Sunday, November 30, 2008

I won’t warble.
Won’t trill.
Won’t cluck, chirrup or quack.
Won’t gesticulate wildly with arms aflutter
while I sing some intricate song
memorized for the purpose
of making you notice me.
I will not sit atop a fence post
with feathered plumage aplomb
and pipe for your aural delectation.
I will not do that.

And yet there are those of you
who feel you should.
Those who delight in their self-professed
ornithologic repertoire of
onomatopoeia peacockiness.
Ah, but what do these dancing cockatiels
really feel when late at night
the cloth drops down
over their chattering heads
and solitary confined refinement
truly sets in?
Do they tuck their beaks beneath tufted wing
and come to dream
of one small boy who resides in
a distant Russian village known as
They upon their lofty perch will
never speak his cryptic language,
but then again,
who can?
Who? Who?
Yes, of course… it’s Russian.
But who speaks Russian?
Who speaks Russian to him?
The answer: No one.
No one at all.

No one calls out to him by name for
There is no name he has ever answered to.
But this is not to say that
he has not been named.
Indeed, we now know of him as
‘The Bird Boy’.

Born in 2001,
he was raised by a mother
who never uttered his name.
There in Kirovsky, Russia,
locked away in a two room domain
he existed until the age of seven,
yet not once
did he hear the sound of a human voice.
But for that moment
when food was brought
and set down before him,
there was no interaction whatsoever.

And yet,
this is not to say that
he spent those seven years in total isolation.
No. He was not alone for
he shared those two rooms
with a multitude of cages.
Yes, and in those cages
the mother kept birds as pets.
All those birds and one small boy.
She was fond of the birds,
but apparently not fond of
every pet in the room.

In 2008, the mother of 31 years
had raised this boy to the age of seven.
It was here that a inquisitive social worker
discovered the aviary and its
one special inhabitant.
Imagine that first encounter.
Now perhaps you assume that
the Bird Boy was mute and
completely lacking in vocabulary,
but no.
He did attempt to converse.
Words? No.
Chirps. Yes.
This seven year old boy
communicated by way of chirping and
the fluttering movement of his hands.
There in the cage cluttered room,
he attempted to convey himself by way of
the only means of expression
he had ever known.
For just who were his true siblings
if not an assortment of parakeets and finches?

Signing away her corrupted right of parenthood,
the mother released the boy
into the care of the State.
A supple transition from caged aviary
to the cooped captivity
of an asylum.

And there now on quiet afternoons
when the Sun comes to wane through
pale curtain cloth,
I imagine that moment when
a certain birdsong erupts to echo
down the asylum’s long lithium hallways.
There to emit through barred window
and out across manicured lawn
to the distant waiting ears
of a sparrow
who tilts his head
ever so.

©08 Jack Hubbell
~Ball Buster
She possesses talent.
No doubt about it.
And number one on her list of she-can-do-ables
is that she can get it up.
Especially impressive for the fact I can’t… get it up.
But let’s face it. She
has had a lot of practice.
Listen now.
There’s sophisticated hydraulics involved.
A knowledge of leverage and
just where to insert before
the fluid goes to work for you.
She’s got that in her head
and you just can’t beat good head knowledge.

I figure the ability to do all this comes down to desire,
but let’s face it:
I simply did not want to be a forklift operator.
Oh, it’s not that I’m impotent.
No. Rather, it’s that… relative to me,
this one woman would appear to have
an over-abundance of testosterone
pumping through her veins.

Oh, and not that she’s void of estrogen.
Looks can be deceiving.
I mean yea, she’s wearing coveralls.
Big ol’ baggy coveralls,
and anyone can be androgynous in coveralls,
but there comes a time in the day when the heat rises
and she chooses to climb down from the forklift and
peel off her outer layer.
And it’s here I come to notice
that she comes complete with all those
bumps, crevices and undulations
that estrogen is wont to bestow on the female form.
Formulation eroto-elation,
she’s got hormones moaning whore horrific.
But in a good way.
She’s Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’
except she’s traded in the half shell
for a mother forkin’ lift.
And there I am, just on the verge of major chub
when she opens her mouth and begins to speak.

And there from that beautious orifice
spews the most melodic of verbal diarrhea.
Yes, she’s the epitome of visual ecstasy
with a nasty ol’ potty mouth.
Revulsion? Ah, hell no.
She’s still a hotty. Just a
‘don’t do her wrong, cuz she’ll stomp on yer nuts’ hotty.

So of course I have to ask,
“You um… uh… ya ever beat anybody up?”
And there in her siren eyes a sparkle appears
for I have indeed touched on a topic that truly excites her.
And for the next fifteen minutes,
she on the verge of hyperventilation, tells me in explicit detail,
the best ways to punch another girl in the face.
You know, like if I was a fellow woman of ill intent.
“Cause the best thing… Yea.
The best thing is when you bring your fist down on their noses.
Not just in the nose, see.
Down, you know. DOWN on their noses.”

Well okay then.
I’ll be sure to let Martha Stewart know.
February’s issue was supposed to be floral arrangement
but stop the press! For now it’s gonna be:
“How to put that chump ass bitch down,
and make her stay down.”

And from here, little Miss Suzy Homemaker
dives into a story about her time spent living in the projects.
How there in the realm of fe-mano es fe-mano
she’d risen to the top of the fight club heap
and was the reigning brassier bruiser.
Oh, and this being the case, it wasn’t long
before she got jumped in a dark hallway
by a rival bosom beater
and her two troglodyte henchwomen.

With a somewhat disturbed smile,
she tells me of how she was backed against a wall
by the brutal boobed brawlers
and with fists reigning in from left and right,
looks up to see the rival leader standing there
with a raised baseball bat.
And there between the thumping thud
of knuckles to noggin and ribcage,
she calmly states,
“If you hit me with that,
I will kill you.”

And apparently the way she says it—
you know, sorta ‘Hannibella Lectorina’
—so disarms the hefty hit squad
that they abruptly stop, pause,
blink their heavy eyelids
and then simply turn and walk away.
And with that, Miss Botticelli’s
‘Venus on a ‘fuck you up’ shell’,
strides forward, grabs the baseball bat and… um…
rearranges the other girls mascara.
And there… There at story’s end,
she looks up at me as if she’d just said,
“And so I made a strawberry cake.”

And I find myself thinking of sorrowful things.
For you see, she’s told me she’s married.
Which of course means that there’s a husband.
And that there are nights when he says to her,
“Honey. Let’s not go to bed angry.”
That there are nights when they DO go to bed angry.
And that on those dark nights,
he lies there next to her with his eyes wide open.

for the slightest

©08 Jack Hubbell

~Absent Halos
There was a time
when you could tell who was a deity
simply by whether or not
they had a halo.
From shimmering aureole
to just a hint of glowing nimbus,
there was simply no mistaking
you were in the presence
of divinity.

Ah but which particular divinity
sort of depended on what page
from what book you were using to
anchor your current metaphysical
As halo haberdashery goes,
the deity on the far side of the room
might just be Ra or possibly Horus.
Could also be Apollo or better yet, Helios.
Any assortment of baby faced putti or
sword welding cherubim.
Might just be Louis the Fourteenth,
but in his case that was less divinity
and more narcissistic Sun King
what with all celestial bodies
rotating in mass about his egotistic ass.

From worship of Sun to pantheon of
Sun signified shimmering bonnets,
you knew you were in the presence
of somebody oh so special.

And yet it must be noted that
over the past one thousand odd years,
reports of neon noggin sightings
have significantly dropped.

What was once sacred
slides into mythology.
Greek… mythology.
Roman… mythology.
Norse… mythology.
Egyptian… mythology.
Tele-Tubbie… mythology.

Nowadays, if you see someone
walking down the street with
a halo atop their head,
there is almost always a wire involved.
Whoa but it would appear that
true halos have sadly gone obsolete.
And if such is admittedly the case,
what suitable signifier of divinity
supplants our current visual requirement
for designating that most worthy of veneration?

I submit for your approval
the common white lab coat.
Ah yes… well…
I imagine you are in less than full agreement.
That that which denotes science,
from general practice doctor
to genetic engineer,
holds no symbolic power
worthy of devout reverence.
Perhaps you’ve come to the conviction
that white lab coats hold no sway
in your embrace of spirituality.
In that case,
retain the halo,
ignore the wire
and let your faith prevail.

But if you’re a lowly rat or
laboratory mouse
bred for experimentation,
what is the man in white
if not absolute godhead?

I read that a lab biologist
had taken a group of mice
and made them all alcoholics.
Because he could.
And then,
he would pluck a random
inebriated mouse
out of the mass of its
stupor soaked brethren and
force it to go cold turkey.
Because he could.

And the mouse goes into withdrawal.
The mouse gets a tad depressed.
And here the man in the sacred white coat
performs a “man in white coat” experiment.
Upon placing that alcohol deprived mouse
into a tall beaker of water,
he soon observes that it makes
no attempt to swim.
That the mouse would rather sink.

The report said nothing of whether he’d
therewith reach into the beaker
and save the drowning mouse.
Nothing of whether he
returned it to its cage and
gave it back its booze soaked life.

Did he?
Well, we want to believe so,
for that is the way we’d like to perceive our gods.
That everyone whose head
dips below the water’s surface
is saved.
Saved whether they desired it
or not.

would call this

But the mice…
These mice
to differ.

©08 Jack Hubbell

~About a Book
The application of baby oil to skin
can be a wondrous thing.
As good for the giver
as the givee.
Yes, there’s a certain tactile delight
as one individual’s skin
comes in contact
with another.
No matter how young or old,
you will take pleasure.

And so, I find myself dwelling on this
as I stand before a dark display case
in Bury Saint Edmunds, England.
There beneath finger smudged glass
lies a book bound in
human skin.

And how do they keep that skin so supple?
Enquiring women
across the nation
really want to know.

I suppose that in this case,
baby oil is simply out of the question.
It may just be they’re using
Oil of Olay,
though that’s just a guess on my part.

Although distracting, how ‘bout
a little aside information?
That is,
assuming you all want to know
how this museum got its hands on
a skin bound book.

It would seem
a few centuries back
this guy had a mistress,
and since she was of the troublesome
“make me an honest woman” sort,
he murdered and buried her in the Red Barn.

The Red Barn?
Oh yes, there is so much more
to this sordid story but
let’s just cut to the quick.
They found the body.
They found the killer.
And what with all them locals
being such a temperamental lot,
they hung him, and drawn and
quartered his misogynistic butt.
Took him apart.
Dismantled him as it were.

“Hey! You want souvenirs?
Got yer souvenirs right here.
You want thigh bones?
We got thigh bones.
You want big toes for your key chain?
We got manicured and non-manicured.
With bunion and without.
Wanna bind a book in human skin?
Today’s your lucky day.
We can do that at competitive cost.”

And so…
someone did.
And gosh golly gee willikers if you can’t
just walk right into a museum
and see it there on display.

Yup. Sitting just there next to
this fella’s skull cap.
And I mean real skull cap.
Grisly right ear and scalp.
But hey!
That’s macabre
and I don’t want to be accused of
dwelling on that too much
so let’s get back to the book.

Now what I want to know is,
is it a good read?
Did it say,
make the Opray Winfrey book list?

Did it get a plain ol’
Opray Book Club sticker
or did they splurge and
go all out for a tattoo?

And since we can assume that
this book’s been around,
does it have a little pocket in the back
for the library card?
And if so,
can you still check it out and take it home?
I mean,
what with a book of such high provenance
and overall lack of
epidermal blemish or unsightly scarring,
there’s got to be some substantial prose inside.

You just don’t go bind a book in human skin
and then fill it full of say…
you know…
the poetry of your current flavor to savor writer.
You want something good
in a book of this quality binding.

Otherwise, there you are,
sitting down at the local coffee shop
when some stranger asks,
“Hey. What you reading?”
And there you’re
forced to respond,
“Oh, not much.
How ‘bout you?”

I mean,
this wouldn’t happen
with a book full of
my delightful verbosity, but
if you wanna fill a book full of
flavor savor poo-poo poems,
go right ahead.

No skin off my back.

©06 Jack Hubbell

~‘World of Men’
My childhood was a virtual cornucopia
of sexually deviant acts. Well,
that’s what you’d like to think.
How else to explain your perception of my
inherent depravity?
But naw…
It was all Opie and Andy Griffith.
All Huck Finn and Mark Twain.
All Haley Mills and Pollyanna.
That is except for haircuts.

Getting a haircut was perverse in the
worst possible way.
Not the actual act of getting a haircut per se,
though it goes without saying that
there was a brutal indoctrination involved when
those shears passed over your head.
Yea, your style options equated to
crew-cut, crew-cut, or on the rare occasion,
‘Cause there weren’t no F’in way that
my dad’s son was gonna be no goll dang
long haired hippy and… um… sorry.
That was scarred Freudian psyche issue number two.
Let’s stay with the psycho trauma hiding behind
door number one, shall we?
Erotomania of the reprobate sort.

But now listen:
none of this soiled sanity occurred in the barber’s chair.
No. Though you fell beneath his blade of
follicular annihilation,
there was sanctuary to be found
in the swank leather upholstery
of that chromed pneumatic highchair.

Quite the opposite of
what was to be encountered
while awaiting your cranium buzz.
This was no beauty parlor.
This was a barber shop.
A mid Sixties barbershop.
Testosterone haven from all things estrogen.
And there while you awaited your
total world domination haircut,
there was an assortment of magazines to be perused.

Mainly mammary festooned
misogynous lust of bust
manly masturbatory
pulp pumping literature.
Just the sort of stuff an eight year old boy
needs to get his mind right
when it comes to acquiring an appreciation of
the delicate sex.

Considering men were incessantly motivated
to visit the barber shop whether their
noggins needed it or not,
it’s no wonder their hair remained so short.
Now I imagine you’ve got visions of stacks
of Playboys, Penthouse and Hustler,
you know, gynecological study material, but no.
Something altogether different here.

There at the barber shop
you encountered magazines such as
‘Stag’, ‘Inside Detective’ and
‘World of Men’.
And these… um… wait. Here.
Let me throw out a tether and
pull you into my mind.
Oh, not the red-light salacious cesspool
that’s there right now but rather,
the mind I possessed when I was all of eight years.

There we sit at the end of a bench.
There we glance down at the heap of magazines.
There at the top, a copy of ‘World of Men’.
There on its cover… ***

I am not making this up.
This is not fiction.
This is a particular boy’s memory
of one graphically painted illustration.

There is a swimming pool with diving board.
There are girls with skimpy bikinis.
Wait… there’s more. Much more.
There are Bikers.
Bikers with swastikas.
Swastikas on their sleeves.
Swastikas on their Nazi Biker helmets.
Swastikas tattooed upon their bared chests.
And there at the edge of the pool, you find
one maniacal Biker ripping open
bag after bag after bag of lye
and pouring it into the water.
Water which is now pure acid.
There on the diving board
yet another crazed Biker has carried
a screaming girl to its end, and
there she hangs mid-air…
mid-scream… mid… impending.

And you are eight years old.
And you like Walt Disney cartoons.
You’re particularly fond of Goofy
and the antics of his dog Pluto.
They… They were funny.
Slapstick funny. Painfully funny.
Semi-nude girls
being thrown into acid
by Nazi Bikers.

The barber could have left a gun
there on that end table.
A syringe full of heroin or crank.
A stack of rusty razorblades.
But no…
It was just the latest copy of
‘World of Men’.
There it remains in my brain,
and now in yours as well.

©08 Jack Hubbell

~Small Talk
Okay, so it may come down to the fact
I was never very good at conversation.
Sure. I’ll grant you that.
But now listen:
I was all of nineteen years old and
being Midwest bred and raised,
I was pretty far from worldly.

You’ve got to understand that
on this particular topic,
I had no worthy opinions;
absolutely nothing of importance to say.
Perhaps… Perhaps I just looked knowledgeable.
What with the fact of my wearing a uniform,
it may have appeared
I’d automatically have some insight
into all things military.

If a manual exists on the fine art of conversation,
I figure there’s got to be a passage
about initiating discourse with
some element of small talk.
You know… Something mutually inclusive.
Common ground.
Common experience.
Small talk.
Yea. But this was not…
small talk.

And so…
I share a room with a man
who had entered only five minutes ago,
and there in that short span of silence,
I’ve certainly noticed his long hair;
his civilian attire;
the fact he’s a good ten years my senior.
And then…
And then he decides to engage in small talk.
He turns to face me
and from his mouth come the words:
“Have you ever killed anyone?”

You know. Small talk.
Being as I still qualified as teenager,
it was relatively easy to do a
body count in my head and
come up with a summation of none.
But of course I refrained from
answering too quickly.
As an expression of machismo,
it’s important to give
the appearance I’m pondering the
trail of bodies left in my lethal wake.

“Hmm? No.
Let’s see. That one guy?
I believe he managed to crawl away.
Um… And I’m certain she’s still quite alive.
Pretty sure that one bus load of kids
made it to the hospital in time.”

How fucking ridiculous!
But… with a somber face,
I simply returned his awaiting gaze and said,
“Umm… No.”
And no sooner did I reply
but did he quickly come back with,
“Well, I have. Yea. Numerous times.”

“Now aren’t you the over-achiever.”
That’s what I should have replied, but no.
I was nineteen years old, and
it’s rather difficult to dive into a conversation
about serial killing or mass murder
when you have no point of reference.

“I was in Viet Nam,” he continues. “Were you?”
“Were you in Viet Nam?”
This was 1979.
I… a young man, fresh out of high school.
This conversation was going to be a bit one sided.

“No,” I said. And to this he chimes back with,
“Well, I was.
Shot some gook in the face with a shotgun.
You ever shoot someone in the face with a shotgun?”

Pretty sure my response to that one
matched all the other answers I’d given so far.
And for the next thirty minutes,
this man I did not know,
proceeded to regurgitate
every violent homicidal act
he’d ever been involved in.

Why? … Why?
Why was I deemed worthy of his
sole soul repository?
Something to do with the fact
the cloth against my skin was olive drab?
That he’d spent the last five, six, seven years
with this orgasmic power point presentation
locked and looped there in his head and now,
seeing that cloth…
Seeing a certain insignia upon my sleeve,
there in his mind,
a door unlocks in some dark cranial corridor
and the bloody viscera splattered foliage
of some distant jungle
comes spilling forth at my feet.
The popping sound of rotor blades;
the buzz of an M60;
the thump of a mortar round;
the smell of white phosphorus
as it burns its way through human flesh.
All of this dying to get out of his head.
All of this dying,
a perpetual loop of validation
that he was most certainly alive.
Dying to be alive.
Dying to be alive.

And anything…
Anything less than the jungles
and hills and grasslands of Viet Nam
was a lesser form of life
and greater form of death.

Somewhere in between these two extremes
a man seeks affirmation,
and all he asked of me was small talk.
A faint nod of the head.
A hushed whisper of “I hear you.”

And here now, so many years later,
some post traumatic grandpa
shares the couch with his post traumatic grandson.
One of the two with his foot still buried
deep in a distant fetid swamp.
The other with his boot in scorched sand.

And were you to walk into that room,
all you’d see
would be two men
sharing a couch.
Just two men sharing a couch.
But there in between lie severed legs.
Severed arms. Severed lives.
Whilst severed dreams
lie buried and forgotten
in far distant lands.

Here are two men locked
in that moment of loss.
Both quite alive
and both quite dead,
whilst there in their heads:
small talk.

©07 Jack Hubbell

~My Physique
There comes a time
when you know you’ve attained your
perceived pinnacle of athletic achievement.
For me, the moment is at hand,
and I must seize it.
I will become a professional bowler.

Now I suppose I could have
taken up bowling
a year ago, but no.
I was different then.
I was toned.
I was ripped.
I was svelte.
I had just completed a season
touring with the

I’m sure many of you are asking, “Hey!
Why the career change?”
Well let me tell you:
it’s hard work being a Chippendale.
Loads of physical and mental stress.
Listen: You wouldn’t know.
You haven’t done this.

For one,
it’s a sex trade.
No getting around it.
You can talk up the art side of it all you want
but those women could care less
whether you’ve just executed the
most perfect triple cabriole.
Deep down,
what they really want is
perpetual pelvic thrust.

And then, of course all those
late nights fading to dawn
as you sit there counting and stacking
thousand upon thousand of
single dollar bills.
It’s an ugly taxing business.

So I quit.
Just let myself go.
Traded my six-pack abs in for
a six-pack belly.
Hung up my G-string.
Gave all that baby oil to my best buddy _______.
Parked my butter butt in a barcalounger
for one whole year
with nothin’ but a TV remote in one hand
and a can of PBR in the other.

And yes, right about now
I feel I’m at my physical prime to
dive into the grueling arena of professional bowling.

But let me be honest here.
I’ve got a bit of a hidden agenda.
You see, unbeknownst to many,
professional bowling has its sordid side.
Indeed, professional bowling
is overrun with groupies.

It’s all about sex,
and that my friends explains
why I look the way
I do today.

©06 Jack Hubbell
~Gorge Buoyant
I once ate a fly by accident.
I want to be very clear on this.
It was by accident.
I would in no way do this with malicious intent.
This is not to say I feel any form of
affection towards flies
for I do not.
In fact, I despise the little buggers.
But let’s come to an understanding.
I am an overwhelmingly loving and
entirely lovable person,
and though I loathe flies,
I absolutely would not
consume one in any vindictive manner.

Yes, it is quite understandable
that flies have nutritional value,
but at this specifically stated
moment of ingestion,
I was not particularly malnourished.
I could easily have made it ‘til nightfall
without the sacrifice of his
protein sustenance.
Without a doubt, I
would have survived.

Being as I am overflowing
with raging hormonal butchiness,
it should be of no surprise that I once experienced
a wilderness survival school.
Yes indeed, by bug breathed brethren…
John Rambo and Yours Truly.
Mano-a-Mano with nary a vending machine
within a fifty mile radius.
Would I slit Stallone’s throat for the
last stale twinkie?
Does Boy George own a pair of pink panties?
You damn straight!
I am not to be trifled with
when it comes to cup-cakes.
Especially with them there sprinkles on top.

Ahem… Anywho…
This guy was throwing up.

I just prematurely climaxed my poem.
Let’s back on out and
reinsert from another direction.

Today’s Survival 101 objective is to catch a trout.
Catch him, cook him, eat him.
And though them there fishy things
be a bit of a rarity,
all us men have easy access to worms.
Just dig on down into Mother Earthy’s womb
and they’re slippin’ n’ slidin’ a slimy squirm fantastic.

And this guy was throwing up.
Yes, well… okay.
Let’s just move on to the post poetic
oh so climaxadelicious cigarette shall we?

Not too many fish in the creek but
a whole lotta worms in the mud.
And a worm being high in protein goodness,
the instructor goads our designated vomitee
into swallowing one whole.
Swallow him live.
Swallow him down and be done with it.

Okay, let’s just jump to the
After-the-fact vomit vile-tastic.

He what did the puking tells me
that it wasn’t the aspect of
eating a worm that made him hurl.
No. Seems that one of the side affects
of swallowing a worm whole and alive
is that whole and alive worms
don’t like to be swallowed.
That they resist the urge to go down.
This worm…
This worm wanted out.

And I sorta figure this is the moment of truth
where the worm gets religion.
That he’s in there sayin’ “I hear ya Lord and
Imma willin’ to do whatever it takes ta get out.”
And there in the back of this fella’s throat
a disco mirror ball startsta rotating
and the worm startsta wigglin’.
And this guy, who by the way,
has decided he’s not having a
whale of a good time,
brings forth unto the creek’s sacred bank
a somewhat blessed worm.

And yea…
That fly I swallowed all those years ago…
Now that I think about it…

Sucker must have been a
god damn atheist.

©08 Jack Hubbell