Raising Eyebrows Raise your Eyebrows
Raising Eyebrows Gary Barwin
Pasternak: The Television-Watching Bed


Greg boils up the couch
and we eat

we’re late-model wonder-ready
and hey! looks like we can get
parking near the marvellous

Dad’s wearing scuba gear
inside of Mom’s waterbed

he’s been gone for years –
or so we thought

surprise, Mom!
now we know why you have those dreams


Jeff connects the lawnmower to the Internet
he’s mowing other people’s lawns in our backyard

sorry about the rhododendrons, Mrs Jones!


there’s someone walking
around in my clothes as I wear them
the sign says
Paul Gauguin is on the picket line
just back from Tahiti
he can’t get his job back

they’ve hired someone new at Anytime Portraits
and so Paul
in scuba gear
takes luscious red steps around the parking lot
smooth brown cars
crumpled paper fronds

hey! Jeff says
but there’s nothing to say


my mother’s bed
is a huge tv screen:
all Dad all the time

even the commercials are Dad

the low rumble of bubbles
the graceful slap of flippers
the muffled burbling of his song

a group of my friends gather
we don’t know what Dad is singing

he’s telling a joke, Jeff says
it’s O Sole Mio, Greg says
maybe he’s calling for help? Joe suggests
but we’re unable to tell


there is something religious
about filling up a car
with water

Jeff and Greg and I
are in Mom’s car
we’re in scuba gear and
there’s a hose attached
to the window

finally the water is above
the rearview mirror

we’re driving down Main Street
don’t make the joke about car pools
I say but no one understands

first stop: the drive-thru portrait window
we almost run over Gauguin
but he gives us the thumbs-up

second stop:
sorry about the rhododendrons, Mrs Jones!
we shout together
but it sounds like
an old lawnmower starting up
and anyway
it’s a different Mrs Jones

Greg decides to write
on the back of a parking ticket
he gets as far as
before the water blackens
his pen is leaking
and we can’t find the outside

I lose my air mask
in the panic
I’m able to call for help
before we crash into family
time at the public pool

I’m saved by a kid and his granddad
both wearing
Mickey Mouse shorts


I’d like to thank
the kid and his granddad
I’d also like to thank
Boris Pasternak for
not appearing in this poem

even if I knew who he was
who needs him!

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