HOW TO KIDNAP A POET (August Postcard Poetry 2017)

Find the shoebox that housed Mary Magdalene’s black stilettos.

Ditch the pumps before the apostles arrive.

Keep the box.


Take Salvador Dali out for a night of cheap beer and wings

then bring him back to your apartment.


Gift him a small plastic tray of cake watercolors

and a paintbrush dipped in sweat.

Set him loose on the shoebox.


Maintain a constant loop of Jimi Hendrix on the stereo,

ideally at 80 decibels, no higher or lower.


Hail a cab for Dali and send him packing

when the imagery becomes frightening.


Line the box with tissue paper woven from irrelevant ideas,

the more erratic the better.


Sharpen an exacto knife on Satan’s top molars,

being sure to pay the devil his due.


Slice out the longest-bodied noun

on page 214 of the Oxford English Dictionary, pre-1971,

careful to openly sing its praises

until the word is safely ensconced in the box.


Continue to flip through the lexicon

until a hyperactive verb vaults out.


Grab it immediately by the tail,

careful not to harm any soft vowels.


Dump it inside the box.

The noun will exert a calming influence.


Gentle humming will ensue.

Pay no attention.


Before securing the lid,

add a drop of cheap bourbon

and the dead ashes of a French cigarette.


Tie the box securely with a string of expletives

and escort the package

to a pre-determined coffee-house.


Find a secluded table in the back

and set the trap.


He had kidnapped over thirty-six poets

using this method

but never once received any ransom.


Copyright 2017

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