Front Cover

total lifespan 17:01:20
flag burning
wilted rosepetals
Written in 1991 or before, the poems in this collection are fledglings. I was a junior in high school, just my first year of enjoying English classes. They are rough around the edges and sometimes wish-washy in between, but they are a snapshot of who I was at that point in my life. If you are looking for insight into who I am, this may help.

American Freak Show
to the american freak show.
we have here
a sampling
of our demonic,
sinful society
with all of its blemishes
and scars.
i invite you in
for a cup of decaf.
i'd offer you a triscut,
if i wasn't using them
to build an addition
to my house.
sorry about
that three-legged chair,
i needed something
with which to club
this mutant monk
which ran through here
i'm sorry about the smell,
it's just society
rotting in the closet,
since no one has been around
to get it dry-cleaned.
too bad you weren't here
last week.
we had a very special event.
and Reagan
were over for tea.
well, they started talking,
and pretty soon
these three former presidents
were giving a poetry reading.
just as Reagan
was coming to his
auto-biographical poem
"an actor, an ape"
Nixon arrived
with his V-shaped
finger sandwiches.
Bush never showed up,
because he was busy
learning to spell "education."
but these four ex-Chief of Staffs
were happy without him,
till Quayle came
and made the conversation
too intellectual.
so they ditched him,
and rendezvoused at the Vatican,
where they played poker
with the Pope.
and as they took time out
to ask
"why ask why?",
they all danced a polka
around a burning flag.
then the Pope had to leave,
to watch "Married with Children",
then Nixon, Carter, and Ford
each remembered
that they had left
their irons on.
and they all left Reagan
who was trying to remember
if he had brushed his teeth,
or if he even had teeth.
all while you and i
have been sitting here
tasting my coffee
which you never realized
was actually switched
from your regular Folger's,
to my gourmet grounds.
and yes,
these are Bugle Boy jeans
that i am wearing,
and you can see them
after i get the door.
i think it may be
the mailman,
with the x-ray glasses
i ordered,
along with that garlic gum
you're chewing.

Table of Contents
American Freak Show. Copyright © 1991 by Matte Elsbernd. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission.