The Chronic Malcontent

A zine for constructive complaining
ARTSLIT 1999
Desert Christmas 1990

Hark, the herald angels screech
For peace on earth is hard to reach
Peace on earth, while men are wild?
Men and money reconciled.

God rest ye merry gentlemen
All you know is dismay
There is no living thing on earth
That rests this Christmas Day.

Silent fright, deadly might,
Armored angels course the night
Ships and guns the harbors play
Fantastic nightmares light the way.

O little town of Bethlehem
We see thee seethe with hate
Your people cannot see God's love
How turn you to your fate?

We wish you an OK Christmas
With hopes for health and fitness
And wish that we all witness
A better New Year.

Copyright 1990 Sue Klaus
Works from Thom Kellar

PERFECT WORLD

In a perfect world
The 4 faces chiseled in Mt. Rushmore
would be Johnny, Kris, Waylon, and Willie
OJ Simpson would be stamping out vanity plates
alongside the unabomber in San Quentin.
every wanna-be Doctor, Priest, and Lawyer, made to watch
Paul Newman in "The Verdict" at least 50 times
and a public school education would include mining the mother lode
of irony found in the life and times of Muhammad Ali

In a perfect world
the Government would find it unnecessary to spend 50 million bucks
trying to prove that the president committed adultery and lied about it.
the NRA would wither up and die due to lack of interest,
It's army of Lobbyist picked off one by one through random gunfire.
all the camouflaged, soldier of misfortune, pin-headed, bubba-boys
would collectively decide themselves not smart enough to exercise the
right to vote.
And every child would know deep and sustaining Love
from those in charge of their care.

In a perfect world
I could lay all day on the beach
soaking up Pacific Ocean Sun without burning my ass off.
my 1970, Olds F-85, with the 396, would get better gas mileage the
faster I drove it.
like maybe 100 miles per gallon at 100 miles per hour.
there would fantastic, hole in the wall, Mexican food joints on every
street corner.
with plenty of fresh Tortillas, Habeneros, and ice cold Negra Modelo
and "Baby Doll" with the wandering eye, would magically see George
Clooney
every time she looked my way, causing her to re-think monogamy.


DEAD MEN

dead men
don't care what the surgeon general thinks
dead men
drive around with no place to go
dead men
figure the come-on at the end of the bar, more trouble than she's worth
dead men
hold alcohol in a medicinal light
dead men
will sleep in their work clothes
dead men
never are never asked to RSVP
dead men
buy cars, and smokes, based solely on price
dead men
avoid eye contact at all cost
dead men
doodle on the obituary page
dead men
drive on bald tires with cracked windshields.
dead men
accept with resignation, the next day's hangover
dead men
listen to Coltrane, and Davis, start to finish, no interruptions
dead men
don't floss
dead men
will drink their Sake cold
dead men
don't sweat expiration dates
dead men
never wear bandages
dead men
are past blaming anyone
dead men
see horse-shit and diamonds the same
dead men
don't care where the candle-wax falls
dead men
forget what day of the week it is
dead men
can't get to sleep at night, can't wake up in the morning
dead men
have nothing in their hands
dead men
never ask another chance
dead men
have no need to make sense of anything
dead men
play dumb when they know they're being lied to
dead men
have made the connection between sorrow and desire
after losing the thing he loves
a dead man will spend the rest of his days
anesthetizing the past
pouring gasoline on the future

dead men
have no fear of dying the second time


PRIMER GRAY

Smoke ring in a windstorm
old man with blindfold and cigarette
at the university he had "shown promise"
was called a "diamond in the rough"
but the years have gotten away from him
he pissed away his time
now he waits for the phone to ring
for Gabriel to call and ask if he has one last request

from the beginning desire had been a map without names
never sure where he was or where he was going
change made for the sake of change
point A to point B in a car painted primer gray
he drank too much-slept too much
read too much-chased "easy" too much
never finished the book he had been writing
for the last 24 years

now the Rambler sits on blocks
the manuscript lost somewhere in the attic
he calls himself "invisible man on blue planet"
the events of his life written in disappearing ink
nothing to offer as evidence of having circled the Sun
staring at the autumn sky, chain smoking, sipping tea,
he waits for the angels to raise their rifles
and take him home

Copyright 1998 Thom Kellar