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Chris Bullard

Wile E. Coyote Checks his Mood As He Falls Toward the Desert Floor

I am already thinking past

the pain this rapid change

of altitude has made inevitable,

a result precipitated by one

more grandiose bungle

that must, in retrospect,

seem comically ordained,

caused by my inability (due

perhaps to residual head

trauma) to calibrate exactly

the timing fuse on a rain barrel

stuffed with dynamite sticks.

Though I expect my battered

cranium will be orbited by stars

haloing a concussion when I

slither from under the boulder

that followed me to the desert

floor and sandwiched me

into insensibility, a quick shift

of scenery will find me fully

committed again to the pursuit

of a willfully ingenuous foe.

In a landscape indisposed

to extravagances of greenery,

hostile to all but the flat line

and empty of props save for sage

brush and panting lizards, is it

any wonder I obsess over this

thing with feathers? Genius

needs a target. The roadrunner,

an idée unfixed, has provoked

in me invention and improvisation,

a break out from the mundanity

of physical rules proscribing,

for instance, an emergence

of locomotives from tunnels

newly painted on the rock face,

or the disengagement of gravity

by a body pacing in the air

a thousand feet above the chasm.

I have challenged the expected

sequences with designs crafted

to apprehend one whose swiftness

exceeds our one-dimensional

comprehension. That various

flaws bedevil these contrivances

is of no dissuasive concern.

The workings of the spring

that cages its user in bent wire,

the rocket skates that explode

into fireworks have value because

their workings differ from what

is hum drum and practical. No

professor of factitude harbors

dreams of flyswatters enormous

enough to provoke trembling

in the limestone strata, nor does

any careerist engineer have wit

enough to challenge convention

with a limb-powered bat wing.

I do not lust for a garland of beak

and clawed feet. If I salivate,

my tongue tracing my elongated

snout, it is not that I contemplate

gustatory triumph, but, rather,

a new contraption has come to mind,

its risk presaging both further hurt

and regenerative hope, iterated

in the imagination like perpetual motion.


A native of Florida, Chris Bullard lives in Philadelphia. He received his B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.F.A. from Wilkes University. Grey Book Press published Continued, a poetry chapbook, in 2020 and Moonstone Press recently published Going Peaceably to the Obsidian Knife, his chapbook of environmentally themed poetry. Main Street Rag expects to publish his poetry chapbook, Florida Man, early next year.


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