I was leaving the CVS with a new toothbrush, pack of Q-Tips, and a 4-pack of sugar-free Red Bull when the moon emerged from the shadows and asked me for a cigarette.

“Sorry, I don’t smoke.”

“Whatever.  People are so fucking health conscious these days.”

“Say, aren’t you the moon?”  I recognized the craters!

“Yeah.  So?”

“Wow—this is amazing!  Aren’t you supposed to be up in the sky, making the night go, inspiring dreams, and controlling the tides?”

“I took a break.  Most of that shit can run on autopilot when it has to.”  She went back to leaning against her telephone pole.

“You’re not as shiny up close.”

“It’s all special effects.  What about a couple of bucks?  I really need a smoke.”

“Well, yeah, ok, here.  Do you want me to buy them for you?  How are you going to fit through that door?”  She was somewhat between a quarter and a crescent.  I couldn’t tell the difference between her hair and the light from the nearby streetlight.

“No, it’s cool.  I got it.”

“Hey, I just realized—this is awesome!  The Sun appeared to Frank O’Hara and Vladimir Mayakovsky.  Now, you’re the Moon, right, and you’re appearing to me?  I’m so happy!  I’m finally a part of the canon!  What do you have to tell me?  What should I do?  What inspiration will you bestow?  The word ‘bestow’ is a moon-like word, right?”

“Look, I’ve never heard of you.  Bruce, right?  Don’t go nuts on me with all of your moon stereotypes.  I don’t give a shit whether you write poems.  I just want a fucking cigarette.  Now give me the 5 bucks?”

“No, really, you’ve appeared to who—Keats?  Blake?  Milton?  Probably Wordsworth?  Hey, why do you only appear to old white guys?  Why not Alice Notley or Mei-mei Berssenbrugge or Harryette Mullen?  Diana—may I call you Diana?”

“What the fuck?  Why do I always have to be such a crazy-magnet?  What’d I do to deserve this shit?  Look, just keep the five bucks and …”

“Wait, but you’ve GOT to give me a message!  A sign!  How will I get into Postmodern American Poetry, 3rd Ed., or Legitimate Dangers, 2nd Ed.?  That’s what you’re here for, right?!?!  You’ve got to be!!!”

The Moon shook her head in disgust and turned her back on me, stepping over to her Chevrolet Impala.  She opened the driver’s door, then turned back to me.

“Look, I don’t know shit about poetry.  Fucking poets are always staring at me, talking at me, writing about me.  I’m fucking sick of it.  You want inspiration?  Use fucking google, like the Flarfists do.  They’re a whole lot healthier than you, with your no-smoking policies and Q-Tips and sugar-free drinks.  Yeah, I can see through the bag.  So what?  You’re just another flesh bag.  Fuck off.  & don’t ever call me Diana!”

And with not another word, the Moon drove her Impala up to the sky and resumed her place among the stars.

“Goodnight, Moon.  Goodnight light and the red balloon.”

In the morning, I realized the Moon DID know something about poetry, with her references to Flarf.  And she gave me this so-so poem.  I haven’t started smoking, but I do like the new Blueberry-flavored Red Bull, with sugar.


Photo By: Dale