April 6, 2014

Joachim Frank

Small Organ Kit

This is the signature
of a famous surgeon —
he writes
with an iron hand.

This is
what the writing says:
big vertical stroke —
I will take
and I will give.
Small horizontal stroke —
trust me
I will save you.
Interrupted horizontal stroke —
there is a small
but calculable risk.

I felt unhappy
in a general way.
That is, restless
and unsatisfied;
I could not look straight
into other people’s faces.
My personal physician
to whom I signed over
the administration
of my body
is well aware
of the delicate strings
that tie
body to soul.
My physician
advised me
to have some
preventive maintenance done.

I was surprised
to learn that
with the advent
of pocket computers
and digital watches
and successive
and optimization
of hardware and soft,
and with the redirection
of federal funds
from outer space
to the inner maze;
that with all these
beautiful inventions
nature appears
like a poor engineer.

The pocket kidney,
for instance,
is superior to those
you are born with
and lasts forever
and has four hundred parts,
and if one breaks
they’ll fix it for free.
The liver comes
ready to go
in a sealed vacuum bag;
it is guaranteed
against damage
from excessive drinking
and hepatitis B.
Programmable guts
with switcheable feeling
will be for sale
once some minor court injunctions
by Bufferin
and Alka-Seltzer
have been settled

I got the
small organ kit
for only two thousand ninety-nine
including installation,
which is not much,
for a hand-signed
work of art.
As to my problem,
it is gone,
you see?

Joachim Frank, a German-born scientist and writer, moved in 1975 to Albany, New York, and recently (2008) relocated to New York City. He took writing classes with William Kennedy, Steven Millhauser, Eugene Garber, and Jayne Ann Philipps. He wrote three novels, still unpublished. He has published short stories and prose poems in Lost and Found Times, The Agent, Inkblot, Heidelberg Review, Groundswell, Peer Glass, Open Mic, elimae, 3711 Atlantic, Cezanne's Carrot, Brilliant, Eclectica, Offcourse, The Noneuclidean Cafe, Ghoti Magazine, Duck and Herring Co. Pocket Field Guide, Hamilton Stone Review, Raving Dove, Bartleby Snopes, Red Ochre Lit, StepAway Magazine, Litbomb, Works in Progress, Black&White, Fiction Fix, Short, Fast and Deadly, and TheNewer York.

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