Can Somebody Please Clean the KY Off Q’s EKG?
Dennis Mahagin

when my single bed spins on musty fulcrum
of ennui like Toto & Dorothy with brains fused,
flushed plumb out from Kansas in the eye
of twister & free

floating insomnia, I briefly consider the Fly
in the Ointment;

then, in a brave act of imagination, I take up
a tooth-marked Sharpie pen cap—core source recorder
of all my worst heart palpitations—proceeding at once
to rescue that fly from its imminent miasma of Ointment
laced with frothy-pink anemone fingers, like a Tequila
Sunrise Super Nova primed to engulf all godforsaken
insects, forever.
“HOLD ON!” I cry, as if Mister Fly is but a tiny
Indiana Jones, with two twitchy feelers clutching
the Sharpie pen cap as a survivor ladder spooled
from some toy Predator Drone flying low & slow
over a bubbly volcano, and this fly,
it dangles there,
in mid-air
for a moment or two, clutched between my thumbnail cuticle
and forefinger, until I carefully place it on the sun-swashed
window sill—to dry in the sweet heat, shake loose the horrible
ointment, to live, and fly, and make beautiful rainbows of
larvae another day. . .

* * *

It was never the insect’s fault. I personally hold all
Ointment responsible, the awful Ointment and the men
who flog it like Texas auctioneers with boatloads of snake
oil in 40-gallon drums, holy Ointment Rollers trolling
supermarket aisles and ultra-quick, broad bandwidth
of Infomercial, a thousand and one dun shades
of Ointment—as so much dirty slush and
Trans Fat packed around the hair ball heart
of a rabid, feral tomcat.

It wouldn’t be so bad, if they hadn’t called it
Ointment—if, instead they’d used a word like

frangelico or chartreuse, perfect for soothing
the acne-scarred, overweight adolescent kid
while he smears it on his poor pink prick
turned to hamburger from whacking in rhythm
with the porn vids, or a middle-aged heart patient
with plethora of bed sores, waiting for a transplant
and/or the cold solace of Ointment;
Ointment for the long-suffering wife of a Hedge Fund Hog
who picked up Herpes Simplex from a so-called High Class
Whore on his last business trip to Singapore—it wouldn’t be

quite as sad for a forty-something widow, working her spanking
new job as Wal-Mart Greeter; stiff-backed in the pedestal seat,
she forces her death mask grin for every shopper coming out and/or
going in, defying the horrible din of sucking sounds the Ointment
makes, like salt marsh reeds lashing at her beet-red hemorrhoids,
all of this, so she can stay gainfully employed, for the Health
Care Benefits
, and maybe a little extra bread which she can butter
with more and more, and more Ointment—but you see, that’s

the way it goes, Ointment is the word they chose mainly
because it’s a name perfectly suited for calling up our deepest
shame, while shelling out hard-won cash for some shady spew
doesn’t even help you, half the time, and often makes matters
worse. Much, much worse. Meanwhile, they’re laughing at you— 
petroleum tears of prurient mirth clouding Costco’s Eye in
the Sky, they are up there, alright, watching for the inevitable
Nose Pick and Eyelid Tic, the Ass Itch that just won’t quit
biting back in public, they’re primed in fact to put the whole
sticky roll of digital video on TMZ come the second Tuesday
after next.

* * *

during a particularly bad bout
of arrhythmia, with egress seemingly
moments away from sudden cardiac
arrest, I envision my writhing heart

as a fly’s double-sided eyeball—desperately
blinking back a bitter milkweed Money Shot,

my poor gummed-up lung-wings half-
submerged in hot tar and carbolic,
while I hawk up a fistful of death’s head phlegm
for these men, rub it in real deep—shiny, black
as anthracite, an obscene gob of SP 215, CO-2,
airplane glue with orangey dollops of Napalm-Lite,
and if you look closely enough you might just catch
my white-capped chin, when it tips all the way
back—like some doomed Field Sobriety Test, thin
chapped lips wrapped around a long mnemonic
drool string of Noxzema Novena:
“With this Goo, I christen and chastise you, in the name
of the Holiest Sacrament of Ointment, now and forever, but
never again . . . Never ever ever-ever-ever ever
again . . . AMEN.” 

It sounds kind of silly—the part about
the Goo—but invariably I feel much,
much better, after saying it, and I got  
a strong feeling that
you will, too.

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