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Saturday, January 06, 2007


by Sandy McIntosh

One afternoon, their God announced that he would destroy the world. (Someone had made a silly joke about him and, as usual, he’d taken umbrage.) “I could wipe you off the planet with my snotty hankie, or burn you with my cigar,” he thundered. “Instead, to teach you a lesson, I’ll do it in a way you’ll understand.” He announced that he would build an explosive device of incomprehensible destructive power. Then he roiled the sky with red and blue theatrical lights, swirling clouds. From out of the sea he arose to confront us, his splendid figure magnificently muscled, standing almost seven feet tall, and wearing a peek-a-boo loincloth.

Then he disappeared into our city. We heard that he’d set up shop in an old barn. Someone saw him at the dump, scavenging parts from discarded televisions. He even came to our door to borrow a screwdriver. A month later, the rumor was that he’d taken a job pumping gas in order to pay the rent on a larger workshop. We trembled at the thought of his huge bomb nearing completion and of the horrendous consequences to follow. We’d already packed our bags, withdrawn our savings from the bank, and let the cat out.

Months passed without cataclysm. The newspaper reported that he had made a speech at a Rotary Club dinner, and the mayor had suggested that he might do well in politics, perhaps becoming a judge. The big factory he’d built at the edge of town for his bomb construction was the second largest employer in the county, surpassed only by Wal-Mart. He was becoming a community big shot, always smiling and throwing kisses when you’d meet him in the street. It was rumored that the leading political party wanted to draft him for the mayor’s job. Anyone could see that he was enjoying himself. Gradually, we began to relax, tentatively unpacking our bags.

But still the threat of imminent annihilation was there like an annoying insect, buzzing and biting when you’d least expected it. We didn’t know whether to renew our magazine subscriptions or pay the cable bill. “Why torture us this way?” I asked my wife when the newspaper hinted that he might be secretly dating a movie star. “Why doesn’t he just get it over with?” My wife mused, “There’s something about these immortal beings,” she said. “They’re thinking, ‘Screw ‘em! We’ve got all the goddamn time in the world’.”

Sandy McIntosh’s collections of poetry include The After-Death History of My Mother, Between Earth and Sky (Marsh Hawk Press), Endless Staircase (Street Press), Earth WorksWhich Way to the Egress? (Garfield Publishers), and two chapbooks: Obsessional (Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry) and Monsters of the Antipodes (Survivors Manual Books). His prose includes Firing Back, with Jodie-Beth Galos (John Wiley & Sons), From A Chinese Kitchen (American Cooking Guild), and The Poets In the Poets-In-The-SchoolsTimes, Newsday, The Nation, the Wall Street Journal, American Book Review, and elsewhere. His original poetry in a film script won the Silver Medal in the Film Festival of the Americas. He has been Managing Editor of Confrontation (Long Island University), (Minnesota Center for Social Research, University of Minnesota. His poetry and essays have been published in The New York magazine published by Long Island University, and is Managing Editor of Marsh Hawk Press.