Flavor Town USA Poetry: “The Animal Garden” from THE DUST THAT SINGS by Alex Gregor


follow the bagpipes into the animal garden,
where the poet sharpens his pencils
& scratches flea dog with a fire poker,
where the bass fiddle player stokes his flames 
with a horsehair bow,
where, in the salvage yard, 
the junkman turns over hubcaps for frogs & asks:

ya wanna frolic in the hedges?
ya wanna tickle the keys of an organ with a thousand pipes?
ya wanna bob for ground apples?                             
(that’s a french-fried tomato)
(that’s a wolf-peach)

while we feast on cinnamon snails
& dance the washing machine in the federal mint,
a handlebar mustache 
plays a crank piano 
on a strip of astroturf 
& sings:

when the potato failed,
i gnawed a hole through my cheek
& ate seaweed.

if you feel like you’re floatin,
it’s because you probably are,
but i should be gettin back to the buffet
in my monkey skin pants,
says the thrift store cashier.

in that muddy river delta,
let’s row our boats through currents of dulce de leche.
let’s romp through the algae,
the grass of the sea.
let’s crack open these pistachios, 
these clams of the trees,
let’s roll a long cane in a bed of eels,
hang a horseshoe crab above our hammocks & say:

we’re so happy to hear about the dregs.
how you drank them.
how the bottle was empty.

& while they dance a jig on the graves of the dead,
we catch river crabs down in the drain ditch & say:

i’m so enchanted to meet you.



“The Hourglasses”

“The Lowcountry Chef”

“The Bloated Whale & The Barfly”

“The Shrimpboat Captain”

“The Sugar Eaters”

Alex Gregor is a writer, editor, and educator from Atlanta, Georgia, currently living in Rome, Italy. He is one of the founding editors of OOMPH! Press, the banjo player in the band, The Ship & The Swell, and a member of the Department of English Language & Literature at John Cabot University. Find out more at marginalcomets.com.

Image: Alex Gregor

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