This is a test, This is only a test

This is a test, This is only a test


1) The  woman knocks on your door

loudly, persistently

As you open the door,

she launches into her diatribe

She tells you and your wife

that you spent all of last night

drinking and fucking,

fucking and drinking

she has an empty whiskey bottle

Yukon Jack, which you used to-


You stare at her

speech gone

you have sober for the last thirty years

last night

you were at a meeting

then home

then home


She looks and laughs

“This is a test

This is only a test”


2)  You get the call

It’s male and a deep base

he has a threat

we have photos of you

committing fatal violence

in Charlotte

North Carolina,

a place you never remember being

in this life or any past one

He demands $10,000

in unmarked $20 bills

You refuse

You hang up


Next day

the photos arrive

they are grainy

could be anyone doing anything

                 anyone doing anything

the day after the next

the letter arrives

in block newsprint

like a hostage payment request

“This is a test

This is only a test”


3)  The Officers stand at your door

they identify themselves as Police always do

You are requested to accompany them

“This is not routine”

Your wife starts to put on her coat

but is told

this is not allowed

“Procedure, Mum”


In the car

you ask them

What is going on

leaving out the expletive

At first

it’s like you never spoke

Then the one on the right

Only the one on the right

has his face slowly turn around

His face becomes …

then it changes…

to your first lover

the one who was a non child

even though you were


This is a test

This is the sanity test

This is a pass/fail test

You did not-





About bobsmall1

Bob Small has read at Bacchanal, Barnes and Noble, Borders, The Booksource (Swarthmore), The Clark Park Festivals,Community College of Philadelphia Highwire Gallery, The Mad Poets Annual Food Fest Reading, The Middle East Restaurant, Nexus GalleryThe Painted Bride Arts Center, The Philadelphia Ethical Society, Robin's Bookstore The University of Pennsylvania and also in New York City, Trenton, NJ, Washington, DC, and in many Delaware Valley Venues. He is the author of numerous chapbooks, including El Otro Lado (with Maralyn Lois Polak), On watching America Die, Small Steps and Toes (with Lamont B. Steptoe), and The Unapoet. This is his first Reading in over a year. Bob Small was Founder and President of the two decades old Poets and Prophets, which presented Poetry Readings in both Delaware County and Philadelphia. Bob was the Chair of The Delaware County Green Party and was the First Green Party Candidate in Delaware County (2005). He was also a Green Party National Delegate, among other duties. He is the Founder and Facilitator of The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition (PaBac), which is a Coalition of both Independents and Third Parties., seeking to legislatively improve Pennsylvania's Ballot Access Laws. (Facebook) Bob is also a founding member and Facilitator of Democracy Unplugged, and Delco Debates, which has presented Independent and Third Party Forums in Delaware County since 2004. Facebook) He was formerly involved with Cinema Resistance, and Delco Pledge of Resistance. Bob currently lives in Swarthmore with his wife and their menagerie of animals. He is currently focused on writing a Novel and organizing his Poetry, which he posts on his Blog (Bob Small1). He is retired from most of the above activities, except Delco Debates and Poets and Prophets, which he may return to.
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