The B-sides

I like when musicians put out an album of b-sides, especially when they clump them together from a single album. Tori Amos once commented on a song she wrote called “Cooling” that didn’t make it onto (I think) From the Choirgirl Hotel, “It just didn’t fit, but I still love her.” It ended up on a live compilation instead—having a second life as a performance-only song.

I sort of feel that way about the poems that get pushed out of manuscripts. From my thesis manuscript, I kept two poems and pulled them into the second ms. A whole section ended up pushed out of that version and took on its own life as a yet-unpublished chapbook (of which certain poems appeared in No Tell Motel earlier this year). Then, individual poems began to shake out. What’s to become of these unfit pieces?

In the interest of full exposure, I offer a b-side from the ms., a little something I call

Hollywood Ending

The Messiah (played by Brad Pitt) returns,
blond hair flowing a sparkled second sun.
He smokes fat cigarettes
called Red Heifers.

Scientologists are raptured on sight.

Agents recommend Messiah take a wife,
rumoring new beard covers gay-for-pay.
The porn industry opens
above buttocks clenched, those muscled thighs.
Adolescent boys *poof* turn queer
from picturing this scene, and just their hair alone
is like a bad delivery boy/hustler dialogue.

Messiah ignores the lepers
in Sun Valley to play pool with Johnny Depp
at the Viper Room. Loses the soul
of River Phoenix in rocky game of nine ball,
condemns it to a hell in which
he is stuck in line for the Matterhorn,
which is eternally
under construction.

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