Corn Syrup, Morgan Boyer

Philip Kobylarz, The Poles , Photograph


Corn Syrup


strolling around the being faux-marble tiles,
plastic soles treading where countless men
have stood; their phones resting between
the boulders of their cheeks and shoulders,
calling to their spouses to ask which
flavor of Cheerios their son is allergic to

standing with the printed-out paper,
the photo of oreo cheesecake cupcakes smudged
by clotted ink, eyes scanning the aisles for corn syrup

the broom-wielding teen shaking his head, saying
I don’t even WANT to know what you’re doing with
liquid corn syrup on a New Year’s Eve at 10:38 PM.

As if he expected me to don Back To the Future goggles
and pour the liquid onto a line of gunpowder, finally
lighting the mixture with a single match when the minute
11:59 PM passes, screaming HAPPY NEW YEAR,
to the pregnant does in the barren corpses of ragweed
as my audience, their eyes as confused as the broomer

Morgan Boyer


Review by Dave Mehler

That first line: ungrammatical. Is there a typo in it? I took the poem at the last minute, first poem in the issue, prescient, no time for contributor commentary, so I’ll offer some. I’m not going to ask or check with Morgan–strolling around the being faux-marble tiles,–I’m just going to take it seriously and assume it was meant as it is, off-hand, rushed and casually impulsive, captured and intended: ecstatic, in medias res, (kind of like Philip’s photos).  The being, a being–the speaker?– is strolling around late on New Year’s Eve on a mission to get corn syrup in a gauche corner grocery–but it’s open! There’s a sense of the absurd and American, almost dystopic, simultaneous with the mundane, but also a joy and a reason (a purpose) for living–those damn cupcakes the clerk doesn’t know but guesses about. The purpose and meaning are completely ridiculous and the speaker know it, but she doesn’t care what anyone thinks–her job to usher in this new year is to make Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes–the recipe and its indulgent comfort food outcome is all that matters here! We get the sense the cupcakes will be the only companion tonight. One person makes cupcakes, another is working and sweeping a floor in a grocery aisle attempting a gesture at social connection, others are on similar missions from families or guests. Meanwhile in a context of parties, revelry and drunkenness is the implication of hope for another newer, better year and the potential for reasons to be grateful at the same time we know are mixed in with the horror where folks are at war in century long conflicts, and living or dying or in various other states of isolation or misery. And here we are on the cusp of another new year. Reason for hope, or dread, anxiety or gratitude? This speaker is making cupcakes (and writing a poem about it)! Sometimes that’s enough of a reason to get you through to the next day, the next year–a reason to go on. A reason to offer thanks to the Giver? There’s an audience of the clerk, and the pregnant does on the way home, bewildered, living in oblivious trust and going on in the barren corpses of ragweed. It’s enough.



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