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Written By Rose Mary Boehm
Cover Art by


A collection of short, somewhat surreal poems about a little guy called 'MUNGO' who invents things.

Editors’ Note

Mungo invents a way of pulling down
the stars. He plays his crystal flute.
When the stars get close, he lassoes
them quickly and puts them in his basket
where they glitz all night until
sadness makes them die.

Mungo makes paper dragons
which spew fire from an internal combustion
box. He uses them in his lessons
on elementary passions and how
they affect their owners. It isn’t
a sustainable business. After ten
lessons he runs out of dragons.

Mungo designs bigger furry slippers
for bees as well as larger pockets
in their working overalls. When the bees
premiere his invention, their lift-off
capacity is seriously impaired
and only the pollen count soars.

Mungo invents the sort of joke which holds on
to its own sides. Since it’s not supposed to laugh
at itself it shows its fangs and coils tightly
around the nearest laughingstock.

Mungo mixes a medicinal compound
which heals all ills. At night, when
the rains come, his patients
experience a welcome absence
of symptoms and soon find
they are no longer under the weather.

With the help of a 3D printer,
Mungo learned how to clone
those body parts of which
he was exceedingly fond. One day
his attention wandered and after
a few weeks he was all ears.

Mungo sits in a tree, binoculars
at the ready and many green stalks
in his olive-green hat. The tall tree stands
somewhat removed from a copse which stands
somewhat removed from farmer Beck’s field.
When the deer emerge, Mungo throws down
the towel and makes a fast buck.

Mungo has written a tune which makes
you long for pumpkin soup when you
listen to it on an empty stomach. He calls
his group the G-spot five and tells an interviewer
that they haven’t yet found their place.

Mungo designs a lightweight folding chair.
On the canvass seat he paints three flying geese,
one smaller than the other to indicate
depth and distance. When Mungo visits the lake
he takes the chair along, unfolds it, and eases himself
slowly down, right next to it. Sitting on the lake’s muddy
bank he contemplates the beauty of his art.

Mungo discovers the perfect disguise
for his potbelly, a recent acquisition in the wake
of increasing and inexplicable appetites.
Instead of psychiatric sessions he tends
to slip into his comfortable sea-lion suit
and permits his friends to feed him sashimi
after permitting them to stroke
his seductive roundness.

Mungo invents a time piece
that moves backward.
He is contemplating
the infinite, small black holes,
and whether one hand moving forward
would bring time to its inevitable end.

Mungo writes an aroma sonata in praise
of smelly cheese. During the first
experimental performance, as his audience
silently leaves the concert hall, one
old man is left to fill his lungs
with the crescendo of the finale.
This experience convinces Mungo
that he has to change not form but content.
Henceforth his oeuvre contains only inspiring
forest floors, spring flowers and, his most
famous, the seventeen chocolate variations.

Mungo writes a symphony for big noses.
The olfactory senses are entertained
by wild crescendos of Stilton
interspersed with pastoral moments
of woodruff and the odd adagio
in the key of B minor, discharging
bouquets of ragweed pollen to seduce
the public into participating. The oeuvre
is called the First Interactive
for nose organ and congested gullets.

Mungo thinks it high time to counter
the threat of third parties reading his
emails, browsing his rubbish, or reconstructing
his digitally enhanced communications.
The evening sun entering Mungo’s study
finds him bending over his task. He wears
a black mask and writes by hand
in invisible ink (droplets of effort spray
dancing dust motes) on a very small paper
ten bullet points on how to obstruct
the efforts of the Martian secret service.

Mungo invents a machine
which can inflate the moon.
Wherever two young people
park on lovers’ lanes, burglars
need illumination, the wayward
badger lost its way between
the ferns, or mothers contemplate
another thankless day,
Mungo’s machine will spring
into gear and action.

Procrastination used to be Mungo’s great motivator.
He would always tap into it and rely on it as an unfailing source
for tomorrow’s creative plans. Nothing can be more inconvenient
than to learn of the immediate end of the world. Forces him to prepare
for the absence of himself and all his good ideas, especially
the ones he had always for tomorrow. Mungo finds
that tying up loose ends is exceedingly time consuming.

From a German aunt, Mungo inherited
a bag full of prepositions. Hinter, vor,
oben, unten, neben, zwischen, gegen, von—
After much soul-searching, Mungo decided
against donating them to the library.
Where they would be of service, he concluded,
would be at the shelter for abandoned poets.

Mungo has learned to play the Richter scale.
The effects on his audience are immediate and
work every time. As soon as the crescendos
fill the concert hall, men in tuxedos
and women in evening gowns shriek
and begin to scramble over seats and each other
to reach the exit. Mungo is not a little dismayed
but calms himself like any other man
by using the fault line for a little fishing.

Mungo learned from Gran that time must not be wasted,
lost or killed. He therefore keeps an eye on it and puts both
on the mantel, making sure that not one second remains
unused and not a single minute gets left behind
in dark corners where no-one will ever find it again.
When Mungo finally goes to sleep at the end of a busy day,
he ties time tightly to his left toe to be alerted to its escape
should such be intended. He uses a hangman’s knot.

Mungo suffers from insomnia, sadness and wet pillows.
He doesn’t need a psychiatrist to know what
is overwhelmingly obvious: no texts are coming in
on his new smartphone. He soon finds the internet
folks who spread good will, especially around the festive
season, and subscribes to their daily service. They send
him messages around the clock full of kind thoughts.
Mungo now sleeps every night with a beatific smile.

Mungo decides to have his horoscope prepared
by Alicia Arcadia, astrologer of local fame. Much aggrieved
by its content, he thinks about a way to make up for
its unacceptable predictions by acquiring a better one. One night,
just before dawn, Mungo raids Miss Arcadia’s filing cabinet
and finds one he likes, keeping it henceforth
in his personal strongbox. Mungo can’t tell by the stars
whether his ruse has worked, but Miss Arcadia has taken on
a position as housekeeper for the archdiocese.

Mungo states the obvious
and hangs it over the mantelpiece.
Pilgrims come from afar to behold
the evidence of indisputable truths
which they all interpret
in their own way and soon come to blows.
Mungo repents his action and moves
the work to a Swiss bank deposit box.

Mungo has bought an old church
from the local diocese. He wants to bring
light to its somewhat gloomy interior
and decides to install a window of opportunity.
When all the saints and the virgins have left the place,
and even Jesus has come down from that painful cross,
Mungo opens the window wider still, lets in the chirpings
of the churchyard birds, the green smell of freshly
mown grass and venerates the divine.

Mungo relaxes on the riverbank, a twig in his mouth
and his jacket folded under his head, his black hat
pulled over his eyes, finally falling asleep and finding
himself in the trenches of some unnamed country.
A grenade explodes right next to him and in his dream
he knows he’s dying. Mungo can’t help smiling
because he knows he was killed by friendly fire.

Mungo experiences a time of scarceness.
Closures due to the pandemic
have shortened his resources.
He looks with trepidation
through his accounts
and comforts himself with the thought
that this is not misfortune
but simply negative cash flow.

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