Wac-A-Mole Realism™

By Matthea Harvey b. 1973 Matthea Harvey
At the carnival, Robo-Boy sees only things he recognizes. The Ferris Wheel is an overgrown version of his own bells and whistle eyes. His Flashers, his mother calls them. The Tilt-A-Whirl is the angle his head tilts when the Flirt Program goes into effect, usually in the vicinity of a Cindy or a Carrie, though once he found himself tilting at the school librarian which caused him to wheel in reverse into the Civil War section knocking over a cart of books that were waiting to be shelved under B. There’s a dangerously low stratosphere of pink cotton-candy clouds being carried around by the children. If Robo-Boy goes near them, the alarms will go off. It’s the kind of sticky that would cause joint-lock for sure. In a darker, safer corner Robo-Boy finds the Whack-A-Mole game. He pays a dollar and starts whacking the plastic moles on their heads each time they pop up from the much-dented log. He wins bear after bear. It’s only when he's lugging them home, the largest one skidding face-down along the sidewalk getting dirt on its white nose and light blue belly, that he remembers the program: Wac-A-Mole Realism™—the disc on the installer’s desk. Suddenly it all fits together: the way a deliciously strange thought will start wafting out of his unconscious—and then WHAM, it disappears.

Source: Modern Life (Graywolf Press, 2007)

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Poet Matthea Harvey b. 1973

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Matthea  Harvey

Biography

Matthea Harvey was born in Germany, spent her childhood in England, and moved to Milwaukee with her family when she was eight years old. She attended Harvard as an undergraduate and the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Iowa. Her collections of poems include Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form (2000), Sad Little Breathing Machine (2004), Modern Life (2007), Of Lamb (2011), and If the Tabloids . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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