"Doughnut Economics," "Squirrel Tag," and "Looking out for Birdman"

Doughnut Economics

Hot and fresh like a puff of dough
in a pan of hot grease,
the money rises to the upper
atmosphere, a new ozone layer
to hold back the sun—
a little goes a long way
when dealing with radiation,
but with cash, the long green
falls short, and even
millionaires never have enough

A dollar junkie just can’t eat one;
never enough grease on top,
never enough filling in the middle,
soft and bland, for all the sugar
it can hold. A doughnut
in every pot won’t solve
the world’s problems.
One just makes you hungry,
and ten just make you fat

Build a doughnut big enough
and it’s a life ring; bigger and bigger
still and we could launch
it into space, an ark for all mankind’s
hopes and dreams and those little
twinkles from daddy’s eye—
the trees locked in a dome
counjuring up a whole new gravity
as it rolls along the Milky Way

 


 

Squirrel Tag

If you can’t hear, go
with what you thought
you heard. You wouldn’t
be correct in either case.
Right is often more wrong.
Let go of these values
and outcomes. They make
fickle companions.

When you smell tentacle
on their breath, it may
be too late. The suckers
hold fast, they’re the only
ones that do, and their
tenacity belies the reward
for the effort and sacrifice.

Ours is not the galaxy
with the hot rod space ships
and the magic arts.
Charismatic megafauna
have their limitations here—
no winged elephants
or giant lizards; giraffes
don’t orate from their heights,
and rhinos don’t run fullback
on the gridiron fields.

We wish for better marvels,
but all we get are wood
bees and ravens, and squirrels
playing tag among the trees.

 


 

Looking Out for Birdman

Last time I looked, there was a blur
of wings and laughter, and that mad
birdman descended from the trees
like a dodo praying for the plate,
or a UFO bellyflopping in a cornfield
while grinding out crop circles;
on the ground, the gunmen
steadied their rifles,
and when the blunderbuss went off,
it exploded in the senator’s face,
right where it belonged

The birdman laughed for real, then—
a bugle, a bagpipe, an antique
car horn full of noise,
like ah-oogah and yippee-ky-yi​
rolled into one—
and as the others fired, bullets
shattering bark all around,
he flapped up into the trees,
just an ostrich or a penguin
riding on a wing and a prayer,
wishing like Tinkerbell and pumping
to get the hell off the ground
and out of civilization’s gnarly way

 

 

Jeff Bagato

A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music and glitch video. Some of his poetry and visuals have appeared in BlazeVOX, Chiron Review, Empty Mirror, Futures Trading, Sheila-na-Gig, H&, Slipstream, and Word for/Word. Some short fiction has appeared in Danse Macabre and The Colored Lens. He has published nineteen books, all available through the usual online markets, including Savage Magic (poetry) and Kill Claus! (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.com. Jeff recommends contributing to Angry Old Man Magazine.

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - 23:32