George T. Mormann

Tag: poetry

So as to Mimic Their Natural Environment

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The Author’s 10 Gallon Betta Riverbed

I take solace in
decorating
aquariums
for my pet fish.
This is my sole
purview, no less
relentless than
destiny, or
one’s career.

I research their
native ponds, read
the curvature
of every
twig so I may
learn how to reach
beneath currents
and transfer my
solace unto
them,
my pet fish.

I google how
stones lay themselves
on the river
floor, seamlessly
bound to the next
like a necklace
carelessly, yet
thoughtfully
tossed away by
a whimsical,
but scorned woman.

If only I
could ask her how,
how to place each
rock so they might
spawn a blanket
of moss because
I will forget
to feed my fish
on some days.

Kin (Pt. 5)

The Gift

happened.

Brought by a tamed macaw
that winked
perched on the mother’s arm who
posed for photos when the time of their day
saw the rift betwixt dusk and the waves they swam
spill over from the weight of her tomorrows latent sun.

Seduced out of her homesickness
she wore the emerald necklaces strung
on the walls of hot bungalows
for nine nights without the haze
wrapped around Meister Bräu bottlenecks
in South Shore taverns.

Her in-laws admired the boy’s eyes—
as blue as they remembered Warsaw.

His only memory of Illinois
was the idle of his Ford Pinto
that kept him on the side of the road.

So he flew the coupe

hitchhiked to Midway

found a job in California
and only calls for the holidays.

Kin (Pt. 4)

The Namesake

was a farmer in the sandbox of his youth
tending a herd of plastic cattle that
grazed on alleyway grass and the weeds of
eroding pavement. Come suppertime he
corralled pink monoliths of hogs in
the confines of a picket fence he kept
in his back pocket. He dreamed of being
a farmer and George happens to
mean “agrarian” in Greek but in Chicago
George means factory foreman and
machinist and his father’s father’s father
harvested iron and copper in a junkyard
where he unearthed immigrant woe
beneath wooden streets and
made his nephews believe him when he
said buffalo roamed the corner of
Archer & Ashland yonder.

He grew up and the course of his name
changed with the scenery.
He discovered fire in an abandoned lot
in Englewood when he curiously set an
old couch aflame and his attempt at boosting
a freight train failed when the conductor
chased him away as he ran off with
the lantern that hung from the caboose.
He carried that gaslight South to a barren
sea of soybeans where his Grandfather lived in
an island of fruit trees and insisted the boy
stay lest the city keep him young and forever.
He grew his hair long and kept his troubles
short and let his car speak for him

as he raced through the rural cosmos
in his sixty-four Ford Galaxie.

Kin (Pt. 3)

The Middle Child

oft-abandoned his kin on park benches
in Sherman Lagoon like a Tasmanian
devil baby sacrificing the rest of
his mother’s brood as if she fed
them all from a single teet.
The pugnacious toddler whose
world was a back of the yards
barroom littered with pewter jacks
and slippery with piss and vinegar
picked fights with feral cats
and brawled with the gnats in the air.
Boisterous
big-shouldered
his skin was the powder of the clay
that built the rough parts of the city
and it formed his gut and balls
and his mother
hard immigrant who played favorites
would say that the clay sprouted a
third nut in place of his brain.

Then one day his nemesis
the snapping turtle whose lair was
a kingdom of mud and Green River bottles
had snapped his new fishing pole in two.
He swore revenge on the machinations
of nature and for the rest of his life
planted the earth with stray golf balls
and shotgun shells
conquering the cornfields
in Mossy Oaks camouflaged pullovers
and polyester polo tees stamped with
the costly emblems of horsemen and alligators.

Funny that a man of such
Caligulaic persuasion
would still tremble at the creak
of his mother’s rocking chair.

Kin (Pt. 2)

The First Boy

lived from his thumbs to his elbows
rocketing marbles toward lines
traced across lawns between neighbors
black and white diaspora
that saw humble plight
and played for keeps
but never together.
He lived a block from the train tracks
content in his boyhood
the bliss his parents
a pair of grey swans
sought in the alley-thin serenity
within the seasons of great migrations
and white flight. Can there be an
hour of peace between families outside
the nests of their dinner tables?

The father—
Polish stock from a Bridgeport kitchenette.
The mother—
Olive-hued import from a Burmese plantation.

and she called from the window
to their boy to wash up for supper
and he replied with a clacking
of colored orbs pouncing
on one another before settling
in the mud of the yards
for the rest of the night.