Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Peter Stubbs Packs Up and Flees to Chicago via Time Machine to Escape Bad Press











Pursued by the mob of townspeople
and the shaky glow of their torches,
he finds refuge crouching under a mossy bridge.
                                                        --Billy Collins




Imagine somewhere in Chicago
Stubbs takes out the folded newspaper ad
stuffed loosely in his shrunken trousers
with growling, snarling defiance,
his restless, furtive eyes glowing
under the hazy light of the full moon.
Call a Gregory Clinic today for permanent removal
of unwanted facial and body hair…  It reads.

What could this be? He wonders.
He had petitioned Beelzebub before.
He'd even omitted parsley from his cauldron
of opium, hemlock and henbane,
hoping for smoother, hair-free skin.
Now he was just a phone call away. 

Imagine his brilliant, white teeth flashing
beneath his yellow-green eyes,
dark patches of fur standing on end
as he reads about the International Academy
of Professional Electrologists, modern alchemists
with their new state-of-the-art technology.

More effective than rye, mistletoe and yew,
he muses.  It’s time to escape 
the threat of decapitation that lycanthropy and folklore 
had contrived for more than four hundred years…

Stubbs paces wildly in circles for a few moments.
He rolls around in the dirt three times.
He dusts off his soiled trousers. 
The clouds traverse suddenly, illuminating 
a Hunter’s moon, just as he begins to dial…


“Peter Stubbs...” was originally published in American Goat.


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