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.