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Living Room Lollipops

They have canceled everything
so they can stay in power
the up has been anted
negative rain and socks
that won’t stay on my feet

the dolphins are laughing
in the darkened chamber
in Minneapolis
privilege has a way of counting on itself
there is a big spoonful of cherry in the park

the city is a congestion of wheezing
automobiles and the tundra doesn’t get any closer
and the massacre runs through the streets
stabbing everything
as clowns give children rides on donkeys

outside of the cathedral of football stadiums
language waits like tenderloins
at a lunch counter
there is a blue bus that drops you off at 1959

Milton Berle dresses like a woman
wrinkles his nose
and smokes a cigar
they are giving out generous samples of kosher dill pickles
at the A&P
don’t forget to collect your Green Stamps

save up for the transistor radio
and listen to Buddy Holly and the Crickets
and the solemn prayer of midnight
that stamps your brain like a pewter medallion
of the Virgin Mary

it’s weather beacon green no change foreseen
you work and work breaking down cardboard boxes
on the loading dock
and you don’t get any richer
but the watermelons and peaches roll into magic pyramids
at the fruit market
which always smells like sweetness and dirt


Rustin Larson’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, North American Review, Poetry East, Saranac Review and other magazines. The Wine-Dark House (Blue Light Press, 2009) is his latest collection. Crazy Star, his previous, was selected for the Loess Hills Book’s Poetry Series in 2005. Larson won 1st Editor’s Prize from Rhino magazine in 2000 and has won prizes for his poetry from The National Poet Hunt and The Chester H. Jones Foundation among others. A seven-time Pushcart nominee, and graduate of the Vermont College MFA in Writing, Larson was an Iowa Poet at The Des Moines National Poetry Festival in 2002 & 2004, a featured writer in the DMACC Celebration of the Literary Arts in 2007 & 2008, and he was a featured poet at the Poetry at Round Top Festival in May 2012.