In a trance I reside,
blind without my cave and useless
without my unfolded shoelace temper tantrums.
I would skate
if momentum provided the pleasure a tether
I pull on restraints, gnash teeth,
where I thought was appropriate
for a creature of my caliber. But
there’s always room
for an unexpected curse
and a living room
comprised of nothing
Didn’t the union
of our cat
with our possum hold us
all to a higher standard?
Under all this high pressure
and performance constraints,
we can reach for our goblets
and salute to our health.
That’s all we ever seem
to have going for us anyhow.
Skin of a boa constrictor left dangling on a branch in the twilight of the twenty-third week of the fifty-sixth year of our Lord holds its hollow scales, petrified of drying up in the glare of tomorrow’s sun, that chapping tyrant.
Lord almighty, I kicked up a rally.
You’ll have to forgive me for being so quaint.
My oversized novelty carnival stand
just collapsed in the middle of Mardi Gras.
Now what am I going to do?
I can’t very well walk to the old police station,
they’ll laugh at my shirt and applaud for the stupid.
They’ll applaud for the stupid is what they’ll do
and I can’t have that, Lord almighty.
For all I know, we could be tossed aside
for a hungry young magnet eater
drenched in blue cheese
with a sprig of parsley
and a dash of pepper.
Too edible to laugh at,
too deplorable to eat.
Only the richest of kings
a meal of such grandiose proportions.
“Yeah, the marmot’s a little shaggy. So what? No skin off your ass.” Harold kicked the can down the road, glaring at Rhonda all the while.
“You are rude. The marmot needs a clipping ASAP and you don’t even care.” Rhonda flushed with righteous indignation, the color of kool aid. She fixed her vision on the can Harold was kicking.
“As I’ve said a hundred times, the marmot is fine. End of story.” The can was getting quite dented, a standard aluminum soda can that doesn’t have the protection necessary to shield from foot contact.
“This isn’t a story. What is this la-la land you inhabit?” She was still transfixed on the can and getting rather tormented by the fact that this narrative could indeed morph into an epic tale the world has never yet seen.
“Everything’s a story. Most of them get lost because nobody wrote them down.” He stopped kicking the can and looked at Rhonda. “I don’t have a pen.”
“So now what do we do? Find a pen? That would make a great story.”
Harold had the look of a toddler who just learned his first swear word. “You’re right.”
“We’re making a story now? I thought we were just kicking that can!” Gesturing to the can with her left hand, Rhonda choked back tears (fake or genuine, she wasn’t sure), hoping to get out of another half-baked idea that Harold always seemed to be coming up with these days.
@: Do you want a carrot?
∂: I thought you’d never ask.
Wow, these are fresh.
Where’d you get ’em?
@: If I tell you that, it won’t be a secret anymore!
∂: Isn’t that why I asked?
@: Oh you.
∂: Now I really want to know.
@: What’s to know? It’s just a bag of carrots.
∂: The freshest carrots I’ve ever laid eyes on.
@: You’re not getting that information from me without a fight.
∂: Fisticuffs? I’ll throw down.
@: No, I meant trivia.
∂: How can we play trivia without an impartial judge?
•: Dudes, I’m right here!
@: SHIT, Darwin. You scared the bejesus outta me.
∂: God dammit, me too.
•: I brought my trivial pursuit this time.
∂: Good, ’cause if you didn’t…
@: Ease up on him, he’s just a kid.
•: I sleep the best at naptime. Is it naptime yet?
Nevertheless, we’re in the thick of it now.
No sunblock or pineapples jumping the fence
in the face of a malnourished grasshopper kid.
How can Abraham and Vijay idly string along like that?
You’d think their tap dance rhythm had diminished since the fire.
But there they are, a clopping pair bereft of innovation
and clinging to their ordinary notions of a hoedown.
When I need an escape and a relinquishment of frustration, I head on down to Dave’s Onion Bar. Twenty-four years ago, Dave realized his boyhood dream of preparing onions 101 ways. Many of said preparations are redundancies, but it’s difficult to discover new ways to cook food after thousands of years of innovations in the arena. All in all, Dave grins from ear to ear whenever he meets a new customer. Every table has a complimentary bowl of after-dinner mints to combat the fact that 100% of his dishes are at least halfway-composed of onion. Surprisingly, not a single patron has ever complained about the lack of variety. They know heading into the place that onions are their destination. In fact, there’s a sign in front that boldly states: “ENTERING ONION COUNTRY”.
There’s a toucan in my way.
Its beak is too colorful.
I’m cold. Why did we come here?
The wildlife has no respect for me.
You see the way that one looked at me?
Vulgar monstrosities. I’m getting sick.
Why did you bring me here?
Do you even have an excuse at this point?
Did you ever listen to me, or are you that dumb?
Birds are the last creatures on earth
I ever wanna witness streaking across the sky.
They’re bullies and overlords
pooping on everything and chirping,
always just chirping. Drive a man insane.
Not just any man, mind you. The kind of man
who takes a gulp from a canteen
before he wrestles a black bear
on the fourth full moon of the Summer.
But there is no fourth full moon
and there never will be.
A five-hundred bowling ball processional?
How could that be funny?
[We don’t even know where it’s headed.]
What, do we just throw out catchy phrases now?
Toss out a strip of tawdry wisdom like bacon
and watch the little piggies squeal, just like that.
But why not? What do we have to lose? Pride?
We lost that years ago.
A rolling narrative
describes every action. Intolerable?
Made bearable with time.
So we stand and laugh
at nothing in particular.
Laugh some more.
Have a bite of an apple.
Go on to the dog show.
Corgis look funny.
Go home. Drink. Sleep.
Breathe with the windows open.
“I want a grilled cheese!”
barked the stage man to his uncle.
“We’re out of cheese,”
the old man said.
“Well listen up, the truck has gas.
Go down to the store and pick some up.”
“I have no time for your petty errands.”
He was old, but his comments were fiery.
“Jesus! I’m on the shitter.
Just get the cheese.”
“Shit or get off the pot.”
Nobody did anything about it.
Not that anybody really cared.
Come to think of it,
I’d never seen his face before.
He wasn’t shocked, as most would be,
but calm, serene.
Nothing to say, nothing unusual.
No glints, no glares.
No locked eyes, no stares.
He’d just gotten his paycheck,
he was out on the town.
There were no signs,
there never are.
Dogs smell hurricanes and hand grenades
comin’ from miles away.
Someone saw that.
Turmoil built into my forehead
leaked around the kitchen sink.
No swirling involved,
no dish water either.
Silence, as I needed it.
Only sound the pounding of thought.
Happened like this.
A shriveled hand gouged me
by the side of the road.
Don’t know where, don’t know why.
That hand pulled me into the dark.
Couldn’t find the road again.
The trees couldn’t give me directions.
Pants ripped in minutes,
karma got me.
I looked at a doe,
she looked at me.
like anything else–
a raging tide crashing.
The whole scene shook,
taken with tremors
and spitting up sand.
Howard sat up, content.
Content with what,
he couldn’t know.
“I’m goin’ to that game tomorrow,
goin’ to that game.”
He knew at that moment
just why he was so content.
Epiphanies are strange creatures,
made stranger by the price of gold.
Nobody told me
you can have an epiphany twice.
You don’t just fall on it,
apologize and go on your way.
You need to court your visions
until they heed your call.