Christopher Mulrooney




nous n’irons plus au bois

the first thing we do


Van Gogh

many happy returns

the manufactured past

boiled beef

animal crackers


research work


the grand schemata

upper berth

flotation device

shop lily




a cozy comfort












good and bad take root variously we see

not our signs anymore

along the roadway until there is the sea

there the captured condition

is as far as possible undone








nous n’irons plus au bois


we’ll to the woods no more

this day and any other

the green stink is not for us

the shrieking owls and shitbirds

and lair of pard and bear

we shall not go there








the first thing we do


I will make it felony to drink small beer.


we shall have it just and so

right now the engine’s warming

never any then as when it might not be

the eternal conjuring minute

when I pull an egg out of your ear

and hatch it on your face

the whole human race shall be

subservient to the likes of me










the long dilemma eats up years

same as anything else that goes right by

speeding as it were on bicycles

the gilded trolley and the design space

on four wheels the mere discourse

of light and air is not to be encountered there









Van Gogh


in a little market town

‘twas on a night like this

when everything is stretched like the heavens

around an empty drumhead

that beats and is beaten upon

like a poor tom-tom for all the world

to gawp and spit at

and say where is his God He certainly

can’t be bothered









many happy returns


the victim there on the hot ashes

come let us eat and give thanks

the rest is a quarrel I should not wonder

without end and without let perhaps

meanwhile let us go incognito









the manufactured past


oh no that is say not so Pozzo

the gimcrank there gives flibbertigibbets

out its maw come sir let’s have ‘em

as ‘e equals M.C. square come on

we can do better than that








boiled beef


it is a strange trencherman

mystificates about his bully

why I’d have his cap off’n him

whippin’ about in the breeze

of the roaring shells before he could sneeze

‘ere ‘ave some more I cooked it in this ‘ere ‘elmet









animal crackers


my solitude conforms to the happy accidents of

birth and breeding in the zoo

this zoo of mine with its proud beasts

that all go in the soup the whatsoever in there

a congeries of the kitchen menagerie











wherefore the geometry forms on the right and the left

it is the Melancholy and we are bestmost bereft

o hunkier male who Domdaniels in the carrying-out of laws

whereby the mail is undelivered to the fertile slot

and we are never born in a work signed Albrecht Dürer










research work


the cannibal tale you have heard it whole

regurgitated in a sort of ring of tellers

like the Monkey God chant or recitation

you have heard it a thousand times

and still it is always new to you











now I’m poor thinks it is now he does

but never had a sweet sou to all his name

so why now why this nothingness to him

whose degradation is so utterly complete

even in misery his neighbors are replete









the grand schemata


the forlorn hopes gather in the marketplace

it is Jesus teeming in his afterlife

on every tongue in every gullet and the whitewashing of the village walls

the trumpet-gathering of the Fascist footraces

the bloodletting down the central piss-alley

and then away to the wars home by Hogmanay









upper berth


gliding along as if on rails

snug ensconced sung

to sleep as if by waking angels

of the system of transportation

richly fueled as if by dreams

conditioned by the railway

in the right-of-way throughout this

transcontinental railroad








flotation device


this is Mercury’s skirt attached by frogmen

and the gallons drunk with water wings

and the company and solace of Mae Wests

this is the astronaut’s life raft under vans

that beat the air to cool him in the Pacific sun

and fetch him up as by extension cord into the vacuum









shop lily


it shows traces of pollen in fine increments

on its fine fleshy tissue that’s for laughs

as who should say we want it gilded

and again the melancholy of a sad occasion

and Kate spouting of them on Broadway

again for the cameras in Hollywood











it scribbles done in the lanework

over a piece of puff pastry

yum says the dough in the oven

why practically hatchet the pie

with a trowel all made of silver

and set it on chinaware with a silver fork











the very diction of the momentaneous momentary

momentous occasion gifted me ha cross it out

bestowed upon me loftily the key to my city

which had to be somebody’s idea of a joke

and whenceforth warily I slipped out the occasion











on the same small days to write what is an epitaph

for the golden joys that follow and sprays of flowers

a touch of champagne a very few solemn words

a very kind embrace and then the throng full of merriment

upends the vestibule in which we are thoroughly rapt










a cozy comfort


in its plush-lined box of black velvet

the bauble lay exposed to warm rays of sunshine

and the rest writes itself in lapidary description

but for the turn of an eye the loupe wherein

is manifested every facet of the stratagem











an absorbing incidental mystery supplies

indeed a whole history for where is the gait

can figure that elliptical trail down the hill

to Pandora’s wigwam and trading post four bits

a dance to the surface music of the spheres that are all gas











slim white-hipped schooner off

the shell-crackling beach ahoy

the waves never simmer only stew

and as for you seething on the boil

there’s rubbing down with coconut oil











some poor shanty town

grimacing though its dirt

some wretchedness miserly tended

down to seabirds at the docks

corkscrewing in updrafts











it is the letter not sent home but written

carefully patiently polychromatically

to oneself and the generality of all mankind

in the sense that it’s not you at the same time

feeling the wish for all concerned to be at ease