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2 poems

Sound art

A tiny digital device under his shirt

Microphones tucked inside the cuffs,

He secretly records the Mass.




He sat next to an old woman

Who knelt, whispering prayers.

To make the final piece, he played this backwards

Layered over the sound of children

In the neighborhood playground.




He recorded an entire daily Mass at St. Vincent's. 
He returned the next day

And played back the previous day's

Mass while the present day's Mass went on.

Disoriented ushers tracked the sound to his pew

And, cursing, threw him out.




He found a computer program into which he could type text
And hear it converted into electronic voices.

His favorite part was when the robot priest said

Protect us from all anxiety and

This is my body, which was given up for you.




These two poems originally appeared in The Hiss Quarterly.  My thanks to the editors.

--Dale Wisely

Animal Control


Hawthorne County , Illinois

had to lay off Animal Control officers

Bill McKenty and Frank Hartford

due to the budget.

In no time, the lack of animal control

led to chaos and looting.


Dogs trotted the streets,

devolving quickly into street dogs:

Medium-sized, short-haired,

cunning and quick-

The way all dogs were

before we pulled

poodle and dachshund nature

from them by the science

of selective breeding.


Cats rapidly regained long,

curving fangs.   They crouched

beneath unkempt shrubs

and pounced on passers-by,

piercing their shoes and metatarsals.


Tropical fish grew large and dull

in the county reservoir and their scales

were visible in drinking water.

They dreamed of statues of

deep sea divers and

streams of air bubbles.


Baboons escaped the zoo

and terrorized citizens--

Invading their homes,

drinking their liquor and

trying on their best clothes.

No other zoo animals survived

The Baboon Wars.


Flocks of parakeets nested overnight

and made mounds of droppings

on suburban vehicles.

By day they burst chattering from trees

and patrolled the skies in swarms

like pixilated pastel clouds.

Those that had been taught to talk,

cursed and taunted their former owners

from the sky.