Brenda Sieczkowski

MAYDAY PARADE*

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______I’m running in placebo

nevertheless yes such marvels as balloonicles—
self-propellant well-oiled portmanteaux

exist cob-wobbling & spluttering
through bald pneumatic november

____will you tell me if I lurch
into robot

so far no response
from macy’s parade hotline

re: proposal to inaugurate 60-foot balloon
version of madame chiang kai-shek

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12,700 cubic feet of helium

I uncoil a fat-packed french dream of meat balloons
(wah! mon ballon au jambon est sauté) weeks before

the tray appears in the display
window of japan premium beef

all use an initial clear latex dripped
with red pink and brown

french puncturing dead-meat vocab
german prodding lexical livestock

boeuf : beef :: __porc : pork
kuh : cow :: __schwein : swine

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may day mayday m’aider

rubber baby number of souls on board

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_____will you tell me if

doilies scabbing into frilly diatoms
of mold in flaking Harlem walk-ups

_____I’m anti-antimacassar

everyone’s favorite amphibian is soaring
today and who can blame

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____________________________________________________________exercise in punctuation

________________________________________all across the dwight d. eisenhower national system
___________________________________________________of interstate and defense highways—

__________________________________________________as far north as nebraska—nine-banded
_________________________________________________armadillo leap(!), purblind and pebbled
______________________________________________________as filleted basketballs, straight up

_______________________________________________ into traffic’s greasy underbelly: armadillo
____________________________________________armageddon; or late 1944, red moon of a solo
_________________________________________________________fugo fire-balloon, and, just in:

________________________“’[h]astily, all alone,/a glistening armadillo left the scene,/rose-flecked…’
________________________________with exhausted motor oil, shuffling—snuffling(?)—shell intact.”

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48 pall bearer balloon handlers
dressed as tourists enjoying the thrilling

______you play washboard
______I’ll play pangolin

silk carcass held aloft
by an orchestra of strings

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It’s not that the hair keeps growing just
that the scalp is now shrinking

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address labels were sewn into them so that whoever found
and mailed back the discarded balloon

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madame “real-brains” kai-shek
sparkles with an estimated 3.4 million flecks

of glitter the pancreas a seething
broth of enzymes that rapidly devours

hot dog! will you stipulate casing /no casing
(check no casket danke schön)

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why not a robot
______what better place

______for a giant board game

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well an avant-garde not premium derivative robot
under the watch and supervision of a seasoned flight

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copeless replica distress signal scrambling
backwards: __pleh pleh pleh

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nation’s most loveable bird the aflac duck

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fat packed watch word

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further more __adept at politics than she
was more resistant to __decomposition

tongue may further____protrude
what balloon-wurst sheathing

the swim bladder sports
a pneumatic duct gulping pleated air

_____skipped back to parade brain
_____cells are the first

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I’m leaving

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a bald valise

_____beef lilies sewn into

a whisker basket of pagan rosebud
buggy warphans shrieking its fists

_____boeuf lilies

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_____on your receding doorstep

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*portions of italicized text taken from “All About Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
2011,” Macy’s Virtual Manhattan Office; “How Body Farms Work,” HowStuffWorks; and
“Meat Balloons Designed by ODL,” designboom.

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