For Shame, People


Delicate breakfast sandwiches rarely win the race for bubblegum’s affection (or even attention for Christ’s sake), but I’m not so sure we should be concerning ourselves with that in the first place. Why would such a substanceless substance call the shots over a much more qualified and fortified adversary? It makes no sense, and these meddlesome “critics” are letting their imaginations run wild. Are we really that disconnected from what’s good for us?

Well this reporter simply has no time to bandy this mincemeat word stew about, to and fro, over the graves of countless visionary gourmets past. I’m shrugging and moving on. Don’t you realize that we have more pressing matters at hand?! I’ll be damned if we get into a candy vs. food argument for a third time this afternoon. It’s disturbing to think that an entire subset of the economy is devoted to this pointless dreck. We still haven’t addressed the mosquito net shortage in Lesser Zambiblia. It’s been nigh on seven weeks now without so much as a stitch sewn. For shame, people.

Taken Care Of


Listen up, people. The latest intelligence is just rolling in now, and we’re in a bit of a pickle (to say the least). We may only be certain at this time that the entire town proper unknowingly lies in unprecedented peril. The warning signs have been more subtle than we, the clean, god-fearing citizens of our great nation-state could have ever imagined–or even dreamt. Damn it all! If it weren’t for our massively-overfunded team of quantum physicists, we wouldn’t even have the means to begin strategizing. Money well spent, gentlemen–AND WOMEN (apologies)!

I need to be blunt, as time is of the essence. We must to gird ourselves for the continuous unfolding population of non-native spongemonkeys, who have been granted the upper hand in lower east side pedway algae management. Since they have no natural enemies in this particular environment, they will continue spreading through all urbanized environments, unabated, until someone develops a plan of attack to at least curb their reproduction.

Every man, woman and child currently tasked with this difficult (some would say oppressive) undertaking have overwhelmingly speculated that at this current pace, it could take several decades for the infrastructure to accommodate a well-regulated spongemonkey population in balance with the area’s indigenous species. The first several generations of these… things… will serve as a barometer for the viability of future population management. Left unchecked, these godawful walking carbuncles could render urban inhabitance more of a bother than it’s worth.

Are we or are we not the most important invasive species on this planet?!

Damn straight. Let’s get this taken care of.

Meanwhile, in the Depths of Space [III] – Fred Radlers, DDS


We enter upon the peculiar timeline of one Mr. Fred Radlers. Well, he actually prefers to be addressed as Fred Radlers, DDS (or simply Dr. Fred if you’re not into all that formality). Once universally-acclaimed as a top-notch oral surgeon and overall consummate professional, he doesn’t earn a living that way anymore, and most likely never will. Any friend or loved one (hell, even any basic acquaintance) of his will be the first to tell you–in an attempt to save you some time and sanity–that he’ll never let you forget that he is and always will be a masterful doctor of dental surgery. There are numerous theories floating around as to the origin of this personality trait, but it’s all conjecture (and makes for rather dull conversation anyway).

It’s commonly known that Dr. Fred once attended regular psychotherapy at the peak of his rat race involvement as a measure of forestalling a sizable psychotic breakdown (which we’re not sure was averted anyway). It’s quite probable that he used those sessions to unpack the underlying condition responsible for the inevitable failure to relinquish that irrelevant arrangement of capital letters after his name, but he has very clearly chosen to keep that information close to his chest these days. Hey, to each his own.

The overwhelming majority of folks facing Fred’s predicament would simply drop the professional distinction as a measure of removing any unnecessary hassles or hindrances from their overarching tranquility while they navigate the remainder of their compromise-laden lives, but good ol’ Dr. Fred has held steadfast to his vision ever since he made a promise to himself in a vivid dream involving the darling buds of May and sugarplum fairies in a strange kind of pageant/dance-off judged by three carebear-esque beings of contrasting colors (so you know they’ll be fair and impartial). I recommend that you don’t bring it up with him, unless you’d like to be berated with his ideologies for a solid ten minutes without the ability to sneak a word in edgewise.

Dr. Fred now spends his time as a rogue backpacker in the Belgian countryside, sampling magnificent beers along the way. His teeth remain immaculate.

Whims


Threatened marsupial populations instinctually flock to higher ground to avoid becoming dinner for frenzying snapdragon yarn munchers.

Most people will tell you that they obtained this particular knowledge from watching one of any number of educational nature programs, because they choose to take in the world through someone else’s lens, satisfied with a few pretty pictures and a soothing voice to assure them that they’ve made the right choice.

Well, I’ve personally witnessed this phenomenon on more than one occasion, and I’ll be the first to tell you that it is most certainly preferable to stay home and leave it to the professionals. I’m just plain tuckered out after all that adventuring and subsequent hiding from those malevolent snapdragon yarn munchers, the inconsiderate beasts. Take my advice, kid: we humans aren’t equipped to withstand Mother Nature’s whims the way we used to (when we had no choice in the matter anyway).

Cute to Be Clever


A clunky oxford comma won’t save your hide this time, youngling, I’ve personally seen to that. My crack team of professional writers and editors has just completed debriefing your current (and long-suffering, from what I understand) creative writing instructor on the grammatical and stylistic negligence running rampant through your work, and all she could do was shake her head. Apparently you’ve only ever provided her with “disjointed exercises in irrelevant futility” (her words), and haven’t even attempted to link your compositions to the innovative writers before you. You know who I’m talking about, those mental giants who made your layabout lifestyle possible in the first place. We are all appalled, to put it mildly. This will most assuredly sound harsh to you, seated right in the midst of the most comfortable generation, accustomed to automatic rewards for any and all efforts regardless of actual merit.

Sure, I can accept your indignation. After all, you’ve never met me and probably believe in your heart of hearts that this intervention is unwarranted, but listen carefully, buddy boy. Having written three iterations of the great American novel, I would say I have some sway in this arena.

Now before you get smart with me here, I’m going to level with you in the hopes of changing your mind (or at least getting you to listen). When I was young and impressionable, probably just about your age, I was perpetually writing my guts out and getting nowhere. My very finest examples of literary achievement were all uniformly rejected by “The Man,” and I had absolutely no recourse. It was the absolute darkest time of my life, let me tell you. It was only then, when every day seemed like an endless moaning trudge through a soundproofed cave with no entrance or exit, that I began listening to reason. I snapped out of my loathsome little pity party and made it my new duty to read every example of classic literature that I could get my hands on.

Some time into this ritualistic behavior, I once again took up the immortal mantle and began emulating these immortal techniques as though my life depended on it. Only after three solid years of daily classic consumption and imitation did I have any basis for penning my own opus, and even then, I had no idea where to start. Six more years passed before I’d amassed enough material to complete my first manuscript and submit it to all the most prestigious presses for consideration, and it was uniformly panned as “uninspired and unoriginal.” I’d spent so much time absorbing previously-written works that I essentially boiled them down into one book of derivative nonsense that felt like twenty well-known stories smashed together. Now, in this situation, where nearly ten years had passed and I had virtually nothing to show for it, you’d think that I’d just want to hang up my gloves for good, never touch the stuff that brought me so much abject humiliation and self-loathing. Well then, you clearly don’t know me well enough. It was then and there that I sprang into action, dissecting my 1,200+ page manuscript and reassembling it into the three seminal works that have buttered my bread ever since.

Throughout that decade or so of tedium, I circled around the ultimate truth of craft so many times that it eventually became my every thought: “nobody wants to read your overly-complicated contemporary stuff, so just write something vaguely reminiscent of the literary canon and pretend that you organically reached those concepts.”

I know that most young people will stand up and scoff at such a notion, but they’ve never lived through a dark period of endemic illiteracy. So before you write me off as just another handsome eccentric on your eclectic road through life, remember that you’ll never get anywhere if you think it’s cute to be clever.

Management


PLEASE DO NOT TRY ON THE FLOOR MODELS!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION! :)
-MANAGEMENT

I apologize, but I’m simply unable to consider purchasing this hat before trying it on to see how it frames my face. Look, Darryl–can I call you Darryl? Oh, it’s Steve? My mistake. Listen, Steve. I know what you’re thinking. I’m not really that kind of guy. Man to man, I personally would have no issue letting that floor model policy slide, but I have certain principles to uphold in front of my son, and smart shopping is right up at the top of that list.

I promised my wife from jump street that I would be an equal partner in upholding certain principles in order to prepare our Montavius for the rigors of the wider world around him. Now that she’s gone, I’m doing my absolute best to honor her wishes.

How about it, Steve? Do you think you could let it slide just this once? If it helps you make the decision, the natural oil content of my hair is pretty low. I shampoo it practically every day, which I know they say is bad for it, but it’s become such a routine at this point that I don’t even think about it anymore. Point being, you can tell your manager that their precious floor model chapeau has nothing to fear when it comes to my head.

-One brief storeroom chat later-

No dice, huh? And they wonder why brick and mortar hatteries are going the way of the passenger pigeon. Another perfectly good father-son Sunday wasted on account of out of touch merchants. I didn’t think it would have to come to this, but you forced my hand. Let’s go, Monty. Dad has no choice but to order a so-called vintage fedora from someone’s arts and crafts website.

I didn’t think it would have to come to this, Steve, and I know you didn’t have any say in the final outcome here, so I’m gonna level with you. I can tell that you’re basically a good kid, and I wish nothing but the best for you in the future. A bit of advice for you, young man: Don’t let the establishment stand between you and your happiness. Just remember that.

Brought to the Fore


Isn’t there a smugness associated with camping out in the corner of a neighborhood coffee shop, where the people truly don’t give a leech-tempered scrotum nodule about appearances–if you’ll pardon the indiscreet language–and even if they kinda do, it’s only surface level and they understand the insignificance of such a worry?

The answer does happen to be yes, but don’t you worry about wondering why such a question was even brought to the fore. All you have to do is sit in your favorite chair and estimate how many jelly beans I can stuff up my nose before the Willie Nelson impersonators have their semi-annual hair tie clearance sale.

Now,
all of our futures are riding on this predictive ability, mind you. You think I’m joking? Cute, Delores, cute. Just wipe that smirk off of your face and give me something–anything–to keep me from strangling this piece of string cheese. Why? Trust me, this shifty little dairy twine segment gave me a weird look just a second ago (while your back was turned, no less), and I’m just about this close to dancing the bifurcation mambo, givin’ it the ol’ squanta-manoo, tearing up the sheets and declaring war on the irresponsible regime impoverishing a resource-rich nation with a notoriously-underserved and widely illiterate populace.

You know, a beheading. Do I have to spell everything out for you? I don’t know why I’m surprised, It’s just like you to space out when I’m talking about capital punishment. You really remind me of your mother right now. I remember I would used to see her standing out on the balcony trying to count the pigeons down below on the sidewalk–67 stories above the ground–pointing out that they looked even more minuscule than ants, those pointy-headed fucks.

I know, I know, I’m projecting here. She never called them pointy-headed fucks, but she did seem to have a particular tone of voice when referring to those little exoskeletal drones.

At any rate, she’d be standing there on the balcony, looking down at the majesty below her–she should have been looking up–and that’s when the muse would visit her. One time in particular has been seared into my memory. I was doing my daily toe-touches by the open door when I heard her mutter “I really should have canned that giardiniera about a day or two earlier if it’s going to be ready for the September to Remember sockhop/bar mitzvah/charity ballyhoo, but that’s okay, because I have my man and my Delores.”

It damn near broke my heart, were it not made of secondhand galoshes hastily stitched together during Frankenstein’s monster’s greatest time of need.

Perfectly Honest


The very notion of blending a stereotypical extra-helping son-of-a-gun with a monkey’s uncle, if disseminated properly, should just about rehydrate the masses with the piss and vinegar they’ve been sorely lacking in this age of interpretive incontinence (one would think). There’s really no excuse at this point to bank on any other outcome, if we’re to be perfectly honest with one another.

Sure, there are plenty of other theoretical outcomes, but when practicality comes knocking at the door, the ensuing scramble for pragmatism will inevitably result in the mating call of the perpetual compromiser: “let’s just call it a day, shall we? It’s not as though anyone else is really doing much to stall this circus of mottled indiscretions anyway.” Okay, so maybe that’s a bit too contrived to be the universally-accepted mating call, but you get the picture.

Each generation faces the ever-present tumult of failure-studded progress; the wisest among us will inevitably batten down the hatches and continue practicing their craft, content to further their own life’s work while the turbulence around them blows itself out.

Nothing Quite Like


Checking all the AC units in an underfunded public school for gremlins
or
building a steakhouse out of cotton swabs and earwax
or
charging a rhinoceros with grand larceny for the theft of pretentious stereo equipment
or
engineering the perfect dinner party, only to lose your sole lucky sock twelve minutes before the first guest’s arrival
or
a quick spritz from the produce section while you’re on your way to the local rock opera group’s weekly public dress rehearsal
or
notching your belt for no reason in particular, other than to impress strangers who are peculiar enough to examine your belt for such markings (you run in a strange crowd)
or
listing the daily indignities experienced by your average woman artist as you’re also trying to figure out the way to San Jose
or
just being the stagnant kind of person who won’t listen to reason when faced with the unfettered opinions brought forth by the more stable individuals in your life.

Afire


We lit afire a pile of tires.

Now hear us out before you pass judgment. We figured there was no other way to adequately dispose of them in here this neck of the woods, having already thrown together a hasty pop-up shop in an attempt to somehow sell those tires (in the wake of that huge indy car race to end all indy car races–I’m sure you’ve read about it somewhere, what with all the invasive media in our modern lives). We knew we definitely had the market cornered when it came to tire-related memorabilia, and seeing as how there would be no more of these particular sporting events (primarily due to environmental concerns), we figured it would be a good enough idea to set up shop and see what kind of interest we could generate with a genuine tire fire sale.

It was almost as though the universe had pre-ordained this turn of events. We didn’t have anywhere in particular to go for a couple of weeks, since our boss basically gave us no choice other than to take a bunch of PTO hours for the sake of our sanity. I suppose we’d been burning the candle at both ends while balancing on a tightrope suspended over a lion’s den, so he had a point there.

Anywho, we gave the fine local people eight full days to come over and check out our wares, but not a single customer even graced us with their presence. In retrospect, they really would have had to go out of their way in order to find us. There was probably a better chance of someone stumbling upon us accidentally while hiking through the woods, though that sequence of events didn’t transpire either.

There were thousands of tires left lying around in the aftermath, resigned to living out their years ensconced in weeds. No way, we thought. We had to rescue as many of those fallen warriors as possible, to give them a grand send-off. Now, without a large body of water on which to conduct a proper viking funeral, we just looked around for locations where we wouldn’t inadvertently start a forest fire due to our shenanigans. It took us–working in perfect harmony–about three days of scouting and schlepping, to the point where if there were only one of us to undertake something so ludicrous, it would probably never have gotten done.

The actual ignition of the blaze was rather anti-climactic. We’d been anticipating it for so long at that point (not to mention working ourselves half to death) that we were just plum out of accessible emotions.

We still had a couple days left before we had to retreat to the city and our anthill tendencies, so we tossed a dead raccoon atop the smoldering rubber and burnt some rubber of our own, back to Metropolitan Anyplace, USA (home of the ever-wilting inner-child disposition). We envied that raccoon.

Ahs and Ums: Coincidence?


Intermittent ingenuity from industrial interchangers investigates inebriated inchworm investments, though we hold these truths to be

so self-evident

that any other painstaking rendering of rhetoric could possibly stall the rising tide of jumbled up (or jumbled down) cookie cutter manufacturers–finally represented in the florist’s factory of flour fandangos–fired up for the filet mignon we’ve justified as the most important, least-treacherous teachable moment perpetrated to generate genuine love of the written word as less of an unnatural amalgamation of sounds and sorry emotions, and more a living canvas of the interchangeable ideas that could, in proper combination, ring up the governor and slap him in the face with his own stupid ahs and ums.

Just try to think of that the next time you’re third in line at the convenience store and all you want is a candy bar–so you think you should have the top priority among these other schmucks–but you have to follow the traditions set forth by our more civilized foreparents; such an unexpected period of time in line leads to thoughts of buying a pack of cigarettes for the first time in something like five years, and all of a sudden you’re diverted into thinking about the capitalist structure you’ve been bred into, with a certain cigarette supply being sold in the same location where candy bars are also widely sought after. Coincidence?

Still Unknown


Belly extravaganza profundities topple otherwise insatiable plethora-averagers, which is no small feat in and of itself. Anyone who’s tried already knows that attempting to persuade a passionate professional to cease determining the median amount of objects or entities in an absurdly large grouping can never end well. On paper you can theorize all day about the efficacy of diverting attention away from pervasive pet projects, but not until they’re put to the test may you then see the sheer pragmatic impossibility of such a notion.

Only at such a juncture may an enlightened individual step back and re-evaluate. This is a state in which all manner of solutions have been reached throughout human history. You know, those moments that could only have been reached through sheer trial and error–with some luck tossed in (if you want to call it luck).

Benny Goodman (no relation) was one of the unfortunates tasked with upending those pesky plethora-averagers, and he knew all-too-well the dangers of intentional plan-making in this particular arena. Benny was provided the impossible project because of his special ability to judge all passions and purposes objectively, separating societal expectations and mores from what is ultimately to be determined the optimal conclusion. With all this in mind, he took a page from his namesake’s book and let the solution come to him through improvisation. We may never know whether it was a stroke of genius or just sheer dumb luck that brought him to the doorstep of the belly extravaganza profundities; we can only be certain that Mr. Goodman was the right man for the job.

Why all this plethora-averaging had to be stopped is still unknown.

Sweet Lady Science


Where do I even begin? Well, we stopped dropping the snakes down the hole and letting them just smack their bellies on the ground because this here sarcastic douchebag decided to get sensitive one day and say “geez, we sure do like hurting snakes!” We all looked at him like he had three or four heads, the favorite number of heads to picture an alien having when you’re gawking at this here guy who all of a sudden gives a damn about snake welfare.

They’re just damn snakes, they’re cold blooded. They’ve lived unchanged for millions of years now and they don’t give a damn about being slammed on the slab if it means we can sleep in peace. That’s right, sentient snakes who have been telepathically communicating with me for a good… seven years now. Wow.

So anyway, go on ahead with your little protest, we ain’t changing these rules for nothing or nobody.

—-TWO WEEKS LATER—-

BREAKING NEWS: SNAKES FEEL PAIN
Scientists Everywhere Urge Citizens:
“Discontinue Dropping Snakes on Slabs”

Jesus, what are the odds? We’ll probably never find out just how this study was started or funded, or how it coincided so perfectly with that sensitive douchebag making his impassioned plea down at the firehouse, but Sweet Lady Science has spoken, and we must heed her words.

Executive Decision


This particular set of tambourine excruciations lacks the comeuppance factor that my quarry companion would typically dish out. I’m so used to thinking of my submissive bud as “not without its sassy comebacks,” but this time it’s waxing heavily depressive, not even bothering to mount a modest reprisal.

I’ve made the executive decision to leave it to its own devices; I don’t need a triggered sidekick lollygagging around and confusing me more than normal. Such a distraction could undermine the very essence of my oh so lucrative pastime. I’ll just let it take a little time to itself (I’m generous that way) so it may sort out its existential concerns of its own accord–mainly because I just don’t want to be subjected to the ceaseless whining. And when I say whining, I mean good ol’ fashioned day-in day-out grumbling unlike any other you’ve ever seen, the very peak of which generally verging on psychosis.

Boy, I sure do know how to pick ’em. Of all the quarry companions made available to me, I just had to choose the one with the watery puppy dog eyes. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but now I have a flat out martyr on my hands who professes to be a beacon of emotions for its less-gifted brethren of the oft-neglected sedimentary sidekick school. All I want is a cheerful little buddy that I can count on to occasionally get me out of scrapes. Is that too much to ask?

Far-Fetched


Stern army fandanglers initiate the bizarrest of letterbox rituals as a way to compensate for their minimal internal squawking about where in the hell to buy a caramel macchiato during a Thursday afternoon rush hour—it’s definitely the most congested freeway seen around these parts in quite some time, the rubbernecks all out in force and jamming up the left lane to catch glimpses of a minor fender bender where the only detail of note would be the involvement of a clown car. Fortunately, no actual clowns happened to be in or, indeed, even around said automobile, or traffic would surely would be at a complete standstill.

The question remains: why is there a clownless clown car on the road? A rational observer would surmise that it’s headed to the shop, getting an oil change or tire rotation, or perhaps being treated to the periodic hand car wash and wax (one of Flopsy® the Clown’s numerous contract stipulations). Suffice it to say that none of these scenarios would benefit from the presence of a real live clown, unless some sort of clowning industry discount were to apply to these local auto-maintenance establishments, which seems utterly far-fetched (yet plausible if our society only knew who pulled the strings).

Never gonna get that got damn macchiato…

Subsequent Scientists


Ukulele tragedies beget other instances of monstrous buttress shattering, save the few modern conventions we [the contemporary sample-chompers of northwest Indodelphia] have been taking for granted lo these past several weeks.

But fret not, a squalid interpretation of the Menomenina Walk of Fame will never sully the legacy set forth by the downtrodden experts who sought the anthropological understanding previously granted by theologians–and subsequent scientists–throughout the generations, only to come up short when confronted with the fickle nature of exaggerated Middle American townsfolk, their collective backs up against their respective walls and in no position to exercise caution anymore.

By All Accounts


As a younger man–though old enough to know better–I once navigated a rather cryptic epoch during which I chose (wholeheartedly or pigheadedly) to stick with my plague-rich mentality of promotional ice cream lotteries, confident in my god-given ability to strike it rich. With my trusty two and a quarter inch nail at my disposal, I scribed the five luckiest numbers ever known to man and beast in my favorite subterranean cave, positively declaring an end to the ceaseless turmoil of fumbling around in the cosmic muck for a few measly digits that–at one of my lower points–I thought would elude me as long as I were to inhabit this particular body. I then hastily chucked good ol’ Rusty (that’s what I called my long-suffering galvanized friend, knowing that his kind doesn’t rust for decades–a joke we shared on countless occasions) into the nearest ravine, a flourish that would–by all accounts (payable or otherwise)–bring this self-imposed trudge to a meaningful conclusion.

Boy, what a boneheaded mistake. No sooner than I’d comforted myself with that symbolic nail toss, a magpie hopped on by and casually reminded me that the most lucrative lottery drawings typically have six numbers. I wept, knowing that I’d severed the most rewarding relationship of a lifetime under the false pretense of a free scoop of rocky road at a participating Neddy’s® Frozen Custard.

I shaved and went back to my old CPA job.

Smidgen


Don’t knock the verdict ‘til you’ve read the effervescent love stories of an older gentleman who reminds us all that a lake of justice may only be multiplied by itself as many times as would be appropriate for a spam wrangler embroiled in a cosmic prayer for guidance.

And not that we’d have to succumb to the specious reasoning
subjecting border collie manifestations to undue criticism
simply because of their perforatory nitrous oxidation theories;
as hair-brained as they may sound to the unindoctrinated few
with access to local channel 16.17–WESC: “The Glaring® Sound
of Beatniks All Around”–a smidgen of trust
for our ovine-herding counterparts will doubtless reveal
innumerable quality chicken sandwich sources within
a seven-mile radius, and for that we should stand and applaud.

Bonanza


Gordon George’s
Estwing Bonanza

tweaks recognition, that
underrepresented showcase
of carnival barkery.

At its finest,
you’ll see Jeffrey Finito——
attractive man of misery
and attentive sham of Mister T——
slaloming
down the underweather pass to
transfer schmaltz patterns
to his underwater dentist’s
cauldron collection,
one schmutz at a time.

Mission to Distract


Beefy,
indeterminate
scraps of litter
parade around
like they have a
mission to distract
from the vague commissary indiscretions
plaguing our unions and,
indeed,
up-and-coming
generation of handicraft hamburglars
and overwrought Jangle-Changle Men——
together
while they can still stand

Algorithms


Goodman-gambling jam-a-matrons sorting flame-retardant restraint algorithms——with a turkey atop the sundae for maximum flavoring——would be the thing I like to observe on the days when it’s rainy and there aren’t any suitable forms of chocolate pudding lying around on the ground floor with a tambourine satchel hanging from the rafters like a discombobulated raccoon taking steroids to prepare for the big race (which, sadly, may never come).

As It Stands: For Better or Worse


Gentrified petrification
demands
furry Nielsen ratings
to be meted out
over the course
of several media-consuming generations,
whether we like
the toast on these croutons
or not.

The damn megafauna just had to make a point of sinking into the same bogs as each other, an act of cliquey defiance of the edicts decreed by the lord of all our enchanted brethren, stunted today and tomorrow (though the past never posed much of an issue to them). To be perfectly honest, we all never should have interrelated so quickly. As it stands, the majority of our mammal-to-mammal relationships fade rapidly into the carpetbagging alliance that supposedly would have reconnected the Jabberwock’s offspring through social media penetration, for better or worse.

Chèvre Chaise


It’s become more and more fashionable to sink capital into transforming your obedient pupperoo into a live-action cartoon pooch. Breed is neither here nor there; folks are more concerned with accuracy of likeness than anything else, often times leading to bizarre combinations of aesthetics.

What would happen if you were to combine a beagle and a toaster? Well if you can believe it, Permissia McSimmons has done just that! After getting the idea to construct a bagel costume for her constant companion, Chèvre Chaise, she took the theme one step further with a top-loading polished chrome car carrier. Her social media presence vaulted forward and never looked back from there.

Privy


The entrance to the dragon’s putty stash
still remains more elusive
than the eye can even behold,
beyond the fine sheen of the monkey cages
and dull luster of the eccentric
bayonet-wielding sailor whose ship washed
ashore fifty years ago.

We never heard from him again.
Most folks say he died forty-seven years ago–
a rumor started by a since-defamed
public soothsayer–but those once closest
to him claim he’s still there to this day,
perpetually working his way inland,
bayonet in hand,
determined to gaze upon the epic treasure trove.

Nobody knows where the fabled dragon came from
or where it developed its affinity
for putty and putty-related trinkets, but
there’s also no real confirmation
of its actual existence. As a matter of fact,
I think I overheard once that the sailor
made up the entire dragon story in order to justify
the protracted remainder of his marooned life.

I don’t know how the person I was eavesdropping on
could possibly be privy to that knowledge, but…

——

First draft posted on 12/25/11,
originally entitled #80

Show and Tell


Gradual consumerism
cost our significant brethren
a stalwart choice
over the next-best alternative,
namely the soda-spelt marsupial syndrome
being passed around, not unlike
the disgusting rag doll
that little Jeanine brought
to show and tell, revealing
a tad too much for the occasion
(everybody ended up with pinkeye–
EVERYBODY).

Working the Counter


Grand ideology
rakes tempestuous porcupine failure
across the arena, unconcerned
with the aftermath involved.
Mammal tidings prevent intervention.

Audience opinion shattered,
an elevenfold androgen titan
laps the competition
for the price of a
testosterone meatball sundae,
a similar portion to what you’d get
at Arnie’s when Glen’s working
the counter. Tell him
Jimbo’s dog had puppies,
$1,500 a pop to a good home.

(Nothing More, Nothing Less)


Let’s take a look at the specials, shall we? Ah yes, the infamous Reuben Dip! Once heralded as Middle America’s foremost club dance from 1963, a clever chef has converted it into an open-faced sandwich comprised of corned beef, Swiss, kraut——you bloody well know what comes on a Reuben. The kraut does have a tough time sticking around, which means that the Swiss is really pulling double time to blanket all of its unruly counterparts for the purposes of a successful thousand island dip (and, of course, more than just one dip, because what kind of sandwich would that be, falling apart after just one dip!?). All of this just goes to prove that you really can’t have an idea too grand to be transposed from the clear blue sky, as long as you believe in the work you’re doing. Once upon a time I——of all people——caught myself poo-pooing the idea of representing a pinto bean omelette cooking on the planks of a cruise ship’s bow as it headed to the Galapagos for some tortoise observation (nothing more, nothing less), and for what? A tedious bit of self—censorship for no purpose other than suppression of a creative pang? No thank you, Mr. Governor (if that is your real name). So I wrote it all out, the fateful egg mix congealing to form a canary semicircle of legume-y goodness and taking on life’s subtler philosophical quandaries with a bit of a sense of humor. I called it Hull of Beans, and it was universally panned.

Breach of Conduct


A walloping armpit extension cord signals a breach of conduct between extended penguin locker scenes. Meanwhile, a trailer of sloppy prejudice leans between a cross-country ski and the entrance to a long-abandoned silver mine, incapable of bettering its situation among the shapes of molten stoicism openly exhibiting themselves through displays deployed by wriggling strings undetectable to most, save the above average marsupial intellect.

Those beings who matter most to the incorporated inhabitance cannot comprehend the visual acumen of a kangaroo or wallaby due to the shoddy basis for communication between mammalian classmates, but certain attributes must be understood for the sake of all terrestrial life.

——

First draft posted on 11/15/11,
originally entitled #72

Sheer Self-Pity


What am I supposed to do with this armful of goddamn apple brown betties? I’m gonna have to toss them off the side of this overpass like I saw that fellow do yesterday. I can still see the stain left on the road from the impact of the beefier bits of crust. Upon witnessing such an atrocity, I told myself I’d never have to settle for the same outcome… ain’t life a bitch sometimes? One day you’re showering your spouse with serenades and streusels, and the next you’re choking down a pie-in-a-can you purchased out of sheer self-pity. They didn’t even have the strawberry flavor that you like, so you had to settle for heart of palm, a gruesome concoction you never even knew was in their product line, but dominated the shelf space at your corner bodega for god knows how long.

Wharf


Drinking all the coffee in the world still won’t keep me from passing out like a yellow-bellied stooge wielding a catcher’s mitt much too oversized for his gimpy left hand. Why a catcher’s mitt? Perhaps to shield from the harsh realities of 21st Century American living, or to comment on the perpetual competition bred into our species as though any other way were simply infeasible. Further introspection reveals that this set of details has no basis in literary circles, not unlike a diving Oscar wrangler tethered to a tugboat moored to a wharf comprised of 93% recycled mosquito netting. For the purposes of this exercise, the other 7% shall remain unexplored.

Rush Hour: In Other Words


Exceed humanity’s tangible awareness
to approach levels untouchable,
invisible, invincible to conventional thought.

To miss out on a dimensional occurrence
is to watch a bus depart without you
during a Friday afternoon rush hour.

The urgency folds in on itself, embodied by
heavy breaths and huffing impatience.
The presence of your inner conscience
prevents your pot from boiling over,
but its temporal quality works only
through applied standards, varying
greatly from individual to individual.

In other words, just be content
to swallow that anger from time to time,
but be ever vigilant; too much
internal poison never does a body good.

——

Originally posted 10/31/11,
entitled #51

Heretofore


Of a subtler ilk, this deer wagon
waxes transparent when I lick its foliage
in a counterclockwise fashion.

Intriguing twist: Trick Smith Limited,
world-renowned jackalope dealer, now beckons
[VALUED CUSTOMER] to become an exclusive member
of its carnage-related festivities!*
*Offer not valid in lower Nevada
or the Lesser Antilles.

The topic of pencil shaving trefoils
has popped to the forefront of today’s
peculiar poser posse club meeting,
guaranteeing a spirited debate
unlike any other heretofore witnessed.

Cumin digestion may hurt the back,
particularly when a wily attack dog
headbutts you, unawares, from behind
right after you’ve finished a serving
of your regionally-famous rabbit stew.

——

Originally posted on 10/10/11,
entitled #34

Catch a Break


Carnival phraseology toots the patoots; mustn’t forget to hold the stetson hat apparatus. Something about Colorado’s avocados just doesn’t sit right with me, I reckon.

I enjoy a vintage turnkey turpentine just as much as the next fella, but I’ve been charged with so much turquoise scrutiny that I couldn’t possibly catch a break with my micromanagerial authoritarian figures. Well, perhaps I can sneak a little one while they’re out defending their freedom to be overbearing toward the less fortunate in the world… what could that possibly hurt (aside from those tragically codependent trout fisheries and sea monkey dispensaries peppering the eastern seaboard)?

This Here


Ordinary sanctions wouldn’t apply to the effervescent pigeon toes for too much longer, scrutinizing the woes of foreverpenguins—adept at taking their time when you just want to get a movin’ to the promised land (or at least the land referenced in books of yore). What really must happen is a distancing from tyrants and despots who normally would have built their empires upon the sweat equity of the under-the-tablers brought around from the time of the Immeasurable Reckoning.

The new standard—a babe in the woods—must rear itself without even a kindly wolf or flyover pigeon at its disposal! While certainly not necessary in this predicament, self-sabotage becomes more likely with each passing day as doubt does its dubious duty of doling out a deluge of doldrums, waiting to be conquered through a steady, dedicated hand (though it knows the chances are quite slim in this here forest).

Led to Believe


The bioluminescent bloomenary, a spectacular specimen just discovered in a subterranean cave beneath the land formerly known as Entrenchment Village—since abandoned for Encroachment Peak—is somewhat smooth to stand so tall in such a way, Agnes. We sure have come a long way since the aftermath of those Cleveland fires, and we couldn’t have done it without the chimney sweep frontier project—I believe that with all my heart (and a great majority of my soul, to boot). I sure hope we have the common sense and decency to look each other in the eyes before we swallow our pride, however much or little that may be.

A temper for granted on the northwest side of the pilgrim monitor is just a symptom of the intrinsic capacity for glue-footed rafter people, or so I’ve been led to believe.

Name-Dropping


The kids are doing their kidly things again today, just the way they always do (until their hormones start flaring and they become walking orbs of self-pity just wallowing in their existential dross for as long as would be necessary for humans working on that whole enlightenment bit while also losing faith in the authorities once-espoused as the be-all end-all for retrograde composition of exquisite fanfare technology (though very little else when you actually think about it for longer than 10-15 seconds at a time)). Our lord and savior once said “you know, when it comes right down to it, I’m the one who created everything, so you can just go ahead and sell that model train collection, Deborah.” I don’t know who Deborah is in this particular verse, to be honest, but the statement still carries plenty of weight even if you don’t engage in any specific name-dropping activities.

Cakemakers


Gateway drugs and experiences have no bearing on our ralphymeters today or any other day (as far as we know), though I’m going to need you to disengage in trivial pursuits for long enough get a read on just why it is that cakemakers hold no stations below law-enforcement.

The answer is easy enough to reach, you simply need to focus your attentions where they can really do some investigative good.

All right, I’ll have to just tell you then, if that’s going to be your attitude.

When you strip it all bare, the contemporary American cakemaker is commonly behooved to fabricate goods for the purpose of selling them at the market. Law-enforcers make it their business to interrupt people’s activities and impose limitations upon them, resulting in a streak of pride and occasional lawlessness. Paid to uphold the law, they often embody the viewpoint that certain laws don’t apply to them, sometimes culminating in displays of pseudo-authority that end up with dead people on their hands (or at least as a result of their handiwork).

Cakemakers just have to crack a few eggs.

The Bellwether


To the chagrin of the motorbiking penguin-flipper, we carry old prairie weights for a regardless happenstance. Well, regardless, we’re quite unkempt for the situation–the scenario, if we will. But it’s okay, we’re all living some version of this or any other truths, not to be degraded for any reason or purpose.

The bellwether, or weather of bells–as I’d sometimes rather say–has stood in direct opposition to the canine point of equilibrium separating our ancestors from the ravenous wolves who once stormed down our doors for even just a hint of carnage. But times change. People grow and domesticate those pesky sheep they’d once only counted prior to slumber, involuntarily offering a small portion of their flocks to satisfy the taxation meted out by the gods that our dogs only wish they could be.

Family First


Gee willikers, Ebony! I sure as sugar won’t be able to make it out to that party tonight. Look–believe me–it’s not that I don’t want to. You know that! It’s just that I have so much cleaning up to do around my place. I’ve been putting it off for ages, and now my roommate’s dad is going to be in town for a few days–spur of the moment thing as usual–and he’d rather stay with us than go to a hotel because he wants to be closer to his son. I mean, I get it, they have a very strong relationship. I admire that dynamic, but of course also resent it at the present. Why do I have to be the one to pretty up our sty before he gets here? Just because I made 90% of the mess doesn’t mean I should be cleaning a full 100% of the space. How is that fair? The displaced 10% probably represents another 40 minutes of cleaning that I’m going to have to do instead of living it up with you! Trust me, I’ve tried getting around this, but there’s just no possible alternative. The next time your brother’s having a going-away shindig before shipping out to do a tour of duty in a war-torn expanse of the Middle Eastern desert, I am SO there.

Folksy Ties


Ever more dissatisfactory than the wrought inheritance brought forth by bankruptcy of character, our thoughts of Swiss cheese benevolence really have no bearing on what it means to be a profitable avocado salesman in this neck of the woods. Don’t get me wrong, I have long-espoused numerous methods for informing individuals of their folksy ties to the apocalypse, but I choose to evaluate sparingly, for the more a person speaks his or her mind, the more likely they are to compromise their mystique. I don’t personally take my old rapturous censorship more seriously than the average ridged potato chip, though perhaps I should. Perhaps I should. Egads! All this food talk has done me the ages-old disservice of fabricating hunger pangs when my stomach really had no business engaging in such a thought sequence. Well, my stomach has no business engaging in any thought sequences, but that’s neither here nor there.

Thanks, Dad


“Parallel entities befit madness, my son.

“You should never turn your back on those other dimensions our forward-thinking predecessors have been touting for some time now, or your attention will lose its cosmic importance, the aggregate of local souls gradually easing you out of their observational patterns–though it’s the last thing they would do if given the choice.

“While you are charged with keeping your attention beyond the present actions contained within our visible plane, you mustn’t let the responsibility weigh on your consciousness too much; although you know everything is simply an illusion, you are an integral part of the chain of illusions keeping our earthly consciousness afloat.

“When you shudder, know the implications. When two birds meet on a wire and appear to converse, understand that their dialogue fits into our space on a level wholly undisturbed by our own idea of language. No need to fret over payment, my first lesson is always free.”

“Thanks, dad.”

——

First draft posted on 10/12/11,
originally entitled #40