Friday, October 8, 2010


This is the poem I performed at the Cottonmouth open mic on October 7:


Ladies and gentlemen, do not be alarmed,
but airborne dust particles are killing your children.
They're killing your brothers and sisters,
your mothers, your fathers,
killing your family pets.

Do not be alarmed, but the invisible dirt monster is the black plague of our time.
All the AIDS, the cancer, the influenza pandemics throughout history,
they are nothing to the dust mites in your carpet.
The bacteria that manifests on your doorknobs.
The germs that spread on your money, passed from hand to hand
like coughing cultural cancer directly into your wallet.

Ladies and gentlemen,
the great dirty germ plague is the nine eleven of twenty ten.
This war on bacteria is a war for all that is good and pure and sacred.
And it is as they say, cleanliness is next to godliness.

So we fight this war,
we are the soldiers, we are the warriors of this great OCD war.
We spend forever washing our hands of dirt and disease.
And we fight for our future, for our children,
for our children's children,
and our stories will be told for generations to come.

And we take our buckets and mops in arms,
our rubber gloves, our germ-proof armour.
And everything is a filter on a filter on a filter,
and dynamite Johnny is manning the control board,
waiting for the ok from HQ to fire the hydrogen peroxide bomb.

The invisible flying particle monsters,
they don't stand a chance against our diligent scouring of the earth.
Against our toxic cleaners that obliterate everything in their path.

Ladies and gentlemen, do not be alarmed,
but this is not a war without casualties.
Dust and dirt is breeding in your public toilets.
Germs are hiding in your clothes, in your hair.

Do not be alarmed, but the bacteria is everywhere.
Under a black light, this world is one massive pathogenic swamp.

We are host.
They are master.

And you can wash your hands before and after everything you do.
Wash your hands. Rinse and repeat.
Because washing your hands brings you momentary cleanliness
brings you momentary godliness.

And after you kiss your children goodnight, take a steaming hot bath to kill their diseases.
You don't want to catch the cooties, the collywobbles, the snot-goblins.
And you keep the anti-bacterial hand wash under your desk at work
because you don't want to catch the Monday-itis that's currently going around.
You hide behind a filter on a filter on a filter,
and you wash your hands and wash your hands and wash your hands,
and you scrub your hands to the bone.

And tonight, ladies and gentlemen,
I stand before you as a mad man with a death wish above my head that reads:
“I do not live in fear of these germs.
I want to keep the common cold common,”
do not be alarmed, when I cough and sneeze, but instead, celebrate my immune system
that has sacrificed so much for me to be here tonight,

but these airborne particles, these dust mites in your carpet,
that are killing your children, and your children's children,
these are the nine eleven of twenty ten.
And tonight, I stand before you as a dying man at the gallows, waiting to be hanged,
waiting for the executioner to pull the lever
and wash his hands,
and walk away.


  1. Agh, you went!? I was looking for someone to go with... Damn, will have to be next time.

    I like this a lot. Especially enjoyed the direct approach and the way the persona speaks straight to the audience. Definitely one that would be best appreciated when read aloud.

  2. Yeah, I'll probably go next time. Might try the open mic again.

    I performed this for my experimental writing class today, and I was disappointed to find it was one of the least experimental pieces in the mix. Oh well.

    But yeah, next cottonmouth, come along.