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4 Poems

John Maradik

men and their novels

are going to ruin us all
crying out from their rooms
like lowing ox
men everywhere
are lengthening their novels
hacking apart
their butter at dinner
assembling pages
in an onslaught
insecure cruel
suspicious bereaved
if you ask one to do useful work
he will grind you
into the very dirty floor
and kiss you
for hours
if you look closely
you will see he is never
really sleeping
he is busy carving
his name into iron
he is plowing the forests to dust
he is breaking the record
for most novels ever written


Reading The Hobbit

everyone at school read The Hobbit
I read The Robbit
the wrong thing
where the people walk around
with no pants on
and nothing happens to
the main character except 
he stands in the street
drinking slime
through a funnel
gets bigger
and bigger
and then explodes
and the villagers have to mop 
up his blood
and a priest
cuts out the Robbit’s heart like a sac 
throws it in a wheelbarrow 
and lights it on fire
and they leave the Robbit’s arms and legs
decomposing in the middle of the street
for a long time
to set an example 
for any other Robbits 
or beasts 
or sex offenders 
who still live in the village 
and three years later 
something grew 
out of the spot
where the Robbit died
a teeny devil 
with an elongated hand
who knocked on people’s doors
it is difficult to interpret The Robbit
the confusion and cruelty is
not appropriate for children
especially not young children
who are happy and carefree
let them grow up
and live ordinary lives
but you will never be happy
so this is the book for you



I hate those manic butterflies
flickering over the fields
growing fat off
our flowers

I hate the sea
its foamy gloom
its distance
and its depth

jesus it hurts me
to look at the gray river
with the sun dying
behind it

I hate the clouds
shoving their way
across the sky
and the tulips
showing off
their life

I hate the tops of trees
and the birds chattering overhead
like gross little hogs

I hate scraping food
off of my plate
I hate my fat little dog
my modernist paintings
my neighbor
her long-distance walking
and her daughter

I hate the crickets
and the heron
and the grass tussling
over my still body
I hate quietude
and gratitude

I hate how the dew hangs
I hate the pond catching rain
I hate the summer air
imposing its pleasure

I hate the stars
wrecking the darkness
and the moon’s
big blue face
touching everything

I hate being touched
get that moon out of my face
the moon stinks
and the fireflies blinking
over and over
when will it stop?




I want money

I’ve wanted it ever since I was born
I had a dream I stepped through a wall
into a field
I was tired
my mother pulled more money out of her wallet
Mickey Mouse was stuffing it
into the holes of trees
with his huge white hands
I couldn’t swallow enough
I should be out making more
every beautiful thing
in the visible world
is worth money
am I not supposed to say so?
the mushrooms growing at night
the loneliness of a river in autumn
the tiny thoughts of ants
all have a price
an endless line of twenties
cresting over the horizon
in the morning when I shave for work
the face in the mirror begs me to flee
but I must continue the cycle of humiliation
I must gain and store the money
on my birthday I die of happiness when people give it to me
at a wedding
the sound of screaming
can be heard for miles
I’ve seen the poor contorted in pain
addicts break fingers for it
children tear out their teeth
and look at you
even you’ve got a weird glint in your eye

John Maradik walks around a cemetery several times a day with his wife, Rachel B. Glaser. His work has appeared in Bennington ReviewGrantaAmerican Short Fiction, and jubilat. Find him on instagram @ online_tiny.