November 20th, 2011 / 11:00 am
Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Mike Lala Poem

Mt. Rushmore Poem

Six thousand pounds of dynamite
for the father of my country.

A chisel for God’s messenger, detained.
A hammer as his cue:

Washington: Bring the money.

Jefferson: It’s soft.

Borglum: Move behind Washington, and Roosevelt, back.

South Dakota: It’s odd here.

Italy: It’s old.

Michelangelo: That’s freedom: a new face in an old place.

Han Solo: I know.

I stood at the rail, put a quarter in, and received my 90 seconds
set aside for detail:

Theodore, sweating,
Tom staring off at the hills.
Abraham, in absentia,
George, chest out.

Susan B. Anthony (at home): All rise for the Federal Boys Club.

Roosevelt (to tourist): Take the fucking photo.

Jefferson (erected): Leave your likeness where they worship.

The stationary viewer clicked closed, and mother
led me to Crazy Horse in-progress. I looked at the mountain,
the face emerging from it, then the plaster mockup
on the boardwalk by the gift shop.

Ziolkowski (on his death bed): Do it slow. Do it right.

He has been honored by the U.S. Postal Service
with a 13-cent stamp.

Michael Lala grew up mostly in the western United States and Tokyo, and studied writing in Michigan. He is the author of the chapbooks [fire!] ([sic] Detroit, 2011) and Under the Westward Night (forthcoming, Knickerbocker Circus New York, 2011), and he curates Fireside Follies, lives, and works in Brooklyn. mikelala.com.

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