Procrastination Contest

Paul Longo


I’m loving this worst-case pandemic infographic
I can see Alan Moore’s beard it looks like
two of the brain slugs from Futurama smushed back to back
the melting ghostface of Marilyn Monroe
I see Kui from Dragon Ball Z
I see what David Cameron sees, dripping
figures worshipping a cow skull in a black cavern
I see girl sets home on fire for Slenderman
it’s like the fighter pilot from Solar Striker
I used to kick ass in that game
my motto was “stay back”
I see a trained crow flying a bomb through a window
I see baby cops are at the door
and they’ve been here for a while
I see Rise of the Beheading Video
I see meat recall the animal it came from
lingering in semi-suffocation with a grossly swollen head
(“jelly head” to trappers)
I see Apollo Creed die over and over
I see a boundless suspicionless mass surveillance apparatus
and I can see you see the same
The biosphere is afraid of me I see its true face looking up
and mouthing Happy Earth Day to you, Happy Earth Day to you….
The Internet is afraid of me I see the Chans and all the camgirls
and the digerati look up and shout “Save us!”
and I look down and whisper “Hodor”
I see I’m too funny for you to trust me
I see children who dreamed me up trampling me on the couch
I see guards arrive periodically to deliver protein
blocks for food and take some of the children
I see an organism engineering conditions that feed its accelerated rise
I see a thrill ride for kids with chronic peristaltic anxiety
I see my Happy Meal in the sand
I see they lied about the ride duration
I see it’s just another entrance to the ride


Paul Longo lives in Portland, OR. He works as a biomedical engineer at a startup developing treatments for traumatic bleeding. His work has appeared in Best New Poets and is forthcoming in Fence.


Editor’s Note:

For the Autumn, this column will tour the Pacific NW.

Southeast Portland is less part of a city, and more an assortment of villages raked together. Hawthorne Blvd., home to Carte Blanche and Potato Champion food carts, ends at Mt. Tabor, the tiny volcano. There is Division St.–The Place of Too Many Restaurants–and on similarly parallel Belmont St., Aalto Lounge is sandwiched between a Stumptown cafe and a Stumptown tasting room that offers free public cuppings twice a day. Paul’s house has a large garden in the backyard, next to a plum tree and the hill he built so the Anatolian Shepherd he had with Melissa could feel watchful. His extensive book collection is organized by color. -DD