Love Removal Machine

(For Elyse)

Winter, 2016–2017 / No. 38

The day’s a crown we’d all want to wear, yet

few silent stars survived the transition to talkies.

Johnny Weissmuller, as per his dying wish, was

counted out with three signature Tarzan yells.

The lord of bad choices made seventy-nine whereas second wife, Lupe Vélez,

(Mexican Spitfire) rode out a cloud of Seconal at thirty-eight.

Many felt that was Gary Cooper’s fault. Maybe it was.

In Keanu Reeves’ return to the stage in Winnipeg, as Hamlet

no less, the audience broke into spontaneous laughter

on the line: “My excellent good friends!”

Life’s a bad writer. Ask the lead singers of

passable hair bands now working shifts as greeters

while Rush reigns as mid-America’s mid-market monsters.

Great art demands a great audience. Frye boots and mullets,

see-through net vests and poets’ blouses—you can guess

where things went awry with this particular cult.

Much like this crowned day; its worry it won’t pass for normal.

Normal meaning the mean, mean meaning what it usually does.

The world drags you down. Still, there are doves, gold sounds,

bees, having trouble with their direction. Wild flower, I love

you every hour. Isn’t everything alive a kind of come-on?

Shadows of geese, gulls, the biggest asteroids rolling

over your shoulders as you ride the August light.

Doorbell’s been disabled, screen door latched, still you’d

swear each morning you were roused by knocking.

The Witnesses never ask for shit, but look at them—

the script, the outfits—they’re selling something.

So many different ways of doing, maybe the only sure

thing is the best bad guitar solo in arena rock history.

Check the bootlegs: that dude never does it any better.

Common sense holds you can’t doubt you’re doubting.

But find me anything interesting that’s not done at least that.

Kevin Connolly is a poet, freelance editor, and the author of several poetry collections, including Xiphoid Process. He was Taddle Creek’s copy editor from 2003 to 2022, and first contributed poetry in 2002. Last updated fall, 2022.
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