Steven D. Schroeder
Theft is property, say pirates plotting
shots and coordinates of loot at X
and why the life begins with lie and selfless
ends with less. Possession is nine-tenths
of the theft. Rebels liberate their numbers
from counterrevolutionary accounts
and count on theft as the people’s opium.
Rock musicians rip off riffs and profit
sharing files from fans with air guitars,
artistars who wouldn’t charge a buck
an ear to hear their licks on politics.
Money talks, bulltheft walks. Pundits call it
pirate rebel rockstar fucking cool.
Note: I stole the title from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Nothing Else in Tennessee
How do you get rid of a state-school grad?
Be sure to show your work for full credit.
When the screen teems with gamers demanding
a name, can you remember whether whoever died
strangled by a wrestler called Narcissus
or on the toilet? Answer en Español
and the form of a question. Could the bookstore
sell tornado warning sirens for 24 hours
defenestrating letters and characters
and $#@% to the gutter? Cite your sources
the Chicago way. Will you raise those fallen
grades a roommate suicide by bull’s blood hazing?
For God’s sake, wake up and pay for the pizza already.
Note: I stole the title from “Anecdote of the Jar” by Wallace Stevens
The Coke Dude
Attention, teachers: Report nonconformance with our district
cola contract altering school colors to caramel and yellow #5.
Press kids like leaves in pages of the assessment testbook–
they come out twenties. Wait later to shake lockers down
for candy, coins and knockoff Niki Heirs. Upsell our sixteen
valedictorians on graduation gowns filigreed in gold and silver
or their inflated gradepoints float away like stoner smoke.
The loner in the library drawing bloody swordswomen all day
causes lawsuit liability, so grind him under the next mill levy.
I’ve earned my advancement to superintendent of plastic
scholastic system adventure theme parks, and I’m leaving
some child behind. Serve a burger and fries. Kind regards,
The Best Buy Jostens Coke Just Do It Magic Kingdom Dude.
Note: I stole the title from Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Powerful as a Zoo
Could a gazelle run faster
than whipsnakes with ten legs?
This factoid says the grizzly
bear poisons children’s air.
Where’s the Ferris wheel
if vultures are carnivals?
A mountain lion’s lick
tastes like an orphanage.
How many sins is that
mob of baboons committing?
If you leave the trail,
the timber wolves will love you
more than your mother does.
Note: I stole the title from “Dream Song 22: Of 1826” by John Berryman
House of Brown, Now Sit Down
Pick whiskey tumblers in flintlocks
Pull off-keys from portcullis mouths
To guard a charm, hum hymns for her
To voice the word mute, mutter a mouse
Fill pizzicato pitfalls with mortar
Bellows silent, blowpipe a spyglass
Kill swallows with piano-wire stories
Bow on throat, wring notes from a goose
Defeated wing, wobble sawblades
Tune two violins with thumbscrews
Spell the bell’s clang inside-out
Loop chords as a noose and leap through
Songbird loose, burn down the doubt
Note: I stole the title from the computer game Hero’s Quest
Steven D. Schroeder‘s first book of poetry, Torched Verse Ends, appeared in 2009 from BlazeVOX. His poetry is available or forthcoming from New England Review, The Journal, Indiana Review, diode, and Verse Daily. He edits the online poetry journal Anti-, serves as a contributing editor for River Styx, and works as a Certified Professional Résumé Writer.
“When I was three years old, I fell off our front porch and needed stitches for a gash on my chin. There’s still a scar, but mentally and emotionally I’m fine with front porches.”