Like Moo or Something

I pelted the transmission
with a graph of some kind.
Then I stuck a needle
through the whole of middle earth,
a squishy stammer
that would amount to
nothing but a syringe
in a pile of rocks anyway.

We can’t all predict
where we’ll get those molten ideas,
but it certainly doesn’t hurt
to throw your dice into the wind
and see which cows snarf them up
when they hit the ground.
Hopefully they have big spots
that spell out words
when you look at them really close,
like moo or something.

In a Landfill Now

Dolores Hidalgo was a friend of mine, so kind to me about the hidden kneecap in my chest. Never once did she judge the logic of a patella near my left ventricle (like so many so-called friends I’ve had). She was happy enough just listening to my woes, her big wide eyes never blinking. Come to think of it, I never saw her move unless I was the one to change her position. Folks always called her a doll, which I always attributed to her immense kindness. It wasn’t until I started taking medication for my delusions that I began to realize that she was truly an inanimate object (in a landfill now).

The Hand Towels of Obscurity

We continue to linger
like the lint
in the trap of our imperial leaders,

awaiting the day
when the door
opens and an air-laden scoop digs us

out from under the hand towels
of obscurity.
From there, our only hope is

to be placed on a suitable pedestal
and hewn into
adorable pet-like creatures,

so we may be given a loving home and
provided with
adequate nutrition for the rest of

our natural lives (or until
that owner dies,
whichever happens to come first).

A Little Twangy Twinge

Tell the Grand Poobah that his sticks have no reason to be mad at me for my words. All I wanted to do was illustrate why they should prefer to be called twigs in the grand scheme of things. We all need a little twangy twinge of sound every now and then, including these sentient tree limbs. Please just relay this message to him and his (the Poobah and his Stickssociates), as I’m looking forward to a lifetime of labeling the uncanny phenomena that are becoming ever more common with each passing moment in this plant-dominated tryptosphere.

Earmarks of Ethics

Let them battle on
like beetles in a bottle
made of black boron brisket basters,

see if I care.
I’ll be too busy
lifting a lark from grand larceny

at the local
law-enforcement library,
settling into books about justice

and the earmarks
of ethics on an enlightened society.
Just take, for instance, the calm songbird

known as the
male gavel finch. This master
of manipulation picks up a stick in its beak

and slams it
against the trunk of a tree,
making vibrations imperceptible by humans,

but irresistible
to the finicky female.
One well-placed strike may be all it takes.

Large Woodland Mammals

I won’t steer you
in any specific direction
until you’ve actually tried my cereal.

Just two doses a day
can ward off severe depression,
as evidenced by my friend Smoky over here.

He used to be
an average melancholic bear, but
after an all-cereal regimen, he was bouncing

off the walls
all the time. Granted,
an all-cereal diet will be high in sugar,

but you mustn’t discount
the great benefits just because
of a little weight gain and jitteriness.

Effects of this product
have not been extensively documented
on human subjects, but there is a glut of research

as it pertains
to the treatment of large woodland
mammals (bears, quadrupeds, yetis, etc.).

By the Needle’s Edge

Inheriting the winds
of travel – to many arenas,
more than our fair share –
breathes legacies
into stagnant patches
of ordinary air.

The threat comes
from threading gusts
by the needle’s edge
just long enough
to get a proper bearing.

We will soar overseas
if our math is correct,
and don’t ask
what will happen
if it isn’t.

The Hendersons

We have to bring with us
a time that smells like
the grand representation
of polychromatic measures

for any and all underachieving
squirrel mongers we’ve come
to know and love. Some things

are better left unexplained
by our grand cynics, and I’ll
need you to take the kids
for a walk before bedtime.

If you could scrape a few
dollars together to get
some ice cream, that would go

a long way toward pleasing
our benevolent overlords
(the Hendersons).

Go Flaunting That

Effervescent nuptials
stream out of our mouths
like we’ve been meaning
to speak them for some time.

Only we will know that we’re
actually improvising these words
according to the way we’ve been trained
at the Royal Academy of the Surprising.

Is there anything else
that can prove how suited
we are for one another?

Perhaps our sexual chemistry
would be a subtle hint, but
we shouldn’t go flaunting that around
in front of our poor single friends.

Sheer Sleuthing Bliss

Plot out a twisting path
through the garden, we’ll need
something creative for the scavenger hunt.

A rubber ducky with buckteeth
will be the ultimate prize (just think of
the looks on the searchers’ faces when we unveil it).

Six hours of sheer sleuthing bliss
will put a beautiful cap on the day,
followed by some stiff coffee and a video replay booth

for our individual enjoyment.
Who will be represented the most
on our blooper reel? I’m gunning for Mrs. Teasdale,

but we can never be too sure.

Deaths of Local Canaries

It’s laughable how many
times I’ve had to warn
our prospector friends
about the deaths of local canaries.

It seems like at least
three times a week
is the going rate around here,
and they still haven’t picked up the hint.

They just keep spelunking
into those mine shafts as though
they have nothing to lose.
Honestly, who values shiny rocks that much?

You’re going to lose your life
on the hunch that you could
strike it rich? I’d rather
take my chances in an electrical storm.

A Basket of Biscuits

If you think bribing an official
with foodstuffs is something
you’d like to attempt,
I’ll have no part in it.

You know that greasing
the wheels of justice
can lead to a runaway
freight train, don’t you?

I brought the mayor
a basket of biscuits
one time, only to see his mouth
snarl up in a frown (he’s
allergic to buttermilk, turns out).

Like He Owned the Place

He has such a great voice.
I remember when I could hear him
practicing his craft in Juilliard’s
private studio space
like he owned the place
(and some day he just might).

He has a lovely raspy tone
with nasal notes reminiscent
of the greatest orators we’ve come
to adore through history.

No specific examples spring to mind,
which just goes to prove
that this is truly
a once-in-a-generation talent
we’re witnessing here.

True Chocolate Admiration

Just because a person looks like me doesn’t mean that they make chocolate the way I do. This is serious business here, I can’t have false chocolatiers parading around my territory unless they’re willing to fight for what they love. Usually they fold right when I confront them about their lack of true chocolate admiration, but every once in a while I get a sucker who decides it’s worth their time to embarrass themselves in front of the whole neighborhood as I make the perfect fondant right under their nose. I never let those losers sample my creations.

A Faithful Fonz

I’ll heave a hefty bag at the situation
and tell my dentist that I really don’t want
anything to do with these Fonzie imitators anymore.

They’re all so obsessed with having
a good time and donning leather jackets
that I’m just getting sick of it all!

How tired a custom is this, where you’re reduced
to spouting cliché catchphrases at gunpoint?
Remember when you took that loan from the mafia,

and they told you that they would be expecting
a favor in return some day? Well, your bell’s been rung,
buddy. All you can do now is pray that you get

in touch with Henry Winkler, for the purpose of
delivering a faithful Fonz to your brutal overlords.
I mean, otherwise, they might end up breaking
your fingers and toes. I wouldn’t consider that
situation to be 100% ideal, would you?

Those Tennis Ball Eyes

I think sticking a shinbone
into the belly of a live lemur
just happens to be one of the cruelest acts
a person can commit. Sure,

there are plenty of crimes
against humanity that could be
considered as somewhat more intense,
but lemurs are primates too. I think

crimes against animals are worse anyway,
because animals don’t know
what any of our justice system means.
If someone is tried for that heinous act,

do you think the lemur knows? No,
of course not. Even if you told
the lemur that you’d bring it closure,
it would just stare up at you with those
tennis ball eyes, unaware of the social context
(or indeed the language you speak).

The Apocalypso Festival

Put it all away,
and what you end up having
is a sign of the impending apocalypse.

But you know what? It doesn’t
have to be all that bad if you’ve
prepared for it in some shape or form.

You could think about it in terms
of the novelty that one might associate
with such a fantastic set of circumstances,
giving it a kind of a game-type theme.

Maybe The Apocalypso Festival,
where we spin the end of times
into a fun night of rum drinks
and steel drum music. Those zombies

won’t know what the hell is going on
(not that they ever know anyway), and you’ll
have the satisfaction of knowing

that you did everything you possibly could
to ensure that the rest of your existence
on this planet is at least somewhat enjoyable.

Interminable Waiting Room

You can bet on a downpour of rain in our interminable waiting room this afternoon.

It’s been sunny for seven straight days here, and my elbow never acts up like this when good weather is on the horizon (if we could indeed see the horizon from here). Cover up the magazines, we don’t want those National Geographics to lose their sheen after so many years of being in near-mint condition.

Three Throws Over

So I’m standing over on first base after taking my base on balls, and the pitcher just keeps eyeballing me from the mound. He’s looking over at the leadoff I’m taking for at least fifteen seconds before the umpire has to call time and remind the pitcher that the man on first base is not supposed to get into his head. But it’s too late, the pitcher is already coming up with ways to have me picked off, and I can see the thoughts swirling around up there. He makes three throws over, each one getting closer to nabbing me. Of course, the pitcher doesn’t know that I’ve been designing this scenario to make him think that I’m taking too many liberties.

Next thing I know, a snake comes out from the first base dugout and slithers right over to me. All it does is hiss and make its way to the pitcher, who steps on it, picks it up, calls time, and tosses it over to the dugout. Nobody knows where the snake came from or how it got onto the field without being detected, but I don’t really care so much. Just before the next pitch, I take off for second and steal it neatly.

Prepared to Trudge

Sitting in a crowded coffeeshop
makes one think of the common cold
and how best to avoid its clutches.

Touching any surface just screams
“Infect me, damn you,” at the lovely
bacteria surrounding all of us here.

If you think hand sanitizer
will keep you clean, you’ve got
another thing coming. Just be prepared

to trudge around your place
with a bathrobe and a box of tissues
for a few days, making excuses not to do

anything other than drinking
plenty of fluids and finding
new streaming movie services

that won’t cost you anything
but your naïve soul’s opposition
to the piracy of digital media.

Designed to Pop

There’s a spring down under the tunnel
made of some metal alloy, designed
to pop under pressure and relieve
the night watchmen of their duties
until the engineers arrive
to reset the whole apparatus.

The purpose of the spring
is not to alert anyone
of imminent danger, but to serve
as an easy way to perpetuate
government contracts, providing easy work
to whomever is lucky enough

to have a brother at the DMV or a sister
on a postal route. Any person with
a connection to city hall in one small way
or another will have job security
for the rest of their life, thanks to
these perpetually-popping springs,
and isn’t that just fantastic?

Swirling in Puddles

If it doesn’t matter much,
we can throw our crusts
into the rain and watch them
get soggy right by the dog
whose house doesn’t have a roof.

Come to think of it, the dog
will try to eat those crusts
before too long, but they’ll fall apart
once they touch his teeth,
slopping on the grass and
swirling in puddles at his feet.

If the dog could talk, he would
probably say how he hasn’t eaten
since dinnertime, and an intact snack
would have been nice right there,
but he understands that life
sometimes doesn’t offer easy rewards.

Salt Spray and Low-Hanging Fruit

Don’t sever all ties
with the teeter totter land
we used to call home,
we may need to return
at some point and beg
to have our jobs back.

Just tell them we’re going
out for a weekend fishing trip.
We’ll actually go fishing at first,
since I know how much you hate to lie,
but after we catch a couple bass
we’ll take off for the tropical climes

where breezes constantly waft
through the air and our hair,
transporting aromas of salt spray
and low-hanging fruit. You can
get to work on that novel
you’ve always said you’re too busy for.

Wouldn’t that be nice? I’ll make sure
we pack enough pens and paper.
Just for God’s sake, make sure
to keep the supplies where the water
can’t get at them, or we’ll have to
double back and risk being caught.

Your Life’s Comfort

Half off everything in the store
is what you told me, and that’s
what I expect from this event.

Either you don’t understand me
or you want me to do something
that will compromise your life’s comfort.

What does that mean, you ask?
Well, I could do any number of things, really.
I could take a station wagon and park it
outside your house, blaring the horn
for six hours straight.

Sure, the neighbors would complain,
but the cops wouldn’t do anything about it.
You see, I’m a friend to law enforcement,
and when I tell them that you pulled
a bait and switch, they’ll let me blow that horn
all night long if I want to.

Politically Correct Time

I’m tethered to this
tomato-making harlequin,
as though I deserve
this form of punishment.

I didn’t even do anything
other than invent
my own form of potato masher.
What’s wrong with innovating

a new design
for starch delivery?
I think this government
has really got to get a grip
on itself and forget the politics

that brought us
to such a politically correct time.
Next thing you know, someone’s
going to be making cracks

about the Great Potato Famine
and drinking pints of Irish whiskey
as they stammer all over the floor,
filibustering for as long
as they can stand upright.

Gliding in Surrender

I dealt with the beltway
on my own terms, and it took
to the sky as does
a bird of grand proportions

(though not so grand as to
impede flight), streaking
across the blue hazards
on a trip to its Winter home
away from home, gliding
in surrender to the updrafts
and balmy climes to come.

Under the Roots

Never get an arrogant person
in your headlights, or you’ll
be looking at some mean times
ahead of you. Scarcity and heavy
lumbering grizzly bears will find you
before long, and several elves
will beckon you to their tree hideaway.

They’ve dug out an apartment complex
under the roots, with accommodations
befitting a first-rate journalist
on a business trip. You won’t mind
going down there, but you’ll wonder
when you can come back out.

Surprisingly Slick

Space the Johnny Bill Landscaping Company,
we have no need for such expenditures
at this time anyway. Just leave them
on the curb, someone will pick them up eventually.

Help me out with this leather one,
they’re surprisingly slick. There,
up on the bed (queen size).
Thanks, let me buy you a deer.

Attention Hogs

Twittering smitters
done tapped out
onto my tarmac

while I had
the marbles cooling
and the pink daffodils
yearning for something
like the Sun (though
the Moon would
have to suffice).

They’re just sitting there
like a bunch of lawn
ornaments, like I’m supposed
to gawp at them and guffaw
in awe. You can forget it,

I won’t even
let them know
that I know
they’re here.
Attention hogs.

I’ll Take Southwest

The esophagus is lined
with grape gelatin dessert,
not without floating grapes.

We need to eat our way
down to the stomach,
which is a bubbling lime concoction.

Once there, we’ll split up
into quadrants and begin our work.

I’ll take southwest, you three
duke it out amongst yourselves.

And Other Such Exploits

By the end of the journey,
we will have told
a million and one stories

about how old Grant Moon conquered
the people of the Moon
and other such exploits.

Oh, what a grand old time
it will have been.
Come to think of it,

we will want to have packed
some peanut butter sandwiches.
I will return having been embarrassed

because I forgot to pack them
even though I’d remembered
to make them.

Little Niece’s Sweater’s Shoulder

Whatever means you have
to get the pigeon
on the wing
of the Eiffel Tower’s
little niece’s sweater’s shoulder,
please act appropriately and immediately.

You have to understand the pressure
we’re under here. I can’t bring myself
to breathe any deeper
than the treasure cabin
below my backseat
(by the antique coin collection
I hide in the wheel well).

So Just Ignore Me

How do you get that stuff?
You know, the stuff that oozes
from the drums of the insipid
self-forgetters. Am I speaking
your language? Please nod if you
can understand me. Okay, are you
able to hear me at all? Are you
even looking at me? Goodness,
we’re in quite the pickle here.

Well, just let me know if you
can acknowledge me in any way.
No sign at all, this is great.
All right, so just ignore me
and I’ll be on my way.

Their Lovable School Mascot

Hallowed is the hall
where the fork dropped
and twanged under
the cylindrical sponge
that the mixed media students
decided to put together
as an homage to bizarro Spongebob,
their lovable school mascot.

He was concocted as a way
to avoid copyright infringement
while also making an ironic statement
about how our schools have no funding.

Creative for Longer

But back to the matter at hand:
we must find a way to figure out
the internal mechanism
that allows us to be creative
for longer than four seconds at a time!

Five seconds would be an improvement,
though we will certainly settle
for four and a half if necessary.

Super Heroes Can

Wherever the timpani comes from,
we must remember that importers
would kill to get their hands

on our instruments. Never
turn your back for one second,

and you must remember
that super heroes can be real
(if the price is right).

Their Collective Courtyards

Bedlam is what they call
the chicken wing syndrome

that’s been going around
these parts these days
with these kids
and these chicken bones

in the back yards
of their collective courtyards,

sold into poverty by dogs
who simply refused
not to dig up holes
where the gardenias
should have been growing.

My Obsessive Tendencies

Standing here in the rain
is going to be a tough assignment,
especially since it’s a Tuesday.

I don’t know what Tuesday
really has to do with it,
but I know that the sound you make

on a Tuesday morning – over coffee,
not without buttered scones – really
irks me. Typically 8:46am, but

sometimes 9:15. It’s as though
your internal clock were tuned to an
interstellar annoyance-based alarm system,

designed specifically to take advantage
of my obsessive tendencies.

The Price of Iron

A missile
jabbed its fist
into the socket
of an asymmetrical
potato boat machine,

causing untold tiers
of military destruction
to squander our hard-
earned resources
on a global scale.

The price of iron
will increase
by about 34% tomorrow,
insiders have been warned.

Five-Foot Stool

Something about the vicar
doesn’t inspire much confidence
in me, especially when
I’m trying to keep my balance
on this five-foot stool.

Who thought to make
a piece of furniture
so unwieldy? Why did I buy it
in the first place?

Little Stellar Status

Hippo ate a dipper
of little stellar status
just this afternoon,

swishing his brandy
in preparation
for a siesta

to last seven hours
or six and a half

if he wants
to stop by the bank
before closing time.