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zingmagazine

zingmagazine10 autumn 1999

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8 poets making it new
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generation z
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the back of beyond
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The Woman in the Booth

For David Blumenthal, M.D.

by Kathryn Maris

 

There is a woman in a ticket booth

who lives in my left ventricle.

Her job is a bit boring, so she brought

a small T.V. in there with her

and even built a shelf for it.

Sadly, the reception is bad

and the only channel she gets

airs Italian soap operas.

But all day she is lost,

slave to grey fuzz and two silhouettes

that are inevitably having arguments.

Sometimes she doesn't even notice

the customers, mostly children

one must look down at to see.

When they are ignored, the kids

are hardly unhappy, and shrug off in search

of another, less dated form of entertainment.

Who needs a carousel ride, after all,

thinks the man who operates it

in his frequent moments of self doubt.

When no one wants a ride, he sneaks

a cigarette where the boss won't look

and the carousel lies still and he's

relieved of its multi-hued nostalgia.

Sometimes, when he returns, he gives

the thing a hostile whirl and the plinkety

plinkety plink goes damaged and surreal.

I feel the pauses and spins, I feel

the falling-down on the job.

And soon the tunes are jazzy if inharmonious

and the children are inventing rude lyrics,

and there is irony in my heart

where before there was none.

I miss the old music, steady

and sentimental though it was.

But in getting used to the new,

I am getting to know

that where there is beauty

there is also boredom,

and where there is boredom,

there's mischief.