Martin Ott: Three Poems
How to Recognize an Alien Spaceship
If the universe is a fidget spinner,
then we are all looking for God,
the one hidden in skin wrapping,
the orbit of opposites, the bang.
Sometimes a cigar is just a spaceship.
Sometimes it is just an asteroid.
We look at distant figures with mistrust.
Dim light. Feral stars. The otherness.
We do not understand the solar wind,
the whisper of a stranger in a language
beyond our reach, the void in reverse.
It may be too late to reveal aliens
in human forms, multiple moons.
This lesson plan has been shot to hell
by a reluctance to ask for assistance,
a map that we can unroll together.
Let’s play connect the dots and link lines
to constellations where love trumps doom.
America’s Top Fortune Cookie Writer Is Quitting
It wasn’t from writer’s block and fatigue, the lucky number
lottery winners and affairs tied to love is in the air fortunes.
It was because his final advice was for a nation, bloated
from its election last supper, confusing message received.
It was not the writer’s dreams, one per fortune, happiness
cut short in a rain of white paper shrapnel from angry Gods.
It was: You should not invite a fox to brunch and expect he’ll
stop with the eggs. Which came first: children or bloodshed?
It wasn’t the time I slapped the cookie on my forehead to open
it, sage wisdom trickling into my psyche and down my forehead.
It was the power of unrolled scrolls with crackling incantations
for we the people, our roundtable debate on the meaning of we.
Tech Firm Starts Microchipping Employees so They Can Buy Potato Chips
Some say it began when the vending machines could accept
credit cards. New products popped overnight, the sweet-salt
matrix replaced by building blocks of food, deconstructed
sandwiches, ingredients for microwaveable pilafs and stews.
The machines reproduced with dizzying choices. Every one
hundredth item was an envelope and those who opened them
began using the chips in their arms to free up hidden combos.
Work became even more of a gamble than signing the forms
abdicating the company of responsibility for asbestos foam
and owning each word as intellectual property. The items
could be combined to evoke infinite bliss or erections,
perfect eyesight and the gift to ignore the pain of others,
humanity in the form of an emoji or to reimagine higher
math as a way to explain the dance party on the roof
of the pyramid. Someone had suggested the next phase
was to purchase others to use as things, and management
feared their own menu would be on display, the bar codes
and happy hour chats strung in a chain on screen savers,
the building itself replicating fresh meat in cubicle slots,
sky hands plucking whatever tumbled free to the bottom.
(Featured image by Alexis Rhone Fancher)
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A longtime resident of Los Angeles, Martin Ott has published eight books of poetry and fiction, most recently LESSONS IN CAMOUFLAGE, C&R Press, 2018. The poems in this issue of Cultural Weekly are part of his manuscript FAKE NEWS POEMS. His first two poetry collections won the De Novo and Sandeen Prizes. His work has appeared in more than two hundred magazines and fifteen anthologies.