Robert Olen Butler Official Website


There are no animals. Seeing balcony railings, park benches, window ledges in the Great Metropolis, everyone aches at the memory of birds

Montezuma stuffs tacos for throngs at Taco Bell, wearing flayed skin of Cortés, the rest of whom waits hopelessly nearby for golden fries

On tube, “The Genghis Khan Factor”: the Mongol & Rush Limbaugh utterly agree & wink & are wed on air: the consummation is Hell’s reality TV

In the cleric’s bar: Khomeini regrets his fatwa getting Rushdie laid 1000 times; Jimmy Swaggart regrets the ayatollah not going after him

Hoa the Saigon bargirl died by drug-addled American’s jealous hand, now drinks Hell Tea alone, longing for the way he tonguetipped her spine

Bronx tagger Scat 164, with can of cobalt blue, can’t tag on empty wall: it was always about who he is: still got Scat but he got no street

A host of Holy Men here, unaware religions are performance art & their truths metaphorical: when metaphor turns into dogma, real sin begins

Hell’s Great Metropolis is ringed in mountains where, in a cave, Osama bin Laden forever mistakes Cecil Rhodes for an adorable mountain goat

Hugh Hefner finds a blue pill at his bedside: he takes it & what he then has will never end & there is nowhere to put it & no doctor to call

Gertrude Stein gorges on bad hash Twinkies & reads Harlequins in apartment hung with Thomas Kinkades & finds that a Hell is a Hell is a Hell

One 4-letter word is never ever spoken, the L-word, & many spend the long night wracked by how a parent, a spouse prefigured this for them

When she comes to earth at night to steal seed to make demons, Lilith knows the man is dreaming of someone else. Even succubi suffer in Hell

A Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu & an athiest are in a boat on the River Styx, heading for the dock, waiting for the joke to end

He put just-for-them nude pix of ex on Internet. Now he dangles naked on city-center lamppost: tiny enough before, it’s even tinier here

His grocery had a broom at check-out, charged to each stranger. If they noticed: O wasn’t it yours? He & broom do B. Madoff’s high colonic

Ended as bones under a dump fire in the Jersey Meadowlands, he is now reassembled, still an unmade man, once Joey Onions, here he’s John Doe

For Ben it’s all about a woman he left for another: she whistled tunes: he hears her thru the walls: he will forever hear her whistling

Descartes’ mother coughed blood & died before he could speak, think: he knows now he hid in his mind: ustulo ergo sum: I burn therefore I am

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