THE

MERCURY
POEM

Jared Schickling
The Mercury Poem
by Jared Schickling
Copyright © 2017

Published by BlazeVOX [books]

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without
the publisher’s written permission, except for brief quotations in
reviews.

Printed in the United States of America

Interior design and typesetting by Geoffrey Gatza
Cover Art: Jared Schickling

First Edition
ISBN: 978-1-60964-300-3
Library of Congress Control Number: 2017947100

BlazeVOX [books]
131 Euclid Ave
Kenmore, NY 14217
Editor@blazevox.org

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S I G H T S
SCHOOL NO. 1

the night before
the world changed
nothing seemed
shiny blue and yellow cars
actual steering wheels
almost ready for a 4-year old to drive
would have to wait
for the cars to be turned on
a seemingly impossible
-to-live-through week
away
couldn’t resist
sneaking
in
after dark
beneath deep shadows
of the yet-unblinking wheel
in the inky dark
of what would be electrified
over the cars
sit in the cars and make noises
we could imagine
young as our lives
and just as perfect

11
it wasn’t the new cars
it was swamp years before
the driver
of that future
southeast of town
some nine miles distant
from the common parlance
the boys sat
in cars built
to serve
the future of
the future dreaming
what had to happen next
flip switches and draw
some of the plenty
a mile down the wires
from the station probably
the rest
would be magic
the thoughts
that consume dreams
he went to bed
after he woke
and rushed off

12
was looking back
a childhood
that would come
and fall out in clumps
as the months and counters
his most common
bit of her clothing
the worst “accident”
ever
didn’t begin
dramatically that morning
he sat in class
gluing the colored paper
of a gift
to a jar.

13
“Someone came
in the room and called our teacher
[to] an emergency meeting

“We were told to study quietly
of course we didn’t
the teachers [are] gone forever

“For more than an hour we sat around
trying to figure out what to do
was not an easy discussion, I suppose

“Something was wrong
but we didn’t know that

14
pressed against the glass
to watch
windows open
and shout
have you seen it
aspen, birch, fir and oak
block the view
may day
too tempting to pass up
a short run
grab your jar, paper and glue
evidence
eyes wide
to see
not enough
smoke
to hold the attention
like fog
we were looking
we couldn’t see
anything
the bridge
we were standing on
they say
none lived

15
TV ADVISORY
culpable gasses unknown

activity
From general production

is
of the poems
Contamination

multiply sources
clearly attributable
During the night

defoliation of trees
chemical residues, in nearby poems
To mostly contaminate, various

media
into the night’s
A leak of some magnitude

ANTHROPOSCREENS
LEAVES

16
BALLAD OF THE STORAGE TANKS

The gauges measuring temperature
and pressure in the unit, notoriously
unreliabe, refrigeration
shut down
a while ago. Gas scrubber
neutralized nothing
shut off for maintenance.
The flare tower too
corroded
for pipes. Both of these were
inadequate small
anyway. The water curtain
was too short to reach, the billowing
flare tower.

17
RUINED TVs

In a wedding season, a poem had been good
Bats an eye, a dingy blue hexagon, a leaf falls
Prancing in the mud, no one
A white stallion had been spotted
When later it was learned that

Looking back, this emission rose on a mud field
The dead lived, for bugs
Roots of a tree in whose tendrils
Dropped near their graves
This contaminated laundry, an exodus

Blessed with defecations
On display, a scrubbing of babes
Mud sealed in the winter, intimate domesticities
And emptied sacks, low was a roof
Rocks and tires held a tin sheet

Getting colder, in a wedding season
On winter winds, when the nights
Let a sun in, a dust slant through
As more immediate needs
From mud to wood construction went

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