Poems by Eli Coppola


Conversation in the Garden

Charlie next door says the folks across the fence

got written up last spring

for slaughtering a goat

in their driveway

and roasting it in a garbage can

filed with burning banana leaves.

Charlie says that's all nice n ethnic n all

but it stinks. Charlie usually smiles

much more than is necessary, but he isn't smiling

when he says this. He's nervous; he knows

at night city backyards become the domain

of cats and thieves. Our plots have flimsy borders

and strange artifacts decompose for dark miles down into

the crowded earth.

The other morning it seemed

someone climbed flfteen feet of the clothesline pole

before it fell. Some crabgrass and a few Califomia poppies

were crushed into a man-sized fetal curl.

Me, I've only been here since mid-January

and already I've a small pile of bones gathered

under the lemon tree, my own things

to bury and burn.

The little lot

is just beginning to bloom.


Dues

I filled out a loan application

and sent it to the post office who sent it to the college

scholarship

service who sent it to the post office who sent it to me

so I could sign it

and send it to the post office who sent it to the college

scholarship

service who sent it to the post office who sent it to the

financial aid

office who sent it to the post office who sent it to me

so I could sign it again and I

sent it to the post offce who sent it to the bank who sent it

to the post

office who sent it to the guarantee agency who sent it to the

post office

who sent it to the bank who sent it to the post office who

sent it to the

financial aid office

where it was approved

for half the amount i needed five months after I needed it

in the form of a check representing (apparently)(money)

representing silver in the treasury in washington

which doesn't exist

which I picked up at the financial aid office

(trying my best to hasten the process)

which I carried to the bank

(trying my best to hasten the process)

and deposited in the machine which notified many other

machines

that I had (apparently)(money) representing silver in the

treasury in

washington which doesn't exist

which I asked the machine to transfer from my savings

account which

had nothing in it to my checking account which had

nothing in it off which I wrote a check representing

(apparently)(money) representing silver in the treasury in

washington

which doesn't exist

which I sent to the post office who sent it to the accounting

office

next

door

to the financial aid office

all

so

I could sit in a room

filled with poetry.


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