Two poems – Donald Illich

Donald Illich

The New Monster

It says it’s not a monster,
though you see its big fangs,
smell the blood of its lungs.
It’s always carrying a victim,
a boy or a princess, claiming
it’s trying to help bring this one
back to life. You don’t interfere.
It’s enough that the beast winks
instead of roaring toward you, still
hungry after its hundreds of victims.

You let it move in next to you.
The van filled with eyes and bones.
And comfortable furniture and TVs.
It invites you over to watch football.
But you don’t want to walk bloody
floors, or wonder what’s in the basement.
Ignorance will be your excuse, when
police arrive to search the dwelling,
dragging out bodies in white sheets,
some of them without body parts.

You’ve heard it has a new job.
Answering questions about the wars.
Everything ends up in freedom, liberty.
The press lick it up, cats with milk.
For its troubles it gets to consume
one of the media. They continue reporting
as they’re shoved down its happy mouth.
Across the street, you turn the TV off,
cutting away from the explosions.
You sit in your chair, stare into space.

Monster in the Closet

He felt like a cliché, sitting there,
ready for night to fall and bored
already. Why drag the child under
the bed, or leap out of his spot
at the boy peeing in his pants.
It was time for him to move on.
With his possessions stuffed
in a hobo’s handkerchief on a stick,
he hitchhiked out of there, always
finding someone to give him a ride.
In one city he found shallow closets
that were only full of clothes,
their magic gone. In another
they gave him the key to the city
for scaring youngsters for centuries,
ridding them of the worst
who refused supper, shot BBs
at every living thing in town.
In the woods he met Bigfoot,
who complained about hikers
shooting bad photos of her,
always running away, never
giving her a chance to say anything.
Ghosts walking the graveyards
said he ought to return home.
When he got back there may be
a creature dwelling there
in his place. They were lucky
to be tied to the earth forever.
He wasn’t bothered by that idea.
Who cared about why he left?
He skipped across streams, yelled
to frighten campers. He was real,
as much as one could be in a life.

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