Shawn Fitzgerald: Selected Poetry
Poetry » February 2001

Fourth Coast Cafe, 12AM

I can smell her mentholated breath,
even from this dim corner,
this smoke encrusted place.
She floats in air, legs folded under
skirt, not touching the floor.
Writes in littlegirl flowerbooks,
a guru of the dispossessed.
She is one of us, we who hover
as images, at the end of everything.
I can see our status with the world,
refugees of corridors of endless
self-help bookstores. Blearily
peeping from buckets of bloody memories,
victims all of us, masters of
caffinated lies. Our atmosphere,
fetid memory of burnt offerings to
one hundred thousand nameless gods.

Absence permeates this place,
she shares it.
Every shakyhand cigarette light
is echoed.

Manifesto of the Damned

There is a method to my ---
Find this one if you can
and then leave it. With a plain
wooden bucket, and a longing
mirrored in shadows.

This monologic frag
Piece of a dream
speculates on nothing
commentates on no thing.
We aspire to do this low art
because the high art is beyond us.
Come to a poem with expectations,
and leave with unfufilled longings.

Poiema or poietes? Which then,
if I asked you
is more important?

--And if these reflections confuse
they are, after all, reflections--

So, in the attempt to become
scholarly and look intelligent to
our Good Friends and Closest Collegues,
we begin to write--
such drivel, and fill pages and pages
(boxes in boxes (words within words)
reflections (mirrors in the funhouse))
with parenthetical notations which
keep eating themselves in an endless
recursion of Ego Masturbation.

They are not reflections they are fragments
and they eat up the world

It is those moments when an honest
person writes to a loved one and
we would look at it and probably say,
"Oh this is truly horrible."
(And it would certainly validate our claims,
to art, to inspiration, to fame)
Yes, it is those moments that are
more magnificent than any of our technical craft.
How clever we feel, cleaving these
shallow little graves
with tiny little rhymes.

It is not that we want to
it is that we have to and,
if you asked any one of us
it would come out the same:

This horror stems not from outside
but from within.
That sleeping space which few see
and there the demons bark,
ever wanting more and never heeding
desperate pleas, and
If you throw a bone I'll eat it gladly
and sleep on your porch dreaming
of rabbits, and the days when
you were a stranger
and I was a poet
or maybe just a fool.

Brown Hall, 6:30PM

Room filled with chipped
teacups, web patterns embraced
in Irish porcelain.

We are the spiders,
perched on peppermint tea leafs,
guarding garlic scented egg sacks.
Sucking the world dry,
with our fangs.

Shawn started his long-dark years as an undergraduate in a Chemical Engineering program. He graduated with studies in English and Philosophy. Upon graduation, he promptly parlayed his liberal arts education into a tech support position. He currently works as Information Sytems Coordinator at Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He enjoys getting a paycheck, and lives a mile from Gerald R. Ford's Boyhood Home with his wife, Heather, and their three cats.

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