12 April 1999

johnny werd was by now an adult, and he rode the streetcar to work his pale countenance glazed with indifference. occasionally he might have a muscle spasm but that was as expressive as he got. the subway hurtled through oblivion and werd paged through the sports section. he still was not interested in sports but the counseling he was undergoing had shown some signs of success. now he read the sports section first and then he went to the story about the explosion at the factory. he had known this article was in the paper and now he was going to read it. he started to get all excited and fought off another muscle spasm. he read with fascination that part about the severed hand. then there was a photograph of a dead ethnic albanian. he searched the face for some sign of death, some flavor or color, some sign of decay. he had a violent muscle spasm and his head bit the back of the seat. on the front page of the tribune was a graph showing the shocking extent of American sexual dysfunction. a huge percentage of people reported that they were not interested in their partners and this was interfering with their sex lives. in a scientific study sponsored by viagra. johnny werd started to imagine being married to someone he did not like and imagined himself unable to get an erection. the thought was terribly arousing and he started to get an erection but had another muscle spasm and flopped into the aisle, the Tribune scattering under the seats of the airplane, which banked to the west, the sun golden behind a layer of smaze. his doctor had told him to read only sports, his fetish for bad news was really unhealthy. back in his seat in the back of the bus he picked up the TWA in-flight magazine. inside was an article about striking TWA workers. a bead of spittle formed beneath johnny werd's lower lip and descended like a spider into his lap.

a cough split the silence like too many machine guns rattling off an epidemic understatement or dismantling the military. Bill Gates was crowned queen of Europe in a landslide victory. 

johnny werd felt the bayonette go in just above his kidney in a spurt of blood.

(to be continued)

Newspoetry at Spineless Books