Tuesday, December 15 , 2009

The Half-Life of Plastic
Martin Balgach

We have slept with death all our lives.
It will grind out its graceless victory.

—Jack Gilbert

While new planets are growing
old stars are dying

and I’m listening to heartbeats
that want the half-life of plastic

Before I am reconceived
I want to cradle warm smiles

I want to see how heavy
the edge of heaven is

But gravity is dry heaving in a coffin of sky
and scientists watch with robotic gasps

This is not a formula   
I am not a flame screaming burn

The air is full of chemicals
I am full of chemicals

and I will be failed by membranes and rhetoric
fighting test tubes and stanzas

as I wait to walk into shadows
I wait to be inside things I’ll never know


Merry Christmas Fuckers
Martin Balgach

Stringing telephone pole instincts across the tired streets of city dwellers a Christmas light hits me like a gunshot. Now my head aches from the colored flaws of plastic tonsils and tinsel-treed targets. Here Santa is a savior, a god among the hungry droves of children who drool for presents. In the morning I’ll taste Scotch-tape scents, listen to piney lips waft egg-nog magnificence. I’ll watch the kids eat Chinese toys for breakfast, see them expose mounds of colored crap to make a smile where yesterday there stood a frown. Moms and Dads will pace camera flashes into piles of ripped-ribbon paper. Someone trips over a fire truck.  A candy cane curves against itself hoping for snow.


Martin Balgach’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Many Mountains Moving, Margie, Opium Magazine, Poetry Miscellany, and Rain Taxi.  He holds an MFA from Vermont College and he works for a regional publishing company in Boulder, CO.


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