Johnny Horton

PATHETIC FALLACY

I once saw the Lapse rendered as a monkey offering
a startled dog a fig. A unicorn made angry eyes,

his singular aim being to un-paradise the pair
for behaving like humans. I celebrate barbarians.

The Empire—they tell me—will not strike back.
Law & Order, yes, illuminating the plasma screens

of Chicago, Illinois. This is where the sidewalk ends.
Shel Silverstein said it best: “Put something silly

in the world.” You may have heard Midwest teens
spin the bottle in prairie graveyards, play Zeppelin

records backwards. You may believe Wagner
causes violence in Germans. T.S. Eliot knew cats

had secret names. Poetry can’t critique itself, said
Northrop Frye. Cancer doesn’t sell the Times

like a Catholic scandal. Beware the penguin’s ruler
turned out to be a front page item. Beware the poetry

that doesn’t rid the world of poets. Peking Man
might be instructive. I mean, remains that vanished

in the war, not a story where hyenas eat his brains.
Who underwrote the fall of man? By what authority

do we spring ahead? The latest YouTube sensation
is a Slow Loris holding a cocktail umbrella

just like an umbrella. Survey says the funniest animal
is a duck. I’m voting for an Australian Shepherd

who memorized the rules of Chutes & Ladders. She
doesn’t know it’s dangerous, rolling dice with apes—

she’s never seen a zoo where you can count
all the scoundrels lighting cigarettes for chimps.

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