July 25, 2016
One in a series republishing 10 poems — about everyday objects and pop culture avatars — by HiLobrow friend and contributor Steph Burt.
SELF-PORTRAIT AS MUPPET
everywhere, I am one of you.
I came from a swamp too.
It was hard to get out, even harder to be
young and green
and try to please children, but hardest of all
how to run the whole show: I nevertheless
supposedly in sole charge
of a dance marathon, a masochistic
acrobat, a pig addicted to lipstick
who holds black belts in several
a talking shag rug eight feet tall, a bear
who tries and tries and fails to entertain,
a pantomime horse whose parts
refuse to leave their Day-Glo yard,
a rock band, and a Pepto-Bismol colored
of cows from Mars who only know
Mahna mahna, whatever that means.
I need a rest.
I sigh, I sag, I shrug in my canvas chair
and perk up again to chat with tonight’s
who asks me why my eyes bug out.
I used to sit on a wall
all day and read the news. Now we go on
in ten, and I am happy to tell
you what almost anyone
who seems to be running things
will say once you catch us backstage:
than we can ever get is pulling the strings.
Copyright © 2013 by Stephen Burt. Reprinted from BELMONT with the permission of the author and Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
STEPH BURT at HILOBROW: KEEPERS (10 poems) | GENO (EPIC WINS series) | NO KILL I (KIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM series) | ENTANGLEMENT (HERMENAUTIC TAROT series) | HAPPY BIRTHDAY (QUIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM series).
CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators