourist district
beside the pier

while
a girl from Ohio
who preferred
shoe stores
left me alone

and I grinned
at the people who
waddled like penguins
towards the
great Pacific seals

or took snapshots
of that prison
island

and sometimes
laughed at the
homeless

and I remembered
a poet
who was sad once

in that Golden land
where we hid quietly
in the bay

if the fog didn't
devour us first

and then like the sun
she came back to me

shiney shoes and all
my moment was over.

GOD (B)LESS AMERICA

by

Mark Van Fossen

Is a sign written in my town;
in my country, beyond the tall
grasses of April, on cold stone

--- with the blood of the
disbelievers, ashamed of their
freedom ---

from where I stand it's all okay.
Okay.

May God have the strength to
put the "B" back in believers.

Exact Science: Circa 1954

by

Mark Van Fossen

To leap then bound
where music meets a
psychadellic psycho-Donna
here in the folds of love's last stand
..mesmerize me, I think,
but it goes down like
the Titanic in the dark.

Where was I the last time
I felt happy? Silencing my critics
probably.

It's always been an exact science
with me. I do just enough to
shut those fuckers up, then I go
get lost again.

It's like a funny game I play
but laughter is a bleeding
photograph of Jesus on somebody's
dashboard:
Circa 1954

Them

by

Mark Van Fossen

They tell me to paint a picture: I paint it.
They tell me to write a story: I write it.
They tell me to go get them coffee and I
take it to the toilet and piss in
their mug.

Then they hand me fifty-dollars and say
"Here, kid, now go blow your nose."

"Sure" I tell them, "I'll do that."

Then I head to the front of the room,
listen to their laughing.

I'm out the door and don't look back.

Rebel

by

Mark Van Fossen

Pomeroy
and the river

black, unwilling
seems a reflection
perhaps a million or so
otters

revealing a blanket
upstream somewhere

though it's my
imagination, sure

as I sit on this bench
watching quietly
near where the wall
is broken by something
I'll never have a part in

and the sky
so blue,blue,blue
clearest day since summer
spring maybe

except one cloud
a rebel up there
(me down here)
waiting,waiting
to go nowhere.

While The Sun Sets On A Rake

by

Mark Van Fossen

The sun goes down
over a father with a rake
who breaths easily this cool air
here in November

while he cleans up after trees
as if he's polishing coffins.
And his daughter
who trails along, scattering the piles

with pig-tails and pink sneakers
too young still to know
the honesty of graves,
only the leaves.

And I watch them, smile

I'm not a pessimist
nor am I a fatalyst
and I've dismissed the
drama of youth

but I know what I see.

TAKING IT ON THE CHIN

by

Mark Van Fossen

Hey man, we'll make you a star
just stay where you are
that's what they tell you

in a city that's plastic
deathly fantastic
lace up your grin

we take it on the chin out here, man

and so they go
several thousand lifetimes or so
while I sit here

eating melon on a string
the sun drill me for hours with a sting
and i know where i am, man

taking one on the chin.

And The Children

by

Mark Van Fossen

Poor drowning boy
collected in the river's
boney scrapbook

you must breath to
live again
educate your lungs

in the masses, among
fish and mud.

School starts tomorrow
in the city
and the children

with espionage eyes
plan the events of holocaust
towards teachers, books

their faces are a reflection
of rivers.

The Old House

by

Mark Van Fossen

It's only fitting that they painted
the old house red
where you used to beat your children
as I hid beneath a table
with my cat Zach, my only trusted friend

and you'd scream with that rage
made in your love of disappointments
and with a frying pan
belts
a loaf of bread
you'd make them pay with whatever
you could reach

make them pay for your
love of disappointments
because they were another thing
you loved so much

and I drove by there today
twenty-some odd and blackened
years later, anyway
to find the old house red
and wondered, no, knew

what that old house had been
painted with.

The Old Man & The "C"

by

Mark Van Fossen

I was just never good in school.

My grades were like playground
bullies and my mother never got
over it.

She thought I should love my grades
adore them, make love to them
because they promised big things.

Not me, I told her, I'm a damned old
poet, that's what I want to be.

Screw those A's
To Hell with B's

And on and on the windows went
with lavish visions of distance

to where I ended up thirty
and a malcontent, but not unfree

Nope. I took my C.

Myth

by

Mark Van Fossen

I desire to be anonymous
again

I want it like love
no anticipation like an
infant's first cry

no sunrise to lovers

my words have grown to
a life all their own
but die meaning nothing

I miss New York City
but cry here tonight
were I to laugh, even then
I would be elsewhere

someone sings a song as they
grope a breast
another fills the air with
blood fumed from lies

I stand there, a myth
that would be just fine
and if it all were to end
before the stars escape tonight

love in my mind then love
in my eyes
for only have I loved you
this way

I can only be honest with myself
once

then the rest is history.