Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 43
Second New Moon, 2022

Featured artwork, Baby Orange on Fire, by Charlotte Hamrick

New Works

Richard Weaver

The Topiaries Are Menacing

the box hedges again, dear. I've asked them not to for a fortnight with small change. You know how uppity they are in spring. How nasty they can be. I've already threatened them with the gardener's dullest loppers. Not one shivered. It's as if they know he's now in rehab learning, we hope, to clip with his feet after his dreadful chain-sawing accident. What's this world's coming to, love? What's up is now round. What was once right is somehow a punishable crime. The sun still shines on occasion, but prefers to hide behind grotesque clouds of viscous rain. Even the moon moans all night as owls mumble Esperanto. Once we had children, though many years ago. I'm sure we must have misplaced them. Yard rats they were, and pests, I mean pets, though the difference is diddly I admit. Gawd the troubles we had keeping up with their numbers for tax purposes, even after we had them neutered or spayed at discount. Whose idea was it to call them after Roman numerals? Your mother's or mine? Seems like something we might have magicked on a less than sober day. Still, we remember those times, the good days as the best of daze, don't we? They were, weren't they? Otherwise, how can I call them something they weren't or might have imagined? Oh, the mysteries of language distilled, processed, repurposed by cranial chemicals and sparking neurons are worse than waterboarding. Bring on senility, I say. Let loose the dogs of dementia upon this demented earth. Herd the snails of this doomed planet onto a spaceship for safe haven. Sing loud the Apocalypso. I have veins like rivers to open, if needed, for the general cause. Or, we could share a shark-infested pool at our time-share condo if you prefer. A last stand at a horrible price. At least it had no shrubberies. And no G-d topiaries. Palm trees cannot be counted as such. They are simple accidents of nature. Much like children. Or did we rent them for tax reasons? No matter. I remember, distinctly, women, many, who wandered the house for years. All were oddly named Nanny. Such a large distended family it was. Some answered inexplicably to Nana. I never understood and I guess I never will if I live until I die. This life is such a crackerjack box of confusion. No matter how often you pick this scab, or ignore it, it remains unhealed. Not picking is somehow worse. Makes no sense, you say. How's talking about topiaries vs hedges sound to you? Crazed? More than a little lopsided? At least we‘re alive enough to have this conversation. I accept your proud silence, once again, as formal agreement.

Richard Weaver is the author of The Stars Undone (Duende Press, 1992), and he provided the libretto for a symphony, Of Sea and Stars (2005), performed 4 times to date. Recently his 130th prose poem was published.

This poem is from a never-ending series of intergenerics or {Ir}Rational Narratives. They have not appeared previously in any incarnation or format. These are strange, even by my usual substandards. As Bruck Cockburn sings it: "The trouble with normal is it always gets worse."