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The Missouri Review 27.2 (2004) 27-28

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The Telemarketer Basically Enjoys Talking With Goldbarth, Though it Ends Too Soon for Her Preference

Is the man of the house at home?

    I can't believe you just said that, your throwback euphemism
    drags up a past to lament and praise, supernova twice, bigness
    a narcoleptic paradox running down the lice-ridden rungs of time—

—so you're the man, er, the head of the household.

    You could say that.

Excellent. I have some questions?

    Is it excellent? Do you know what you're saying? Or are you like
    the loquacious cockatiel, your exuberance a feathered haste,
    chit-chat scattershot like rejected millet flecking a shag carpet.
    We discuss you, you know, over dinner, over grilled fish or
    a burger flame-plump and greasy, while the moon, at once pale
    and thick, opaque as sperm, like turned milk, looks nailed
    to a frail horizon, and we complain, bitch about the everyday
    invasions, grudge and shrug to admit some utility in the cubicled
    greeting mills . . .

[This is easily the best call I've had all day.]

                put up with coy asides and pomegranate
    scatters of salesmanship, of salespersonship, of the multiple
    mutations of commerce, while some of us raise the specter
    of a forgotten conquistador whose arrival on palm-sotted shores
    in 1570, rifle-pricked and steel-cowled, cowed the first native
    he saw with a plea for water, for anything other than salt,
    anything other than the lexicon of distance and its flat
    horizons, and in effect exercised the great prerogative [End Page 27]
    of free markets, or free enterprise anyway, sans the lovely
    parting gifts of affected tele-purchasing by simply getting
    to the fucking point and asking, right out there, crackerjack
    simple, for exactly the thing he wanted and nothing more.

Okay. We're running a special on appliances.

    Don't need any. See ya.


Gabriel Welsch's other non-telecommunications-industry-oriented poems appear in Harvard Review, 5AM, Spoon River Poetry Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Crab Orchard Review and other journals. His short stories are found in Georgia Review, New Letters, Ascent, Mid-American Review and elsewhere. In 2003, he received a Pennsylvania Arts Council Individual Artist's Fellowship for Fiction, and in 2002 he was the inaugural Thoreau Poet in Residence at the Toledo Botanical Garden.



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