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Whatnots by
Kyle Hemmings
Illumination by Peter Knoll

'the leper'  2008 Peter Schwartz
'the leper' by Peter Schwartz
A City of Persecuted Poets

The Commish has ordered his goons to drag down the balloon-men again, polluting the quality of our city air is the reason given, and I'll never understand the mayor's campaign to wipe out thermal drift and out-of-towners who bring in the smog on a frog's back. It's not that I don't believe the meteorologists, but I just don't know who to vote for anymore.

At the bar, Jukebox Julie reaches across, tries to catch her chattering false teeth before they fall off, and a drunk might mistake them for his own. This is how the new mayor was elected--everyone mistook his teeth for Washington's. Only the mayor's were brighter, 'cuz the Hessians squandered all the floss and denture polish. That's why on a ten dollar bill, Hamilton is never smiling.

I ask Jukebox Julie what happened to Polident Pete. She says he got arrested for urinating at Kosoko's. Why does he pee only there, I ask. Because, she says, grinding those reclaimed teeth, the floors are the cleanest there.

Don't you understand anything?

On the TV, a special news bulletin: the mayor announces that all denizens must stitch their lips, wind-up teeth will no longer be granted special immunity and public bathrooms must be deodorized with smog repellents. Jukebox Julie faints.

And I sometimes wish I could be encapsulated within the insulation of a raindrop, me, listening to the slip and fall of my own words while below the special prosecutors look for any signs of natural teeth in dumpsters.

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last update: February 29, 2008