A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Bill Edmondson

teaches English as a Second Language to Chinese immigrants for the San Francisco Community College District. 

Among his poetry credits are Evergreen Review, Tulane Review, River Oak Review, and Worcester Review.

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Harpo’s Monkey

How much fun the monkey is       how warm and playful
Yet one day
He smothers it       drives out to Riverbend
And throws it in
When he gets home       scratches stinging along his arms
It’s in the bedroom mewling out its hunger
He feeds his sweet monkey
Smiles as he watches it eat

The secret they share is beautiful
He and his flamboyant monkey
They know the intense pleasure in willed weakness
The paradise locked in strangers       they know
The silky texture of the master key       still
He shoots the monkey       throws it
In a dumpster out on Canal Street       on his way home
There it is with its thumb out       he’ll speed on by
Stops       lets in his monkey

What’s he gonna do with such a monkey?
He waits until it’s in their tiled bathroom
Lops off its head that bounces in the tub
Mails the dismembered sections UPS       Later       tired
Goes to the Avenue Bar
Where the small man on the next stool
Turns toward him and is of course the monkey
Using its man’s voice it asks
Where’re we goin’ tonight?


Originally published in Barnabe Mountain Review