“Envelope”, “Morning Papers Waltz” and “Auction”


T-boning the line at the post office, two Bart Simpson clones

Flip off a curmudgeonly Ned Flanders on the fly. So I gift

The blond, freckled duo a poem from the envelope, one

About Nero crucifying Peter upside down. To a suit badgering

His wife to cut in line for duck stamps I fork over a poem

Venerating the shorn head of Orpheus ambling down the Hebrus.

Rifling through the envelope I exculpate a poem

About Robert Johnson whipping up a malted milkshake

For Baal at the crossroad, plant it in the palm of a lady bombinating

Over her son’s slurping habit. “What gives with that envelope mister?”

A hectoring wise guy ribs from back of the line. “It holds

Answers to America’s cornflake addiction,” I rifle back.

“Got anything fragile, liquid, perishable, or potentially hazardous

In that envelope?” the counter clerk trills in her best Meryl Streep

Impression. “Possibly,” I shoot back. “Such are

Things partisan, frangible, sunny.” I watch

As she plants a kiss on the envelope with a rubber stamp,

And the walled mug shots beam ineluctable, flatliner smiles.

Morning Papers Waltz1

It’s like being chained to some dead actress;

& she keeps trying to tell you something horribly maudlin.

–Amiri Baraka

Salutations to anarchist bean eaters of Chiapas.

Salutations to Antifa wunderkinder chasing pieces of a man.

Salutations to the phallus, the vagina, the viviparous.

Section A

We’ve boozed ourselves for over 9,000 years.

Rogue cop pulls trigger in a fit of bedspring jitters.

Six-year olds juiced on Adderall rob hipsters at gunpoint.

Salutations to subway dreamers and spearmint gum.

Salutations to asphyxiating oil addiction and asthmatic Raqqa streets.

Salutations to corporate welfare recipients mewing at public troughs.

Section B

62 Down: “How much ____ much?”

Garfield exculpates a can of tuna in the attic.

25 Across: So precious for Shell or ExxonMobil

Salutations to loutish horoscopes and redemptive parity.

Salutations to cancer wards throwing their weight around.

Salutations to frenemies of Blac Chyna and sumo wrestlers of nihilism.

Section C

Cagey nooses wash ashore on Instagramic beaches.

In fits and starts, the new Cortés tweets his frog perspective.

Nice rural families grow bullish on the prison industrial complex.

1Textual riff on Johann Strauss’s Morgenblätter (1863), the Morning Papers Waltz.


The auctioneer migrates

from Hoosier cant to pidgin scat.

Shadows trade up from white

pickets to whiter hydrangeas.

Sweat bees sift between powdered

donuts and bottled musk.

Wiry kids tethered to grass stains swap out

Fred Waring for Billie Holiday on the Victrola.

A lover braced against another changes her mind

about bidding on the Elmer Fudd doll.

One shotgun fetish, she opines, elbow

bumping her soulmate, is enough.

About the Author

Renoir Gaither

Renoir Gaither writes from St. Paul, MN, takes Afrofuturism, symbolic interactionism, and helicoptering seeds in autumn seriously. His poetry has appeared in Gambling the Aisle, Third Point Press, and Yellow Chair Review.

Read more work by Renoir Gaither.