The Man in Question

By Daniel Borzutzky Daniel Borzutzky
They dropped the charges of homicide, filed new charges of
terrorism, dropped the charges of terrorism, filed
new charges of public nudity, dropped the charges of
public nudity, filed new charges of lewd and
lascivious behavior. A spokesman for the FBI
said they found him on the hood of an SUV in a part
of town known as the “Fruit Loop”. His penis was in another
man’s mouth and in the front seat were vials containing a rare
strand of bacteria known to cause blindness in rats. They
dropped the charges of public nudity and filed new
charged of sodomy. A spokesman for the police department
said they found him with his pants down and it appeared
that his penis was in another man’s anus. But since they
could not prove to what degree his penis had penetrated
the other man’s anus they dropped the charges of sodomy
and filed new charges of assault and battery. A
spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said
that he assaulted a worker from the Department of
Public Health who used a Q-tip to extract from inside of
his urethra a rare strand of bacteria capable
of causing pneumonia in chickens. He was placed in
solitary confinement and a spokesman for the
Department of Corrections suggested that he was a
serious threat to the community. They examined the
strand of bacteria found in his urethra but since they
did not properly store the bacteria in the
appropriate container with the appropriate seals and
signatures they could not charge him with intent to commit crimes
against humanity. They dropped the charges of intent to
commit crimes against humanity and filed new charges
of larceny. They said he had stolen the rare strand of
bacteria from his employer and that he had done so
with the deliberate and malicious intent to harm as
many civilians as possible. They tried to verify
for whom he had worked during the given time period but since
they could not verify the name or location of his
employer they dropped the charges of larceny and filed new
charges of tax fraud. When they discovered he was privately
employed, they dropped the charges of tax fraud and filed new
charges of theft with an unregistered weapon. A
grocery store in his neighborhood had recently been robbed
and the cashier said that the thief had carried the same model
of weapon that the man in question kept beneath his bed in
case of emergencies. They dropped the charges of theft with an
unregistered weapon when they discovered the cashier was
partially blind and that the weapon the man in question kept
beneath his bed in case of emergencies had been
properly purchased and registered. When they found on his
bookshelves several works of fiction with blind characters,
including King Lear, Oedipus Rex, Endgame, and Blindness by
José Saramago, they accused him of conspiring
to use the rare strand of bacteria to blind not only
the grocer but the seven other blind residents of his
neighborhood, each of whom had had perfectly good eyesight
until he came to town. They asked him why he had so many
books about blindness, but he refused to answer the question.
They asked him why he had so many books about blindness and
when his attorney arrived the man in question said that he
did not know why he had so many books about blindness. They
asked his friends and family why he had so many books
about blindness. No one knew why he had so many books
about blindness and they accused him in the press of
anti-social behavior. When his neighbors testified that
the man in question enjoyed society as much as he
enjoyed a quiet night at home, they dropped the charges of
anti-social behavior. They dropped the charges of
anti-social behavior and filed new charges of
jaywalking. An undercover police officer filmed him
with a video camera as he illegally crossed
the street. At the advice of his attorney, he pleaded
guilty to the charges of jaywalking. He agreed to pay
the fine.

Daniel Borzutzky, “The Man in Question” from The Ecstasy of Capitulation, published by BlazeVox Books. Copyright © 2007 by Daniel Borzutzky. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: The Ecstasy of Capitulation (BlazeVOX, 2007)

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Poet Daniel Borzutzky

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Daniel  Borzutzky

Biography

Daniel Borzutzky grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, of Chilean heritage. He has published a collection of fiction, Arbitrary Tales (2005), a poetry chapbook, Failure in the Imagination (2007), and two full-length volumes of poetry, The Ecstasy of Capitulation (2007), and The Book of Interfering Bodies (2011).

Borzutzky’s work is often humorous and satirizes political figures and contemporary culture. Amy Groshek, reviewing . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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