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Shock Treatment copyright  © 1993 by Kurt Nimmo

Poet Bio
    Kurt Nimmo

Sample Poems
   I Don't Care
   Thank You & Have a Nice Day
   All My Goddamn Shit

Poet Bio

Kurt Nimmo photo by Paul Kiscaden

Kurt Nimmo was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1952. He lived in Georgia and Florida in the 1970s and now makes Canton, Michigan his home. In the late '70s, he co-edited the successful literary magazine, The Smudge. In the '80s, he edited Planet Detroit. Kurt has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes for fiction, and two of his books were selected as "modern classics" by the Wormwood Review.

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I Don't Care

I get real emotional
I want to destroy things,
ruin careers
demand retribution
for crimes
I imagine.
I could care less,
remain steadfastly
about anything
which means
I don't vote,
nor do I even like the president.
I'm not a voting citizen.
I live here in this society
because this is where I was born,
not that I asked to be born.
I don't want to participate in
or even think about things which happen
—wars, drug busts, international
conferences on world-wide trading policy,
satanic murders, depletion of the goddamn ozone
which will burn us all alive
I don't care.
I care so much
that I feel like I'm ready to explode.
I want to take a rifle and attack the barracks,
I want to protest & sit on the steps
of the Capitol or burn myself alive like
a Buddhist monk—that's how much
I care sometimes.
There must be something wrong with me.
Most of the time I want to
have Mao return—an American Mao,
maybe who looks like Sid Caesar
& kick our stupid,
lazy, spoiled,
instead of
doing anything
I write this
down &
© 1993 Kurt Nimmo

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Thank You & Have a Nice Day

When I go
to the discount drug store
for my wine & cigars
a guy who looks like Peter Sellers
almost walks into me.
I'm invisible.
Peter Sellers does not
see me or maybe simply refuses to see me.
I get out of the way & this new Peter Sellers
walks through the door & out into
late afternoon sunshine
which is everywhere like immigrants
or maybe some fantastic invasion.
I walk over to where
they are selling
my wine & cigars to anybody with money
& I pass a mirror on sale
& I see myself there
with my stupid beard
& equally stupid sunglasses
& then I know I'm not invisible
or have I died & gone somewhere
a place where the living can't see me
but where I can
move the furniture around the room
or stare at women while they do their potty.
I'm alive
though not really well
& I walk over to where my wine & cigars
wait for me or anybody with money
& I grab one of each
with my plainly visible hands.
When I go
to the register
the girl there stares
at a mark on the wall
or maybe the cosmetics display
& she really doesn't see me there
with my wine & my cigars
& maybe she is blind
a new Helen Keller
hired to placate demonstrators
who demonstrate
for the teeming multitudes
of angry & violent handicapped
& I think about being born
without eyes or toenails
all the terrible lives wasted
working at fried chicken outlets
or bankrupt accounting firms
& I wait
as I've always waited
for somebody to notice me
& take my money
& then mouth
a nearly indiscernible
thank you & have
a nice day.
© 1993 Kurt Nimmo

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All My Goddamn Shit

This house
I rent from
an ex-school teacher
is a fucking mess
& the mess is all my fault.
I am a sloppy person.
I am waiting for my mother to arrive
& clean everything up
though she is dead & will never arrive.
It is all my responsibility.
I am a slob
though I said that already.
I walk around & inspect my messy house.
There are beer bottles on the table
& there are magazines on the floor
& there is stuff everywhere
disorganized junk
everywhere in my life.
I am out of clean underwear
& tomorrow I have to go to work
& at work they expect you to wear
clean shorts
though they don't say as much
in the corporate manual.
All my shirts are dirty
& there are no clean pants in the
old dresser I inherited
from my brother
a cheap thing made in Korea
or South Carolina
& bought twenty-five years ago
by my father.
I dislike furniture.
I dislike take-out food
& plastic wrappers
& styrofoarn cups
but the Rubbermaid garbage can
in the kitchen under the microwave
is filled with plastic
& paper & old newspapers
& voter registration circulars
from last year.
If I had a wife or even a girlfriend
she would tell me that I'm a slob
& that she is not my mother
& that I should
clean up after myself.
I should go to the laundry
& clean my pants & shins & shorts
but instead I turn on the TV
& watch a basketball game
that I don't care anything about.
Then I decide that I need a beer
& there is nothing in the fridge
except an old pizza
with green stuff growing on it
& I'm disgusted & lazy
& I hate having to
take care of myself
or anybody else
& I want a
But I can't go out & get a beer
because all my shorts are dirty
& it is ten degrees out there
& I tell myself that
I don't need a beer
so I settle for
a glass of
Then I walk around the house
glaring at all the messy situations
that I have created
& that I am ultimately
responsible for
& tell myself
that I should
get a better job
so I can hire a woman
to come
in once a week
& do the things
I can't seem to do
like wash the dishes
or iron a few shirts
for the job
I hate
& feel resentful
for having
to hold.
Then I flop down
on the sofa
which my father gave me
when he moved into a new condo
ten years ago
& the sofa smells
like beer & cigarettes
& human sweet glands
& I sigh
& scratch my useless balls
which are easy to scratch
because I'm not wearing
any underwear
because everything
in my life
is dirty or unorganized
& I don't do anything
except stare at
the ceiling
& smell the sofa
& think about
one of
© 1993 Kurt Nimmo

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