Nathaniel Rounds



Freud Chicken

Play the overpaid shrink like a pawn shop sax
Sell him your mellow song
Tell him you see acutely what was wrong
And how you made adjustments in your attitude
And that the medication works great

Then get him to sign you out of here
And then take a long trip to nowhere
So that you can reacquaint yourself
With talking ducks and evil food blenders
And Greek choruses on the radio
And sunsets that spell THE END just for you

Because troubling though it may be
It beats the pink and beige walls of a six-by-eight room



I painted a portrait of an angry squirrel on pastry cloth
And stretched it over a tepee frame
Which I stationed in my neighbour Anne's backyard
And mounted a telescope at the top
So Anne and I could eat honey and strawberry sandwiches
And follow the stars.

We call it our aurora sky station and
We keep a legal notebook with the nightly observations
And various sketches in crayon
Which we intend to donate to hide under sofa cushions
At Value Village so that some kid will be sitting on this old sofa
His parents bought for twenty-eight dollars
On account of the hole in the back and shout,
"Hey, Mom! Look at these astrological coordinates!"
And then our infamy will be secure.
Both Anne and I feel resentment
Regarding the way that Marge the checkout lady at Save Easy
Treats us and she gets all nasty and everything
When we come in with coupons
And so we call her the angry squirrel.
So that's why we turned her into a mascot,
And tried to make her something that fits in somehow.
Someday when she isn't angry we will whisper in her ear
About the aurora sky station
And ask her to come home with us
So that she can help with the cocoa,
Which you need to keep warm when watching the stars in winter.
She can be Angry Squirrel, Director of Warmth.
Her secret ID will be 567903ASDW.
I wrote it on my tube socks with a laundry marker so I won't forget.



The Nightjar’s eyes are ravenous
For car wrecks and sideshows
The spectacle of writhing trees
With gold leaves
Pulling their short roots from the ground
To drown themselves in merlot in posh cafes
Well past closing time
Bark going blotchy and falling off
Bugs of every description eating them alive

The nightjar sticks a quarter into a coin-op TV
Down at the bus terminal
He watches the black and white puppetry
Of a porcupine playing a game of hazard
With a pelican
While throwing dice for both

The porcupine says
His best teachers taught outside the confinement of schools
He recalls an old RKO musical dancer
A retired social studies professor
And an Irish grandmother
They all gave him lessons of lasting value

Unlike those rompishly caustical snobs
At St. Mary’s he says
They were a miserable lot
They drained a youngster’s heart of life
And tied his brains in knots


 Copyright © 2012 Nathaniel Rounds

Nathaniel S. Rounds was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, studied photography in Canada, and now writes from Halifax, Nova Scotia.