Gordon Massman




Take Georgette, for instance: strenuously petitions for benignity,
beseeches parenthetically for Bengali urchins, “forsaken
angels.” Pleads for negative oncological report. Quivers,
essentially. I am merciful, omnibenevolent, desire reprieve,
but Georgette muddies by rude contradiction. I know
her heart—envious, avaricious, conniving bitch, mortally
materialistic, clandestinely unsympathetic, empathy soiled
by black narcissism. Not simple case. One of my most
physically arresting creations, creamy skin, delicate bones,
small perked breasts, Cupid lips, “drop dead” as humans
say, heroin to men. She loves hard pumping. Intensely
tortured. Guiltily, she betrays, achingly repents. Emotionally
inaccessible. Do I rescue in munificence this disingenuous
creature? I possess no checklist. Gradations are everything.
I’m leaning toward death—nasty thing fornicating with
athletic trainer, shoplifting lipstick (which I could strike
into rose bouquet!). But I am conflicted. This scorpion
stings while I consider. You who believe me implacable
master note this tender equivocation. Georgie’s witty,
engaging, blessed with lust, stick of TNT not easily consigned
to premature extinction. Her child’s interest prefigures,
too, though secretly not husband’s increase. She’s decent
to domestics. Do not imagine, interloper, that with your
vicarious idle interest you shall witness my proclamation.
That moment belongs to her alone, but know that between
now and this final decision your callous Ruler suffers.





Like you each morning I dress—woven tie, tweed coat,
chino slacks—down Krispies, fire ignition. Like you I fret—
failure, inadequacy, dismissal, ridicule. Like you I suffer
compulsions, mine involves consecutive numbers. Like
you I detest my job; existence, in fact. Unlike you I have
no God. Like you I’m hooked, sugar addiction. I despair
of constipation, acid reflux. Like you am weary of biological
function, would rather be automaton. Like you I fear
extinction, yours material, mine spiritual, strive toward
continuousness. Like you necrotic, rotted in places. You
think me incorruptible permanent fixture. Like you I
get dirty requiring soap. I emit bestiality—armpit odor,
gritty sweat, fecal stink. Like you I want soaking. Oh,
I am lonely, too, heart a far-flung nebulae. Like you I
crave novelty—for you Corvette, for me new human
tragedy. Each night I loop keys on peg, unknot tie, pop
cork, sigh out stress like crinkling beach shingle. Like
you I revive, tease out bliss like basketful of snake. Last
night I dreamed tsunami stiffened by cracked sea bed
buried a village, scything people dashing for safety.
Gleeful playboy, I created that swell, whimsically. Killing
people cuts monotony. Imagine my ejaculatory howl–
my geyser ecstasy—as collapsing structures crush dozens.





Heaven is dog sanctuary, if you’re interested. If you’re really
fascinated heaven is cacophonous pandemonium. Kibble, bits,
bits, kibble. Ironically, I’m perturbed that you, man, designed–
because it doesn’t exist within your species–such vessels of
undivided loyalty. Poor unsuspecting creatures. Yet how
deny these blameless angels. Take Plato, for instance, starved
beside corpse of fallen master. I took Plato’s soul unwaveringly.
Or dumped Blakely marched pads to pulp home to drunken
bastard. Need I further enumerate? Pit bull is innocent, and
shepherd dog-soldier not responsible for ideology, The place
is a multi-dimensional infinitely wide universe of dog parks.
I love them. Yesterday Spats, boy’s companion, spun to me
like wind-blown paper. I, God, wept. Blighted is man, sadistic,
duplicitous, murderous lout. I created monsters, guiltily,
who invented gentle creatures in which to soothe blood-soaked
hands. Well, I don’t inhabit Earth; besides I have grudgingly
accepted some human martyrs. Jesus compacted himself into
dog, muzzle to hock, dewclaw to tail, Bichon to Bouvier des
Flanders. Compare to your angry grudges, tawdry predilections,
trashy infidelity. Heaven would be blighted. If you want to
know with your chlorinated swimming pools, NASDAQ,
iPad, genocides heaven is dog paradise, if you really want to
know, scattered with the few miniscule humans crawling in
hedges, awestruck before the Rushmore of dog knuckles.





Superstitiously you imagine me omniscient, omnipotent,
omnipresent, omnibenevolent when I am actually
crack-toothed malodorous opinionated house painter
sick of brushes who cannot die. My telephone blares
another job, Yachtsman Blue, Oceanic Green–some
delusional fool–and here I come with crusty ladder,
drop cloth, diabetic blood while Mr. Slick conquering
world tears off in Audi. Half blind cynic, I apply,
mutter, curse lousy bastard. I seal house with paint,
flat matte finish, shield from severe neurological
weather for which you give me homegrown ears.
I don’t ease to sleep but collapse like scaffold,
leathery skin, latex nails. Here’s human’s greatest
folly, the chasm between dream and reality, the
botanical bridge to Hell’s casino. Orgasm Red,
Paradise Cream, Coconut Blue. Briefly I bought
hypodermic lie, carried like hero “shoulder high”
atop mob’s frenzied victory but truth intruded in
vodka tumbler. I am mostly man, dissolute, dis-
eased, exhausted, angry, dangling tin mundane
pots. Give me thirsty wood to satisfy. My brushes
of prettiest hue disguise all manner of dissolution.





You think I’m King of Kings? You think you’re central,
core, You think on human lap I loll? Let me dis-
abuse. I never consider you. Rather be dead. I hear
your plea for courage, strength, for hospitalized
Judy. You beseech believing I see. Fool. You’ll
contract cancer without intervention. I’m happy up
here with jigsaw puzzle. Weather’s Jake. Lake’s
sweet. Buzz off with your catastrophe. You miniscule
soft-bellied dirt-walkers, you think I’m yours with
your Eucharist. And that parable of the single foot-
print in sand, Gotta laugh. What egocentrism.
Your blathering religion, righteousness. Oh, I do
intermittently pity with your coitus, alcohol,
Pulitzer Prize. Die giggling. And ritualized tearful
funeral. Fragile thin-skinned mendicant. And
money: what brutality. Take my advice: embrace
star-smear, infinities heaped upon infinities like
soap bubble mansion. Take my advice: marry,
procreate, possess, celebrate, pretend you matter. I’ve
got sunset to catch on Cigar Galaxy. Sure, I empathize,
you’re in French trench, death’s popping skull-
skittles. Scared, you pray. You think I’m attentive.
Consider billions of petitions simultaneously gushing
out world’s rooftops, syllable-inundation billion
miles thick and assess your significance. Nutball.
I’m hauling on shoulder dead stag I bow-killed
to slaughter for winter, I’m ax-splitting heartwood
for raging hearth fire, sharp palpable reality against
the simpering obsequious butler you think I am.





Okay, you got me. I can be magnanimous. Though how you
recognized me, and in fiction section where serendipitously
I discovered Schwarz-Bart’s The Last of the Just. There
shall be what you term “divine intervention”: newborn
Consuela, Rhabdomyosarcoma. No, won’t have it. Why
she? Arbitrary, dear man. In vicinity. What? You dislike
my outfit? Vulgar? Undignified? Sometimes it gets me,
right here. She’ll recover inexplicably. Where surgeon
expects carcinoma, clean CAT scan. There’ll be sore
knees in Paraguay. My dear, attrition is necessary. What
war doesn’t handle, illness must. You can’t expect—I
mean, such grandiosity. But haphazardly, yes, when I
visit your spheroid. You think I’m omnipresent, pah!
Occasionally I wander into hospital, and children,
only children. I can suffer myself. It’s you who suffer
without me. And I’m material, as you see, not ethereal.
I resemble in fact, wouldn’t you agree, Ernest Borgnine.
You must accept your aloneness, friendlessness. Yes,
you caught me in stereotypical biblical moment justi-
fying your mythology, healing terminal baby. Gloat.
Strut. High five a believer. Perhaps my physique revealed
me through this Patagonia regalia. I preferred anonymity
but got People Magazine. So be it. In your universal
social-psychological cesspool you need a little purity.
Consuela is healed. Celebrate her arrival as I vanish in air.





This is quiz show. I’m Charlie Van Doren.
I know answers. Physics. Antiquity. Medicine. Philosophy.
I know everything ubiquitously. Anthropology.
I am three hundred thousand up.
With your TV cutlet watch me smack buzzer.
Michel de Montaigne!. Deoxyribose, two each purines, pyrimidines!
I astound. I mesmerize.
You see power I wield? You see what I am?
Challenge me; you won’t win blender.
I’m cerebral blood.
Wednesday night, eight o’clock, everyone transfixed.
Nabisco, General Electric.
See Cracker Jack. See Wiz Kid.
Question has not been posited that I cannot…
I knew solution before construction of riddle.
I pass through brilliance like chair
Through paint.
Phenomenal I’m.
Do you understand? Do you internalize?
Lightning wraps my crown.
My fingertip eclipses.
Pain-faced chorister issuing
Inspiration is zenith of absurdity,
Alcohol-clear emptiness engulfs melody
Quarter mile out
Like handful of thrown dust.
Lonely human in habitable envelope.
Bells clang. Board flashes. Jackpot!
Thunderbird convertible, ninety thousand smackers.
Can you keep secret? It’s fixed.
Whole shebang.
Executives determined man needs illusion,
Vicarious well-being.
You project me onto everything,
Microorganism to Milky Way.
I’m poor faker. With all my luminosity.
Privately, you know. Crude ubiquity exposes.
Of course I’m imaginary.
I’m you talking to yourself.





I create stomach for amusement, most devilish invention.
For it, slave or starve. It gnashes until fed, gnashes again.
Vicious. Creation devouring itself. Wilderness of blood.
Slaughter factories–hooks, drains, bolt guns, concrete
holocaust, hands clasping pistol like baby rattle. Above all
I adore my stomachs, my twin duodenums. Emperor at
coliseum. Thumb down. Shark voracity. I grab toes, rock.
Greatest entertainment. Gnawing spine. Life-wasting
labor. Spoonful of soup. Temporary satiation. I’m spastic
with laughter. Hiccupping. Animal panic is my giddiness.
Anything. Anything. Prostitution. Gambling. Garbage
collection. Flooring it through city to crucial presentation.
Gasoline, parking lot. Wrapped around stomach Van
Allen belt of indifferent tenderness. He with satiated gut
is godfather. I observe smug or desperate faces kill lower
species, each other, gullet salivation. Makes me jolly, lethal
ballet of predation, terror on stage of such natural beauty.





Roy Roger’s scarf flipping in wind as Trigger gallops
forward through gunpowder smoke puffs, one, two,
three, Bullet leading charge, ears sleeked, then fist
fight, Roy takes it on mug, reels, catapults back, crack,
thud, bandit slides off wall like slung mud. Then, tooled
boots, bathed, Dale at side, beautiful buttons, croon
Happy Trails, Gabby Hayes…hell, you think I’m not
nostalgic, you think I’m cold transaction with ledger,
balance sheet, hollow drum breast, let me disabuse, I
yearn for television cowboy, Saturday morning marvel
with tin sheriff star, your God feels, too, you think I
like my birth-death machinery, slick wet entrances,
hard dry falls, my inexorable box of flywheels, sprockets
with me at helm punching out screws, I long for cliff-
hanger serial–Captain Marvel, Fu Manchu—absorption
thrill of six year old, then Sunday afternoon Chicago
Bears with buddies, dog, Let me tell you I’m sick of
dazzling brain, omniscient wisdom, Peter’s indiscretion,
Stephanie’s addiction, give me Davy Crockett, sanitized
binary simplicity. Adoring chesty wives, pioneers. Yes,
nostalgia, not this laborious managerial office beyond
Microscopium and Pyxis in frigid regions. Roy, crisp
embroidery, flash’s boyish grin. Let peace rein in great
globed mind free of executions, absolution. Pretty pony,
jangling spurs, hand tooled boots is all I ever wanted.





I want to be like you, mortal, libidinous, breakable. Per-
fection nauseates. I want dismissal for incompetence–
dejection, suicidal. I want to upchuck on New Bedford
Boulevard after mashing a minor. You think I prize
my prodigious bazooka, hydrogen bomb throb? I
want arteriosclerosis, foggy cerebellum. Rescue me
from this. Yesterday I earthquaked Haiti, mud-
slid Peru, arrested pancreatic, faced the billion-needled
human prayer. Give me impotence, grief, deceased
father, rotten teeth. Give me dog requiring euthanasia.
I want eye-bags, uretic sleep. Shell has left jelly; I
am snail on hot concrete, eye dots, brief case, bacon
McGalaxy, mounting office of monotonous colleagues
identical to me. I love them terribly. News descends
like hail: invasion, tornado, prize winner, death.
Alexandra delivers quintuplets. Occurrences assail
people, but I alone in tower must generate each,
welcome or accursed. Get me out this. Only you
with your whorish fake lashes, condom foil, dealer-
ship cackle know how. I am deathless, exhausted.


The New York Quarterly Press will soon publish Gordon Massman’s volume titled, God, or a Handbook for the Unbeliever, from which these poems are taken.