Karl Schroeder














Home Decorum


we ceded the front door and went in through the garage. we carpeted the garage and removed our shoes in the driveway. we codified the front door and snuck into the home theater, stacked atop each other in an oversized trenchcoat. we notified our accounts of our change of address and climbed out the virtual fireplace. we got up twice last night to use the bathroom. we scraped the tree frogs off the driveway and awoke on the roof, drenched in gatorade. we moved the contents of the old refrigerator in the garage to the new refrigerator in the garage. we carpeted the driveway and parked our cars on the lawn. we remembered what our grandmothers told us. we burned down the garage and went in through the garage. we painted the front door blue and buried it in the back, next to the dog door.

Scrapped Script


in a fireworks show, the grand finale


in a color-corrected landscape

the timeless tale of a man who watches a bullet

whizz past his face in slow motion


the beam of light from the strip club

baffled astronomers for months

you look older with that haircut


I am older with this haircut

the general mills CEO put on the boo berry mask

the boardroom erupted in laughter


the CEO realized how bored his dog must be

home alone, day after day

anything is productive


if you know that it's moving you

further away from or closer to death

in fireworks shows, ever larger


and grander finales

an enormous meteorite is heading straight

for new york—but nobody believes the astronomer

...not even his own wife...

UPC: 786936761481


in the future, everything is symmetrical

there are many more dead people and

dead people demand proportion: their


lives to their graves, their graves to

stones the gravestone salesman has

in the back (I think, let me check—)


thoughtful shopping arranges coupons

by date of expiration. poetry supplants the same

meditative restlessness as the aisles in walmart,


which are arranged by a product's capacity to love

a human in the way a human can love a human

under the right circumstances (x)


when there's an odd number of dead people

there will always be one sitting alone,

waiting to hear where the party's


at. at the live-stream of Robin Williams's wake

we said we should have known, we should have

bought that signed mrs. doubtfire poster


we saw at that garage sale that one time

posterity's unifying theme is vanity

which is best observed in living poets


with their crackling minutiae, illuminating

hindsight, sunflowers under the bridge,

moisturized mass killers, panes of glass,


their spaces surrounding, their distances between

bodies that never existed. by now we know the future

will look a lot like now. we planned for the present


by laying out the streets like walmart aisles. we

filled every crater on Mars with dermatological

jargon. for every museum we constructed


for people who killed, or were, we made

sure to press a flower in a dusty tome

at walmart, the rotting grapes


sit in front of the fresh grapes, Robin's

face adorns the impulse section,

flubber moves to the end caps

Bliss Point (x)




, which include barometric pressure,

the amount of salt left on our skin

after the hurricane but before the sex,


the consultant came over to reinforce

the extremities (It literally went straight

from [summer] to [winter,]) and offer us:


hard candy with: every meeting, our mothers'

permission. *blue raspberry as an idea circumscribing

the object. *banana as an object precluding itself


the big-name cultural theorist tends his

superlatives like a rooftop garden, chews

similes that he's supposed to suck on




, which explain why people enjoy shipwrecks so much,

that the longer something marinades, that the more

lives are lost, that the point is premeditated


if I were good at crashing ships, I would

form a ship-crashing consultation service

with some of my ship-crashing friends


[ ] to sink the thing, [ ] to just get it

stuck somewhere. (this is as far as we can take

you. any further satisfaction must be pillaged


from nearby villages, and reported

to customer support.) exposure to blue

light is marked by intense mental alertness




, which manifests in record concessions sales,

insomnia, and an inability to find our veins

in the movie theater bathroom. they say


the mind processes a body as naked [ ] before

it sees a body (the body an object in transit

to receive itself)—while our grandfathers (bless


their hearts) were opining on declines,

James Cameron's avatar grossed [ ] at the box

office, more than the GDP of [ ], [ ], and [ ]


combined. through sleight of hand I'll transfer the pleasure:

watch as I turn [these] tricks into wine (teppanyaki restaurants,

ecstasy at a music fest, stouffer's meatloaf in the bath after work)




, which further ferments into manic nostalgia,

an odd number of truths, which make a truth

as an adobe brick drying in the sun (the truth


becoming less relative the farther we drive south)

lifesaver candy x circumscribed within throat [ ]

constricts your breath just enough to keep


your throat alive. the veins leave our skin,

intertwine like blue twizzlers. watch as remote

amazonian tribe makes first contact with abc news


*choking on a lifesaver as an act of revolt

*James Cameron as a bucket of brackish water

distilling on the roof of a thatched hut

Castaway Cay



1. “art” is artifice, objectification

2. “art” is the only real creation


hold no allegiance and then even fewer

things will decay


as the backhoes chew on

the lone outcrop on the big-box street


(coral is blasted, sand

is dredged, ships are moored


in the dead, white bay)

it’s so easy to say


that this is not art—to break it down

to constituent parts—


first it is waste, then it is laid

then it decays until it is food


if it is food, it should be beige

it should be gray


it should be black

it should be gray


(it should be blue

it should be slightly lighter blue)


so long lives this

like plastic, a grudge—I hold


no delusions about what I’m doing

I’m only here to get laid