Patrick Downing (b. 1974)
Announcing the Second Coming of an Important Man, 2020
digital photograph of spray paint on concrete
Many things with many names
But there is was and ever shall be
That is why we pray and that is why it listens and as sure as batter embraces meat embraces stick it shall bestow unto us it’s greatest blessings and most powerful miracles and we shall be delivered and released.
There is was and ever shall be
We shall never doubt you
We shall never hate you
We shall never leave you
And you shall never as to us
There is was and ever shall be
My name is Chef Pierre and I’m my favourite guy I love the food I make in my restaurant I love my food it is the most tasty taste and when it’s in my mouth I’m my favourite guy and when midnight comes my name is Chad Peters and I make the sex like a flesh monsoon and my best sex move is The Snake In The Pantry and I do it smooth it feels like slippery love and my other name is Sombrero Jones and in the morning light I sing the song of freedom it sounds the sound of a million birds all whistling proud the accomplishments of their children in various activities and it makes me feel like my favourite guy who is me because I’m that guy and I do my best everyday. Peace out y’all.
The horn has blown, quittin’ time! Gather round employees and join ye hands, now we are a circle. A circle of the employed. Representing eternal employment, no beginning no end. Close your eyes, bow your heads, open your hearts, let it flow out of you. And let it be free. Your souls have toiled so hard on the job. And now it is time to release. And so each one of you, in turn, make poem make poem make poem:
Take this job
and shove it
up your butt
like a coconut
Like the stinkhole
This job is.
Where we work away
From morning ’til night
For very little cash, jack
and extended benefits?
Nope. And our families
ask us, “Why are you so grumpy?”
And we do not answer.
We get drunk.
And let our misery fester
Inside our bodies.
Like fucking cancer.
we are jobbers
who are jobbing
And so it floats and gathers and draws away the ire from the employees and they come to love each other and their place of employment. And then everyone kisses each other with open mouths.
Never send to ask for whom the frankfurter cooks. It cooks for me.
As we held our kabobs to cook in the futile heat of the ignis fatuus
The full moon cast its light like a silver anus over the swamp.
Dark shadows. Deep. Like Simon Peter as in his molasses and pancakes.
The night grew heavy like someone’s too good bad idea for bacon wrapped jalopeno poppers.
Put some Mortadella in there.
O, how much is too much of a good thing?
Like a sermon that has gone seven hours too long.
All the best bits have been masticated and swallowed.
And now it is only gristle.
That need be chewed and chewed and chewed.
O, lest it choke the life right out of you.
And soiled plates of paper.
Some barbecue that one.
Too bad no one told the holy man on his holy mountain.
And so as the ululations of the gathered grey skinned hags floated
Amongest the savory scents of grilled meat
And boss sounds of southern fried guitar rock.
It became like a marinade most foul applied far, far too late
In the game.
O, who brushes it on after the chops are already grilled?
Not even sweetest Jesus.
O, what next?
Mosquitoes joined the lamentations
Joined the soulless journey
Joined the grand inevitable.
Tell me not for even as the question was asked we knew the answer.
Put some beans on it.
Still some barbecue.
Cold meat and hot coals and a spiced rub
Made by the maker for the carver to sleep soundly at night
Knowing his cuts die well in a good place.
Juices running from within like wine from the stomach of a gutted drunk pig.
O, how one wonders how the heck it got into the vino.
Did the fella touched by God forget to latch the pen?
Or did the angry spirits of the night give it wings?
Did they coerce the fat thing into the cellar?
Did they unstopper the Nebuchadnezzar?
Did they give it a bowl of olives?
O, spirits, sure you are angry. But do you need to be so frigging mischievous?
Ye, good question.
And the woman wailed on.
The mosquitoes feasted.
The children stared up and wondered about the cosmos.
And the men?
They grilled on.
And the night.
O, the night.
Turned its back on the sunrise.
She rested her head on his chest. It was like listening to rawhide breathe.
“I can’t hear your heart beat,” she said.
“It’s there, baby,” he cooed, “beneath the lotion, beneath the bronze silk made by the licking of the Sun. Listen deep.”
She did. ba-dump. ba-dump. ba-dump. Yes, it was there, like some deep snuff-coloured planetoid floating in a crimson void. And on it was a civilization of sensual intellectuals whose culture was steeped in a copper-toned mysticism that radiated out across the universe uplifting the spirits of any and all lifeforms that were bathed by its waves of mahogany goodness. She imagined Jesus himself, lying out on the beach by the Sea of Galilee with Simon Peter and a couple of the other apostles, maybe Phil and Judy and Jimmy the Lesser, soaking up some rays, and these magical vibes giving him a solid tan and inspiration for the Sermon on the Mount.
She looked up into his bisterous face.
“Teach me to tan,” she whispered.
His eyes looked into her, into the well of her soul, sending a bucket of knowing into its waters and he intoned, “I will teach you. I will tan you. We will become one. In ecru.”
She knew then that she had finally–