Mennonite Poetry Home | Robert Martens



cliché #25

all clichés become lies.

dawn in paradise. cliché charlie
sits down at his desk, begins
the daily shift. his father, golden
gabe, enters truths in the book
of life. charlie writes the day's clichés.
which are arguably more important than
truths, for who could survive even a single hour
without clichés to protect
this thin human skin?

another cloudless day in paradise. a
cliché in itself. a rooster shrieks
madly. the breeze bears the aroma
of grapevines. a beetle scutters
across charlie's desk, and an odd sensation
of compassion brushes his eyelids. charlie
blinks, takes a sip of coffee, picks up
his quill:

1. a single step is the beginning of a long journey.
2. a stitch in time saves nine.
3. a bird in the hand is worth nothing in a money economy.
4. dawn is cloudless in paradise.
5. a second cup of coffee guarantees rain.
6. weather affords interesting conversation.
7. weather originates in the intestines.
8. digestion is best when there is order in the land.
9. order is maintained by judges who interpret truths from the book of life.
10. life began in a big bang that deafened god.
11. you can hear the weather in the rumble of your intestines.
12. weather affords rather interesting conversation.

charlie is tired, realizes he's repeating
himself. high noon, and he's managed
only 12 clichés, the bare minimum,
and one cliché a mere reiteration with
the slightest of emendations. the sun flashes
madly. the rooster is asleep. the fallen
breeze sweats the aroma of over-ripe
fatigue. oh beetle, where art thou?
charlie exchanges his quill
for a laptop. the quill is so ancient,
it's no longer a cliché. the laptop
is a certified cliché. charlie

13. we are mutually responsible for democracy.
14. we are not mutually responsible for democracy.
15. a vote in the hand is worth nothing in a money economy.
16. i love the blue of your eyes.
17. money can't buy you love.
18. don't be ridiculous, of course it can.
19. we are the dream of a ridiculous man.
20. the ridiculous man yearns to be rich.
21. you are rich if you dream.
22. you are a pauper if you are rich if you dream.
23. weather affords interesting conversation to paupers.
24. the final cliché is always your own.

period. 24 clichés. the moon is mad
with love. the rooster struts into darkness.
the breeze exhales the aroma of divine
slumber. the beetle scutters into charlie's
gentle hand. soon rancid ruth with arrive
to pick up the day's clichés, she will
spread them upon the fields of time,
and the cosmos will bloom, rich,
fertile, deceitful.

one day from now, everything
you read here will become
a cliché.

all clichés become lies.

all words become clichés.

charlie sleeps like a log.

© Robert Martens




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