“Nomadic Geometric Proofs” by Joseph Reich

Nomadic Geometric Proofs:
a surreal hx of western civilization

1. a hallway ticking in a clock
2. a shadow of a juggler but no juggler
3. a shadow of a skyline but nothing inside
4. a mouse swallowing a piece of wax fruit
metamorphosizing into a pear-shaped tuba
5. a whole family wrapped in vacuum-tight safety-proof
furniture wrap to keep all memories & facts in tact
6. a whole patch of sunflowers which squirt
slapstick liquid made to trigger laughter
planted in the tuxedo of toot shores
sprouting from robe of dolly llama
7. a sputtering electric candelabra
in some lone solitary caravan on
the distant & splintered fugitive ocean
8. a shipwreck with long lines of tourists
lined-up at the buffet, old timers in dark
spats playing shuffleboard, aloof obnoxious
women playing cards on deck & the schmaltzy
balding middle-aged band still bent over instruments
9. a lone deer which just shows up late at night to
the window of the jack london with its beat-up
blinking lights strung-up for the holiday season
& all the bums & madmen & drag queens
passed-out in the lobby, while before you
know it just vanishes into thin air into the brilliant
vacant emptiness of the season not sure if this image
was reality or simply an illusion yet when it really
comes down to it not sure if any of that matters
10. one of those deep dark dives with dusty
trophies lined in the bleary-eyed window
composed of nodding-out veterans, drug
dealers & wealthy daughter starving artists
11. a cracked snow globe which just feels like the here
& now she-loves-me she-loves-me-not stagnant future
12. laughing sisters strolling down the avenue at dusk
spitting sunflower seeds into each others scalp
unaware making it all that much more hysterical
13. the palm reader’s sons bawling her out in the window
for stretching the truth & being out of touch focusing
too much on the future & not enough on the past
14. a mote drying-out on a clothesline outside a castle
while a pervert with binoculars watches the king’s
slut-virginal daughter dancing naked & whimsical
after she comes out the shower preparing for
a life of seduction & turning young boys wild
a wild child feeling persistently brow-beaten
& taken advantage of by an overbearing
impossible to please father & without
even being aware of it turns to a life
of crime constantly running away
to carnivals & battles; a battering
ram & batons left in the tool shed
of the gardener pretty much responsible
for raising both children; the court jester
& king’s fool building card castles in the
courtyard out of tarot cards which predict
the future ironically tipsy beneath the full moon
15. the girl next door spying on me through keyhole
me peeking through sycamores to the prison on shore
16. a general store made up of trap doors & folklore trampling
in like some vagabond whose seen too much of the world
engaging in a natural stimulating rapport with a wholesome
wife with flowing red hair & walking out feeling like a new
man finally at last content not having a single plan returning
to your hole in the wall in the hall of the holy mountains
17. a porcelain pagoda with thimbles on the sill filled with
drizzle for the chameleons & hummingbirds in the hills
18. a lumber truck loaded up with timber just to build secret cabins
next to taverns in the forest for long-lost lovers & companions
19. plates pasted to wall glued & pieced together of elvis & the queen
of england due to a history of dysfunction & domestic violence
20. an all-you-can-eat feast for the stoning at the dinner theater
putting on performances by moliere & tennessee williams
21. those sweltering summers used to sit inside childhood matinees
watching westerns where you swear it felt like it was raining all
day hearing the faraway tremulous distant echoes of holy thunder
not sure if a part of the movie or something between the heavens
& down under & when you exited the theater back to the remains
of the strange insane blinding sun all that was leftover were those
still & sacred puddles pristine immaculate not exactly sure where
they had come from glistening reflecting wondering what
had happened with a sense of rebirth & redemption…
those brown paper lunch bags stuffed
with moon pies & boloney sandwiches
22. trucks stuffed with ex-convicts & slapstick comedians
rambling over bridges to move grand pianos for miserable
widows in their victorians up on the tippy-top of mountains
forced to tippy-toe in their filthy socks up winding staircases
everyone always cussing & threatening each other
runaway kids returning home from the circus
23. the haunted blinking radiotower up on the pinnacle of the precipice
& island of deaf children always heard howling through the forest
24. an old black dope addict nodding-out over the beat & buzzing
of his buffing machine unknowingly & unconsciously doing
figure-eights in the lobby of an ice skating rink while some
zombie-zamboni-freak with multiple personalities gets
stimulated by the ritual & routine of his repetitive reality
both placated by the stray olfactory scents spewing from
their contraptions like some hustler-thief in a midnight
garden of overwhelming exotic wild orchid & magnolia
25. wind chimes with their mad rollicking improvisational
symphony before a storm and wind fluttering through
the leaves like a stadium full of monks collectively
chanting in robes not caring at all about the score.
after the rain falls shattered flowers like violent
swans with necks bent over on the prowl
26. horses like holy hearses being transported in
caravans in the mad clandestine rainy nighttime
27. a little wicker basket pushed down the mad river of tears
a little later on a silhouette in loin cloth nailed to the cross
suffering alone shedding the selfsame tears shedding his skin
wondering what he did to deserve this somewhere between the
pyramids & pillars & watering hole & river blues traveler bob dylan
(neil young solo) playing long mean harmonica heart brings you back
28. taking shots coming off shotgun bus on-the-run at dusk
in a long-lost sunken barroom behind the musty mustard
curtains beneath the stars of the bars of a lace curtain lounge
of an asylum of a rising skeleton skyscraper glowing phosphorescent
& foreign in the smog of a radiant ghost town of historic cobblestone
29. a convention of spies followed by slow ballroom dancing
in a schmaltzy hotel in the heart of a heartless city
all stuffed in the breast pocket of a tweed jacket
reeking of pipe smoke & after-dinner brandy
all around that industrial area where they print
counterfeit money & old puppeteer getting
evicted for refusing to go condominium
30. a modest flamboyant waiter who shuffles
through the brilliant darkness bringing
a lit candelabra & dagger & the funnies &
bifocals knowing you don’t want to be bothered
or part of the buffet of all-inclusive exclusive tourists
31. a steam shovel which pushes a whole skyline
right into the ocean where mutant seahorses are
giving birth to stand-in monsters, rebbes in togas
caught with their pants down getting blown by drag
queens in the meat market & the wives of investment
bankers who claim asylum due to husbands who no longer
pay attention to them & to get back at them have affairs
with much younger men willing to give them their first
orgasm & final memories of paris which they claimed
was promised & owed to them in the form of a 20 year
mutual bond in the institution of marriage & never given
the chance or opportunity due to spiteful family members,
absentee father figures & soulless sluts from the suburbs
& now build brand-new kingdoms straight from the shag
carpet used parts of that part of the imagination & innocent
studs they picked up simply minding their own business not
knowing what hit them willing to go all out for them from
the other side of the tracks on their way to grand central
station & will get them all back at ribbon-cutting ceremonies,
ventriloquist conventions, high school reunions, mafia
weddings & fellow divorcees & bums at bar-mitzvahs
32. ex-convict becomes an exhibitionist wandering naked through
penthouse with a pair of binoculars religiously strung around
neck like some transitional-object he hopes to never forget
while across the street in florescence a bible club meets
along with alcoholic’s anonymous & dog obedience;
studs hanging-out outside with pool sticks in silhouette
33. strolling around the central park reservoir always imagine
those muted howling faces in the glowing faded autumn
of wealthy widows’ tarnished chandeliers whose wise
ass sons take on a life of crime behind the blinds
of beautiful bleak-boo-joie balustrade buildings
34. in truth first thing astronauts saw when they landed
on the moon was a staticky transistor tuned to the blues
jesus crucified on a box of wheaties
which just reads “breakfast of champions”
35. a mayor on top of float in top hat with bullet holes waving
with porn queen to all those pimps & prostitutes who voted
for him in an incestuous town made up of mimes & clowns
36. young ladies who have been betrayed & cheated on by their men
hollering like a nightmare in front of real estate agencies on the curb
37. librarians mutely wailing in the porthole windows of victorians in drizzle
38. drunken chaperone single mothers whispering in the thunder of gymnasium
39. coyotes sleepwalk past the cathedral, past the cinema, past the corner
diner & disappear down the alley into the valley of moonshine mountains
40. gorgeous red-haired waitresses working at boxcar diners next door to
bridal shops always with the spirit of phantoms in flowing silk dresses
41. the profile of a cat burglar scaling the side of a building with suction
cups & secret potion to knock out residents & rip off diamonds & pearls
42. waiters on strike demanding respect from tourists & coquettish
older women obnoxiously passive-aggressively flirting with them
43. a feast of aristocrats & madmen at the afternoon chinese buffet
44. dogs tied up to corner in the lightning & thunder during a matinee
45. a drizzle falls on the village bringing bear down from the mountain
& old timers with their wagons dragging cases of pabst blue ribbon
a crow flies through the mist of the peppermint wilderness…
46. wealthy white women with kleptomania problems taking off in
tears & tiaras in long gold cadillacs their husbands purchased
for them exactly like treating them like just another possession
47. a glass animal collection suspiciously shattered on mantle
48. daughters with nymphomaniac problems spreading open
alabaster legs in front of smart phones in bathroom stalls
their fathers from vaudeville with drinking problems
& napoleonic complexes on line at unemployment;
when they both get home they’ll try to put their
split-level in the suburbs out with buckets of fire
firemen arrive whispering gossip & rumors…
49. young girls from the block with no life in their
eyes mechanically hula-hooping for their lives
50. a full house which rises up above the moonshine
51. a teacher making out with his student right in front
of the courthouse with smoke from the pig roast
52. a white trash cop in leather boots & ten-gallon
not man enough to give a ticket to a devil on
a motorcycle acting like a wannabe rebel peeling
through town but will pull over a housewife going
a couple miles over (most likely for issues he does
not have control over) & then give her his infamous
ridiculous passive-aggressive male chauvinist lecture
53. not too dissimilar than those affluent industrialists
from columbia in white tuxedos with handlebar
moustaches & straw hats who used to come over
in riverboats to do business in an area so dense
& thick & verdant couldn’t even get a shovel
through the jungle & where the pan-american
highway ended with endless twisting rivers
& jesus christ lizards dancing over lilypads
giving the impression they’re walking
on water & water hippos & white monkeys
swinging from the tree line in the distance
54. the bloated human cannonball & thin tall
strung-out giant dragging his pair of pawn
shop stilts returning home through the chop
stick alley of the movie theater to weather
worn wraparound porches in a land of hippies
& lawyers with chemical dependency problems
55. the old perverted usher wanders
down cobblestone in the thunder
56. the rest are swingers who act elitist & bourgeois
mowing their lawns with ascots on & preach
& pass judgment on their first born expecting
the best of manners who only end up eventually
parroting poor behavior or turning overly-formal
57. a church woman in the choir with a diagnosis
of munchausen disorder condemns all the liars
(while brainwashing bewildered children) but has never
done one honest thing in her higher-than-holy existence
58. a wax museum full of martyrs who’ve been brutally assassinated
59. a country who blindly worships & gives omniscient status
to doctors & politicians & talk show hosts & soldiers
60. a real true-blue wanderer the son of a senator blowing his shofar
in the shadows of decadent cobblestone alleys of foreign cities
61. a chain gang still cuffed around wrists & ankles sharing
triple scoops with sprinkles cracking-up at the creamery
62. the mistress still dressed-up in whips & leather
taking measured sips of her tea at the coffee shop
63. in the feint distance in the man-made canals
acrobats on rafts swallowing swords & fire
64. a lighthouse whimsically winking for lost
romantics like a brooding bird on a wire
65. a pristine beach which overlooks a smoggy
polluted skyline full of silhouetted fire escapes
& spires from the beginning to the end of time
66. the smokestack steeples where they used to keep
the orphanages shoot past your window from gare
de lyon down to the decadent palm trees of the
mediterannean on the border of france & italy
where the railway workers from the union are
always on strike, while up to your own devices
to figure out what they’re saying over the intercom
& have to switch trains to make it down to naples
all the way to the boot of the hustle & bustle
of southern italy where old barbers will literally
wrap you up in a warm terrycloth towel, lather you
up & shave your skull with shots of espresso & opera
before you take the ferry over to the misty shores of sicily
67. this was the exact same strange sleepy fleeting feeling
you had when you used to take those long slow trains
from the big easy crawling through the sacred stamen
of the sweating seeping magnolia & crepe-myrtle
swamp-lagoons of the deep south that couldn’t help
but to penetrate every pour of your being physically
mystically spiritually & transcendentally through
brick alley bible belt country up to mason-dixon
slums of old black richmond, virginia, washington
d.c. finally at last making it to patterson, new jersey
& grand central station, a delinquent still on-the-run
being met by your older sister who appeared to have
a modicum of a sense of humor compassion & sympathy
68. on the ferry to sicily crazy candelabra calamari buffets
along with corny cabaret & asian men in sequin jumpsuits
crooning half-crazed opera to a very tough audience of old
timers nodding-out fantasizing about neighbor’s daughters
69. upon arrival the carcass bones of the belly of the beast
suddenly swing open & out waddles morbidly-obese
twin gigantic dwarf bullies & men in their mercedes
with their miserable aloof wives mourning behind
sunglasses single-minded shooting to the suburbs
70. stud-gigolo-soldiers well-groomed & neatly
dressed in uniform looking to make a killing
71. dead dogs passed out from the humidity on the lawn of polizzia
72. your taxi driver in fishermen cap snapping his fingers to some
ridiculous disco, literally running over the bones of strays not
seeming to give a damn on your way to palermo surrounded by
the majestic mafia mountains & miraculous fruit & fish markets
73. street urchins & wild dogs bum-rushing with peach baskets mashed
over snouts, while blood-thirsty hags sit on stoops laughing aloud
& wind-up bride & groom walk proudly down alleys to the sea
74. you make it back to your dimly-lit porthole with saints & crucifixes
over your headboard behind windswept, weather-worn shutters in
one piece, but really not sure, to commercials
where housewives just to please their men & stay
slim strap vibrating belts around their mid-section
75. you sit bronzed & contented on the promenade along
the mediterannean eating a slice of sicilian with fresh
olives straight from the mountains watching the gorgeous
olive-skinned siren-goddesses stroll in seductive sundresses
76. fall fast asleep to the continual sound of wailing
of young hustler merchants in maddening alleys
what it means to be completely anonymous & alone
(lone!son soulful stranger) literal definition missing-in-action
77. at dawn right around where all the great ancient explorers
come from somewhere between valencia & barcelona
the cobblestone starts to get hosed down along with
tourist stands & postcard carousels outside the bull
fighting coliseum; the gypsies & petty thieves
get conveniently shipped in for the ceremony
78. saltwater taffy & tee shirts & posters
of matadors, glassblowers & flamenco
dancers; the origins of folklore & civilization
79. a chimpanzee somehow having made it across
the strait of gibraltar from africa to andalucia
in the evening becoming something of a relentless
scavenger panhandling for polenta & slice of pizza
80. a catacomb of siamese cats & stray dogs
staggering from heatstroke which leads
to the lush verdant banana leaf courtyard
where in the morning they serve champagne
& cream puffs & honey cake & pompadour tea
81. a strange sleazy old man in goggles swims
beneath where they keep the morning buffet
82. a drained old lady like a jigsaw puzzle
which has broken down into a number
of pieces parasitically scowls in the lobby
83. in the brilliant clean cobblestone alleys
of shadowy cafes sitting up on top of stools
at the bar in front of beaming mirrors criminals
& gigolos & pastors take their morning coffee
before a day of hustling & seducing & saving
84. a seductive madonna-whore mother daughter
in their tight chords pick up their morning paper
from the magazine stand just outside the square
85. classically beautiful bronzed chiseled wives bide
their time in sophisticated shoe shops still wanting
to attract & turn on their brand-new banker husbands
both looking at it as something of a mutual investment
86. later on with the rest of the townsmen they will
gather around the flaming carousel at sundown
keeping an eye out on their creatures somewhere
between the beach & mountains of lemons & olives
87. vultures huddle up on top of palm trees in the morning
of costa-del-sol minding their own business harmlessly
looking down on the tourists who are the real vultures
88. a bird on a wire hiding behind the blue mist mountains
that house missions & madmen & martyrs & fountains
89. you bid farewell from the aromatic train station in the ancient
jewish quarter of sevilla hit with the heat of africa & andalucia
90. somewhere between the posh hotels & policia multi-colored
parrots conspiratorially crouch way atop telephone wires
in the glowing fading iridescent twilight of barcelona
91. it rains so much in the summer bicycles get
stolen & magically reappear in the autumn
92. girlfriends take off & just doesn’t matter
mailbox casually full of arrest warrants
93. what else can you do but make a name for yourself
& take off from the lake back to the poverty-stricken
wealth thinking up schemes to keep yourself out of trouble
94. you get into the luxury hotel business…
95. dogs on leashes getting familiar in private parks
while prudish men & women not getting it look
off to the horizon in areas so unfamiliar don’t
even have neighborhoods named after them
96. monuments of madmen in drowsy closed-down abandoned
red brick smokestack rundown mill town always glazed in
radiating dim glowing sun of autumnal alleys & windswept
phantoms right around the cannons of pick-up stick pine forest
factories with mischievous boys snickering like mad scientists
bent over with magnifying glasses trying to burn the whole damn
thing down & drizzle falling on the jack-o-lanterns at sundown
97. a long sleek immaculate white cadillac with bat lights on
which simply vanishes into the bleak purply night, while
young pretty girls sweep up the donut shop in silhouetted
whispering nocturnal whoops-johnny-whoops mountains
like brilliant beacons beneath the flickering starlight
98. buddha with a fishing pole nodding-out by the riverside
99. the banana pudding man shows up from burntdown
stadium to deliver his elixir to the old puerto ricans
100. we all end up at the bleak diner on the border of madness
& freedom like a buffet of leftovers & bouquet of plastic
flowers wasted & half-crazed & disoriented & contented
with the hustlers & drug dealers & drag queens & ancestors
101. you take great pride in playing the part of stranger & trickster


Joseph Reich is a social worker who lives with his wife and thirteen year old son in the high-up mountains of Vermont. He has been published in a wide variety of eclectic literary journals both here and abroad, been nominated seven times for The Pushcart Prize, and his books in poetry and cultural studies include, “If I Told You To Jump Off The Brooklyn Bridge” (Flutter Press) “A Different Sort Of Distance”(Skive Magazine Press) “Pain Diary: Working Methadone & The Life & Times Of The Man Sawed In Half” (Brick Road Poetry Press)”Drugstore Sushi” (Thunderclap Press) “The Derivation Of Cowboys & Indians” (Fomite Press) “The Housing Market: a comfortable place to jump off the end of the world” (Fomite Press) “The Hole That Runs Through Utopia” (Fomite Press)”Connecting The Dots To Shangrila: A Postmodern Cultural Hx Of America” (Fomite Press) “A Case Study Of Werewolves” (Fomite Press) “Taking The Fifth And Running With It: a psychological guide for the hard of hearing and blind” (Broadstone Books) “The
Rituals Of Mummification” (Sagging Meniscus Press) “


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