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Richard Denner is a prolific writer who lives near Sebastopol, California, where he teaches poetry at a Waldorf School. He was for many years the proprietor of Fourwinds Bookstore and Café in Ellensburg, Washington, and the manager of a Tibetan Buddhist Dharma store for Tara Mandala Retreat Center in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. In his spare time, he publishes dpress chapbooks.

Dark Planet is designed and edited by Lucy A. Snyder. If you spot any errors, or if you have any comments, please contact her at lusnyde@cyberus.ca.

All materials copyright 1996-2001 by their respective creators. No stories, articles, poems or images from this webzine may be posted or published without the written consent of their creator(s).

Vacuum Plus

by Richard Denner

Standing in the museum entrance
an old man, unshaven, palsied, pushing
a shopping cart filled with bags of cans,
stuffed animals, coat hangers and the dust
from clocks -- a rag picker in a raincoat
with the back torn out, beneath that
is a splotchy trenchcoat, beneath that
a molting overcoat, beneath that
what passerbys fear he might expose
from an alley along a dark street.

Not at all, he exposes it right here, now --
in the sunken recess of his body
glow the high-polished parts of a machine,
and raising his eyes to the sky, he croons,
"You may think I have a vacuum, but this
is a multipurpose machine, a vacuum,
a rug cleaner, a shampooer, it dries hair
and sucks dead skin from your mattress,
a drill, a sander, and now, a breakthrough
in technology after years of research --
the power-driven dildo and buggywhip."

Vagabond, my brother, you rise up like a ghost.
I quickly split.