I can just make out ‘beatnik,’ jammed in the back of what
I still call the ice box, its delinquent expiration sticker
out of sight behind the Jell-O salad and the moldy fondue.

Each day, run-of-the-mill Swedish meatballs leave the building
fall from the collective ken—
itself a cliché going dark too soon. Do I mourn these losses?

No, Dude, I put them out to pasture. I mothball
old-hat phrases. I blow them out of the water.
My aim is slaughter. Scrap-heaped lingo shucked from my mouth—

Zoot suit, okey dokey. fly over country,
stock phrases like forever-war
and exorbitant national debt. So last season. So old hat

They get my goat. They’re fired. See them later, alligator,
their sell-by date stamped, last December.

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About the Author

Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of four books, including, The Mercy of Traffic, winner of the Phillip H. McMath 2020 Post-Publication Award and five chapbooks. Her work appears in Atlanta Review, Mom Egg Review, pacificREVIEW and this spring Doubleback Books reprinted her 2008 book, Discount Fireworks as a free download.