These poems originally appeared in the July 2012 issue of B O D Y.
WHAT KIND OF PSYCHIC SOCCER OCTOPUS ARE YOU? 1
I’m rooting for Belgium
because of their fries.
No, I’m rooting for Slovenia
because of their statues of poets.
No, I’m rooting for Deutschland
because of käsekuchen.
No, I’m rooting for Italy
because Il Corriere loves American TV.
No, I’m rooting for Angola
because it seems about time for them.
No, I’m rooting for Mexico
because of the days of their dead.
No, I’m rooting for Ethiopia –
lions, stand up!
Come out of the forest and free us
from their aquariums and tongues,
lions, o lions, o lions.
WHAT KIND OF PSYCHIC SOCCER OCTOPUS ARE YOU? 2
But what is this team in orange?
Oh, them, says the octopus.
I like them too.
They are like the orange of the tavern lights
that I see from my tank, he says.
They are like the orange of sixty-watt light
outside my closed eyelid, I say.
Intriguing, says the octopus.
We both of us see
through a skin on our eyes.
Do you mean the water
or the glass of the tank? I ask.
Either one, he says. Or both.
But it doesn’t matter.
Look at that orange.
BRADLEY PAUL was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1972. His poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Smartish Pace, Fence, Pleiades, Iowa Review, and numerous other journals. In 2004 his first book of poetry, The Obvious, was selected by Brenda Hillman for the New Issues Poetry Prize. His second book, The Animals All Are Gathering, won AWP’S Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, and was published in 2010 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the painter and writer Karri Paul.