five sections from Explosion Rocks Springfield

The Friday evening gas explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care.

I remember the breeze right before…

Burs of—was it willow—slant-falling.

The gray sidewalk, schist granules, scattering.

A brown dumpster lid smushing its green plastic, sandwich meat.

A rat made its debut, but for a moment.

I remember an awning string’s knotted tip soft-thudding a windowpane

—tympani’s uneven beat.

The rustle of stray trash—bass strings, almost rising

—but never.

And the chopper, the chopper—spittletatootling, spittletatootling—

A proud boot landing on obedient asphalt.

The stern, uncrying chrome.

The flighty flames decorative gas tank.

I can’t forget the beryllium blue sunshades

—orange hued at a glance.

And the stars and bars, starched, pressed, bandana.

Nation Idol Gorge

But for a moment



The Friday evening gas explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care.

Spartacus sprinklers (top rail)

Serial no. 21809A

Inspector 480F

Jiangxi Quality Products

Night Hawk Importers, San Bruno, CA

Roman Roads Distributors, Phoenix, AZ

Port of entry, Tacoma, WA

Tankard 10179.03

Inspector 4201

ILO quarterly report:

Case study 1142

Tingting Liu, 23, female

I.D. 41732

Platform 12, line 8, station 4

Muscular skeletal paralysis

3rd metatarsal taped to 2nd   phalangeal

4th proximal splinted to 5th distal

OSHA Region 1 final report:

Incident 2267, explosion (gas)

Inspector 505F

Sprinklers inoperable

Logic Tree branch 20

System of Safety failure

Mitigation device

16 drill holes stoppered

Weld burs not filed

Citation: 29CFR.1910.159(c)(12)

Notes: inspector 505F on leave

DOL budget sequestered

PUB.L. 112-25

District 2, 112th Congress

United States of America

The Friday evening gas explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care.

I remember the plume right after…

Orbs of—was it cinnamon—black-rising.

Vapor gray whitening shingle powder rain.

A dumpster lid sheered off a gravestone’s angel face.

A hawk’s claws claimed the stump.

I remember two spouts of thin flame, blue, making an X

—mind’s waking dream.

The hissing of gurgling plastic, supplicant—sick

—stomach’s inner eyeball.

And the bathtub, the bathtub—sittin’ pretty—sittin’ pretty—

The hysteric roof flopping on an unfazed floor.

The wise, ever-wakeful steel beams.

The cheery glass—beaming—everywhere.

I can’t forget that purple doorknob

—horny at a glance.

And the plump couch stuffing foam, blazing, angry.

City’s Final Chorus

But for a moment



The Friday evening gas explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care.

Spartacus Sprinklers (top rail)

Serial no. 21809A

Scrap metal yard F-2

Stripped steel tankard 28

Sampson Recyclers Ltd., Pittsfield, MA

Steelworkers local 4-12026

Smelting furnace 48

Slab beam rollout batch 81.2014

Semper Fortis Steel Precision Corp, Brooklyn, NY

Steelworkers local 4-200

Section cutting station no. 12

Steel cylinder hollow type 2b

Store & send department 4

Spirit of 76 Commercial Furnishing Corp, Slidell, LA

Steelworkers local 3-275

Sargon Sprinklers (bottom rail)

Serial no. 321911B

Sink coating station 12

Sanding unit 25

Seal testing station no. 7

Sprinklers standard specification 29CFR1910.159(b)

Station inspector 13

Sales packaging room H

Sort and storage garage 4

Second incidence of forklift crushing worker’s toes

Spirit of 76 Personnel Motivation Free Cupcake Fridays director, Chet Baker

Steelworkers local 3-275 chief steward, Marynella Fernandez

Section 5, clause 2 “Management shall comply with all state and federal standards”

Safety committee grievance no. 78: unannounced station rotations / inadequate training

Staff training regulation arbitration hearing 501.P.36

Sargon Sprinklers 1st annual wet t-shirt contest

Super Sonic Dance Club, 3rd Floor, Picayune, MS

The Friday evening gas explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care.

I don’t remember the very moment…

Flashes of—was I daydreaming—Biloxi Bound.

The termite swarm at dusk, balling up, sprinkling.  

A skeeter swirling in its hotel pool—for the first time.  

A no-see-um bug popped out from nowhere—but for a moment—to romp.  

I can’t say I recall Cleopatra’s hairpiece flying off in a speeding four-cylinder vehicle

—Empire of the Great Somewhere, but never.  

And the flying fish, the flying fish—hither-flopping, hither-flopping—

The carefree palms, twerking, injured.  

The bald, unyielding sun, giddy.  

Tentative feet in knee high water, gripping.

Have I forgotten the name of that triple IPA—something like

—Rondez The Moon à la Batshit.

And the ample sized black pockadots—in my eyes, twerking, carefully.

Empire of the Great Somewhere

But for a moment



Explosion Rocks Springfield* is Rodrigo Toscano's new book. It is even wilder and weirder than these*

  • sections suggest, and you can pick up your copy **from Amazon, Powell's, or your local poetry shop. *

*Only the first four of these sections appeared in the magazine. *

* *