Thank You for Calling. Your Call Is Important to Us.

By Stephen Kampa

         For this poem in English, press one.
Para español, oprima el número dos.
         For a new life, the one you’ve dreamt of
even on vacations or in the middle of sex,

         press three. For sweet revenge—everything
from an out-of-control moose troupe in your boss’s house
         to the most flaming outbreak of rhoids
ever recorded planted right in the ass-pucker

         of the hand job who wallops you at
pick-up basketball every frigging weekend—press four.
         For confirmation of the number
of fingers you should have on each hand, Einstein, press five.

         For a delicious meal, beginning
perhaps with a light salad misted with balsamic
         vinaigrette and shading into roast
duck with sage and rosemary potatoes, then followed

         by a torte whose primary berries
you can’t even identify, press six. For heaven,
         press seven. Keep pressing seven. Yep,
that’s right. Just keep pressing it. To report a real-life

         medical emergency, press eight.
Kidding! You gongoozler. For any emergencies,
         you should hang up and dial 911.
Now, for a sense of self-worth and the importance of

         your incomparable contributions
to civilization (present and to come), press eight.
         For an elegant yet organic
theory about the nature of the universe that

         simultaneously unifies
strong, weak, gravitational, and electromagnetic
         forces with a wholly credible
harmonization of the gospels with a reason

         for why no matter what you do in
the shower—no matter how carefully you measure
         out dollops of shampoo with gobs of
conditioner—your shampoo always runs out first, press

         nine. To repeat this message, press pound.
To disconnect, press star. For a live operator,
         press onward and upward and outward.
For a prophecy about your future, press zero.


Stephen Kampa teaches poetry at Flagler College, as well as working as a musician. His first book of poems, Cracks in the Invisible, won a gold medal in poetry from the Florida Book Awards. His second collection, Bachelor Pad, was published this spring by the Waywiser Press.