Jan 20, 2009

Rube Goldberg Draws the Human Heart

Written by M.C. Allan

Read by Chris Wong

Her hair shining in afternoon light, 
a lower register in a voice rich with innuendo; 

                                           anything's a catalyst 

            dropped into the hungry funnel 
                                  of the eyes or ears (the machine
                                  abhors a vacuum). 

                                             It winds 
                                  on narrow rails downwards, 
                                             dropping finally 

                                                      into a still green pool
                                                              that begins to bubble and fizz.

                       The hiss of carbonation wakes 
                                  the dog 
                                             (much-loved yellow dog that 
                       died years back, lay down 
                       in the shade of the maple and never got up) 
                                  that still resides--

                                  some days playful, romp-ready, others 
                                             swollen and buzzed by flies--

                       beside the small propeller which begins
                                             to turn in the breeze of the dog's wag 
                                                        (pleased to be noticed again 
                       after many months of slumber in the dark). 

Before the rush of wind 
                       a small blue flame leaps up; continues leaping, 
                       each time higher, 
                                  burning the string that has secured 
                                  a creaking pulley bearing buckets full of 

                                              smell of mother's shampoo     

                                                 shreds of skinned knee      

                                                     father's voice at the door      

                                                        hairy thing under the bed        

                                                                        summer's best tomato

                       which each in turn 
                                                 descend to strike a ledge 
                       that overturns the buckets one by one 
                                                                   into a chute that drains
                                                                              into a vat where
                                  they combine and ball into a glob

                                       that shines as bright as mercury 

                                           then gels heavy as lead 
                                                     mottled with pale tissue of a burn
                                                 and drops through the final tube to land
                                                 on a conveyor belt that bears it to his hand. 
                       Here, this is for you, 
                                  with your shining hair.
                        Speak; set 
                                  this absurd machine to work; 

                                  make its gears notch, 
                                  make its slight flame flare.