Bildungsroman ((a guided tour))

      After Propp's Morphology of the Folktale

By Bill Moran

Usually, it goes like:

1. Boy wakes up in wall,
has to eat his way out.

2. Boy goes all day vomiting plaster into the shower (or dad’s loafers),
hopes he falls down the drain.

(3. How far our Featherweight champ does lean
on the ropes of his grief ring.

4. How rudely he appears from the wall like a hickey,
head-sized & foul-mouthed

((and I bet that's what he is: a loud bruise. (((You have to be, when your family history is such a hundred-year fist.

((((5. It's halloween in July and I bet you’re wondering “what's with the plastic vampire teeth, honey?” Well, Mom, it's practice.

(((((6. Boy been reading up on blueprints, "load-bearing,” Jonah, anatomy of whales. Woke up in daddy's briefcase one morning, in daddy's gun closet the next, then in daddy himself. That's three whales in three days. Chewed clean through all three.

((((((7. Boy wakes up in kitchen wall, has to eat his way out.

8. 
Boy wakes in bottle of Vicodin, has to eat his way out.

9. Boy Hero, in epic quest, crosses physical threshold which reveals new landscape of psychological/spiritual maturity but sometimes he gets stuck in between and just boils there with his showerbeer.

10. Worried Boy wakes up in himself, has to white pill his way out.

11. Boy wakes in a Robin Williams’ hive with honey teeth, laughing or choking
or both.

12. Kitchen is Chris Farley’s giant mouth. The garage, Shane MacGowan’s. You can rearrange things, sure, but the house won’t howl any less loud.

13. Boy wakes with 100 faces, none the one he started out with.

14. Boy wakes behind the holy eyelids of his parish priest and Lord, 100 showers wouldn’t be enough.

15. Boy wakes up in his Want, has to want his way out.

16. Boy draws a bath of hormone and dozes off in the tub. Dreams he’s JFK. Marilyn explodes out the showerhead singing Happy Birthday straight at his head.

17. Boy dreams of icing on her $12,000 dress. Of men in nice suits doing things so vile1, it rots the shower curtain right off the rod.

18. Boy sees two options here: be dead Kennedy or Dead Kennedy. In his sleep, he chants California Über Alles!

19. 
Boy wakes in daddy’s cologne, has to apologize it off his arms.

20. Brother wakes up in his little sister. She opens her thigh with a cake knife and asks him to leave.

21. Boy wakes up chewing “sorry,” loud as a bible-worth of wedding cake.

22. Boy wakes in the vanilla cake of his Anxiety, has to sweet talk his way out.

23. Boys wakes in his Anxiety again. This morning, with lockjaw. He stays in there all day.

24. Boy imagines the front teeth of women, easy sinkin’ into icing. His oh so nervous icing.

25. Boy wakes in an oven and rolls into an oven and this is his life.

26. Boy wakes in bed, bloated, hungry, gives up,
thinks it’s probably rain knocking on his window but who knows,

could be teeth.
(((((((27. Boy is actually 100 boys and all their teeth are fake. Grins fulla glass or pills, but goddamn the kids look sharp. ((((((((28. Boy oh boy,


what a quiet kid, what a strong jaw.
(((((((((

29.

Usually, Boy wakes in the kitchen wall,
right behind the refrigerator.

                        He’s inside the kitchen wall,
                        and at the same time, also standing in the kitchen.
                        Usually, Boy wheels the fridge out of the way,
                        and waits for himself to emerge.

                        but today, he pours a glass of white wine

                        and leaves it there.
                        )))))))))



Bill Moran is a first-year MFA poetry candidate at Louisiana State University and a former EMT. He was the 2012 and 2013 Austin Poetry Slam Champion, president of the poetry non-profit Mic Check, and has performed and taught poetry internationally. His work is forthcoming in Phoebe and FreezeRay Press.