An Ongoing Lack of Spontaneous Combustion | Pearl Pirie

An Ongoing Lack of Spontaneous Combustioncoverdraft_matchbackground

by Pearl Pirie

$12.00 | 978-0-9940839-8-2

APRIL 2016

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An Ongoing Lack of Spontaneous Combustion are poems with a menagerie of sidekicks, hippos, ladybugs, and giraffes, all on the same sometimes senseless, sometimes surreal, sometimes ecstatic journey.






“Tonight, in a city you will never visit,

no one finds your absence strange.”

 ~Young Smith


if the gate latch opens you should go in. the house

looks like yours, but displaced across national lines.

you’ll find the same cookbook, and snow on falling cedars

you started in French in a library in Amsterdam,

found again in English in a b&b in Québec, here.

the red comforter, Brunkrissla, is the same

as you had. the mustard yellow of a past home

is painted on the wrong wall. the trash bin’s

injected polypropylene is yours. yours. hold on,

look for the beat up cap behind the door, find one

not quite right, too clean, a different team, but the

hook is there. check for the stash in the toilet and

find it moved, or drank. see if mother’s wad of secrets

is where it should be, but in the bedroom, the dresser

is all 70s wrong. and whose tie is this? whose cufflinks?

when those who live here come in, those whose

home this is, they’ll be understanding of your babble.

maybe they’ll give you pie from this familiar red

Corningware plate to keep you there while a sweet

officer, Jim, comes to help you meet more nice people.


under the tongues of thunder


and past power lines, they take longer flights

than I realized, those pachyderms and

hippopotami. how do they muster such grace?

a red fedora-crowned hippo, like a cab in toenails,

lands at my hail, replies: you can only fly

for as long, as well, as I can, if you train for years

by carrying hearses of friends. after that

having the stamina to float alone comes easily.


PEARL PIRIE was born surrounded by an Old McDonald’s farm of chickens, ironwood, leopard frogs, rabbits, maple, cedars, ponies, cattle, white maple, and the occasional sheep, goat, llama, and donkey.  She has three trade collections, most recently the pet radish, shrunken (BookThug 2015), and over a dozen chapbooks over the last 16 years. | | @pesbo