THE ACCORDIONIST: Willy Higinbotham, Electronics Group leader

October 9, 2014

Lightning snaps at the windows. The sky snarls.

Monstrous, magnificent Karloff snarls likewise,

only louder.

A doctor gloats. A little girl will die, will die.

Like us. But sooner. The crowd hunkers, thrilled, thralled,

a blood-hungry crowd.


Fritz carries a torch for his dear doctor,

and waves it.

He’d light the way, jealous of genius

or deformity. These days, no telling them apart.

I try, I try. For the life of me, I—

Science should be an art.


Brittle film stock stutters

on Army surplus sprockets          snaps

like Fritz’s neck. Another corpse to count.

The masses rumble, restless, threaten thunder,

demand I man my Stomach Steinway.

I wheeze. I moan. They stomp and clap.


Spliced, we proceed. Strickfaden’s Tesla coils

arc and sputter like first love. Still aglow,

I magicked a bootstrap generator’s sawtooth pulse.

Now Oppie sutures me as new group head.

I play along, though in the end I know

a monster burns.