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Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet

Eddie Spaghetti
You hear about him?
All day long noodles grow
out of his skin
That’s why the guy is called Eddie
Spaghetti
And how do you think he appears
in the morning?
The noodles adorning his body
Like hair
So he shaves every one of them off
of his limbs
off his chest and his face
Sweeps them into his case
(You know since those noodles
would stuff up the drain)
and carries them all down to Cleveland Place
and feeds them to the pigeons there
in Kenmare Square where he sits for a bit
and thinks about the alphabet
The letter A is
a triangle with legs,
and B is for beans, which
Eddie once thought
were animals, mammals,
he’d spoon out of cans, and cook in pans,
though he now knows are seeds
and C is for crow, don’t you know,
they were flying about
persecuting a sparrow
and D’s for distributing noodles to them
which he daily does drinking
his black deli tea
and E, Eddie thought, always looked like a comb — one you’d find in the street
missing most of its teeth.
F is for frog which he used to believe
were birds that had eaten their feathers
and wings
and plopped into rivers and ponds
and streams
and fell from their ledges and poles
and trees
to their deaths on the sidewalks and streets
and roads
not just frogs, also toads —
progenitors of dinosaurs
and G is for gulls, gliding over the river,
engorging themselves
on the garbage-rich water
and H is a letter that looks like a ladder
the top of a ladder emerging from fog
the Greek word for which is amusing,
he thought,
in light of the dream of the patriarch
Jacob — and I, what’s an I
but a pillar of salt
like Lot’s poor wife
who despite being warned
watched Gomorrah and Sodom
completely destroyed
and she cried and her tears dried away
leaving salt which — she wept so much —
formed a thick, crystal crust
encasing her, replacing her,
out there in the desert
and J is the tail of a cat on a ledge
and K is the kitchen it wants to get in
to, while L is for lice
and M is for mice
and N is for nice, as in: wouldn’t it be
very nice if the mice could eat all of the lice?
and O is the shape of your mouth
when you mouth O
and P is for pistachio
don’t pee on my mustachio
and Q is for question, the ultimate question,
the ultimate answer is nobody knows so
be careful, attentive
and Q is for quit – i.e., freedom from debt –
it’s related to peace, via quiet
and R is for rain is as strange as manna
and S is a snake with no head and no tail
whereas T is a nail, or a tack on a track
a track on a tract,
so don’t let them distract you
and U is a horseshoe,
good luck to find iron
and V, Eddie thought,
as a pigeon shot off of a rooftop, is
for vagabond — from Latin vagari
to wander, related to vague, undecided
to wander and wonder is W’s word
or windmill, no, X is a windmill
and Y looks just like a divining rod,
which leads you to water — and
in the near future you’ll most likely want one
thought Eddie Spaghetti
we’re practically finished
the last letter, Z, is for ziggurat

 

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Elliot Sperber is a writer, attorney, and adjunct professor. He lives in New York City and can be reached at elliot.sperber@gmail.com and on twitter @elliot_sperber

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