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The Kingdom of Gewgaw


by Louis Daniel Brodsky



Recently, he had his brain
Equipped with piped-in philosophy,
Added expensive chrome fixtures
To replace all the old porcelain
In his eyes’ pull-chain bathroom.

He replastered cracks in his skull
To keep daylight from disturbing thoughts
He’d been seeking, so long, to nurture
Like mushrooms in wet, spongy beds —
His head became a perfect hothouse.

After updating and insulating his attic,
He commissioned air-conditioning units
For his dream-conceiver complex
And heating so the roulette room
Might be used throughout the year.

Then, when all standards were approved
By special inspectors he’d bought,
Coupons were circulated to lady friends,
Entitling them to free admission
To the world’s first one-man whorehouse.



This volume’s forty-three chronologically arranged poems throw us into the "abandoned landscape" of the poet’s psyche. Leaving his wife and child behind, he becomes "angry Ahab," drowning in "an ocean of cow-filled solitude" as he tacks along the highway’s cement sea lanes in quest of leviathans, his "eyes blurred by salty tears," lamenting that only his poems have survived his transformation.

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