ElMuerto_400.gif (39645 bytes)


Jim Simmerman.jpg (1620 bytes)


Night of the Living Dead


Fortunately the dead move slowly.
They’re dead. They’re all messed up.
The bad news is: they’ve got us outflanked,
outnumbered, bamboozled and on the run.

Beat ’em. Burn ’em. They go up
pretty easy. But sure as shazam
there’s a passel more—groping
the grille-work outside the window,

incorrigible salesmen with their feet
in the door. Their dead white feet
and what they’re selling’s no life-
time enrollment in dance academy,

no new-fangled gizmo for tucking
the tummy, no minty elixir
for the heebie-jeebies.
Fair is fair. The dead are dead.

But mainly they’re just like us:
doomed to redundancy, pushy
and scared, unlucky at cards,
unlucky in love. Mainly

the dead are the living in drag—
that’s one way to figure the gossamer
garb, the pancake make-up
that streaks down their cheeks.

No wonder they stick to the dark.
No wonder the dead have so little
to say, no wonder they travel
in packs. No wonder they look

on the living as meat, a raw
ratio of protein to fat.
It’s what keeps the living
dead on their feet, dead

tired, dead drunk in the dead
of the night. It’s stuck
as we get on our own quickened pulse.
It scares us half to life.