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"Basket with Raspberries (for Anatoly Marienhof)" & "Coffee Pot Larry" by Marc Isaac Potter



Basket with Raspberries (for Anatoly Marienhof)


The raspberries are misplaced in a wooden basket, cradled thankfully in multiple paper towels thick enough that the raspberries won't bleed through to the top of my coffee table. … Well, it's not a coffee table … any more than I am a real person. I mean I do not feel like a real person. I feel like a poser even though I live in a group home for the mentally ill. I live on a fixed amount of money from Social Security. I can write poetry but today I'm under a lot of pressure because each bedroom has four people living and sleeping in that bedroom. And oddly enough when things are going good I freeze up like crazy.


So today is the day just before Thanksgiving and two of my roommates have gone out to be with family. I have the bedroom pretty much to myself. The one other guy that's home is watching TV in the front room, which I would call a living room except that 2 other people sleep there and call it their bedroom. I don't know what to tell you. I'm just beside myself when things are too good. I break down like crumbling cheese. Do you know that kind of cheese that crumbles so easily?


Writers, especially absurdist writers, and especially writers that I have been following for 30 or 40 years, these are my friends ... my dear dear friends. I want to say that the raspberries are complaining about their lives. But that idea - that raspberries are conscious enough to complain - is too far-fetched for this world, or for this, my small group home, on the corner of the eternally parallel streets, 7th Avenue and 9th Avenue ... precisely because others might not be familiar with the work of Daniil Kharms, Nicanor Parra, or Anatoly Marienhof.



Coffee Pot Larry


Larry's very common way of reaching for the coffee pot in the Academy's Officers' Lounge was such an extreme habit that he could have done it blindfolded. Oftentimes he would be saying his affirmations and really have his eyes nearly closed during his break from work or first thing in the morning when he came in. He said his affirmations very frequently - some would say constantly - throughout the day so that he could raise his mood. Only very rarely did Larry ...


Take stock of the situation in the break room or how much coffee was in the coffee pot. He would simply walk into the lounge, eyes closed, through the mild maze of tables and end up squarely, exactly in front of the coffee pot … completely preoccupied with his affirmations, most especially in the early morning hours, almost sleepwalking ... then, after standing inexplicably in front of the coffee pot for a few affirmations, Larry would go get himself a styrofoam cup and go back to the coffee station to reach for the coffee pot with his right hand.


This morning the sun shone through the window just the way it did every single day of the week including the weekends when nobody was here. As Larry reached for the coffee pot unbeknownst to him it had been completely empty for about 73 minutes and 36 seconds. It exploded robustly. The glass went into Larry's stomach, into his intestines not by way of his mouth. Also, the shrapnel of glass went into the side of his head as a missile through his skin through his torso, his right eye, and his right temple.


Larry felt a certain pain and couldn't figure out what it was - but he was doing his affirmations. Larry fell down bleeding profusely, groaning his affirmations. Larry died wrapped in his affirmations.


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