The Clue of the Tapping Heels | Mike Stilkey

 The Clue of the Tapping Heels | Mike Stilkey

Marc Tretin



Mon Cher,

            We are all

                        walking nude

                                      down Duchamp’s



                                                                                    every motion we

                                                                                                               ever made.

Unable to walk in Vienna, I talked to Freud’s friend, Dr. Breuer.
I wished I was solid from the waist down. I learned to forgive my father,

and nations feel humiliated and want vengeance too.

Pancho Villa returns from exile as

Stravinsky has the tribe find fertility when percussive
                                    violins and timpani
                                                                    kill a virgin. A tribe needs that.

Apollinaire’s sun set in my tea this morning and stained it red.
     We know something terrible will happen;

                                                                        Mona Lisa is missing.

Even if you own all the clocks, you won’t own time.

Reality confuses our dreams, because

we are meat thinking
                             we are the metal cogs
                                    that survive the meat grinder.

A week after Serbian troops marched into Albania, Henry Ford
starts the first moving assembly line.

To win at chicken, throw out the steering wheel; hit
the other car head-on.

In our heads, we grow new thoughts.

Matisse’s Red Room feels Odalisque’s long breasts.

If ragtime
      sings the music
                    of Apollinaire, then
                                    slaughter is not the vodka
                                                     we drink like water.

In Ludlow, Colorado, the National Guard kills seventy-eight miners’ wives and
            their children.


All the angles of our bodies and all the angels of our
mind and all our shadows
do not know who we are:

but an absence of mind invites thought;

                                                                        a meteor in an empty sky.


The czar shaved the heads of his four daughters to cure them of the flu.

A failing nation wills itself into the mind of its citizens, the way a father fears to touch his
                                                and a mother, her son.

It is 1913 and I do not have to hum or whistle to make music; I deafen
myself with music,

and form follows function, so I do not need to diet, and
therefore, my ears were made to go deaf.

Nerval walked his pet lobster, then hung himself.
                                                                                    What happened to his lobster?

The Second Balkan War has started two times in Iraq.

The gathering swallows twittering in the skies use their thumbs.

Satie leaks Japanese music from a nuclear power plant;

language must be abbreviated, since listening interrupts thought.

Hope: the replacing of error with lesser error or new error.

President Wilson says America will never attack another country.



Marc Tretin is a retired attorney living with his lovely wife, his 2 underemployed adult children, 3 cats, 2 bunnies and a 15-year-old dog.