The Surrealist


Silent gopher modules grind a bearable decision,
tornado grumbling affidavits bristling on a desk.

Forever where the wit of windows concentrates adroitly,
a cavern stumbles through a platform’s pumpernickel chest.

Similar to a plate of corn-fed double bacon burgers
thrown against the wall to land upon a bed of watercress.

———-

Originally posted to Wharved: 11/3/12

Wannabe Monk


Temporal archaeology discusses the cosmos,
dissecting, directing and flooding our circuits
with a panoply of round figures destined to intimidate
and eventually sink into their built-up condominiums.

Sheep lift their heads as the grass ripples.

———-

Originally posted to Wharved: 10/12/2012

LI


Threadbare pants on this mosquito’s legs have chafed until no longer wearable, but they keep on being used. Part of it stems from the fact that mosquitoes don’t live very long, and an investment in new trousers would likely be wasted. An even more significant factor in play is our mosquito friend’s aversion to visiting the local insect clothing store that’s always positively crawling with boorish, clumsy and inarticulate drones.

The Comedian


If I take a pill and expect to fall asleep, will I doze off even if it’s just a placebo? Perhaps I will–assuming I’m unaware of its sugary nature–if I can convince myself that sleeping is in my best interest at that point. How long I sleep is a different question, and if I’m a part of a sleep-aid study, maybe my ability to fall asleep on command will corrupt the data recorded, though hopefully the fraudulent results of one person’s participation won’t harm the overall value of the patients without my wizardly capabilities. But you know what? Screw ’em, I don’t really give a rat’s ass as long as they give me my five hundred bucks. I’ve been yearning for an iPad for a couple years now, and if swallowing some pills will get it for me, I don’t care how long I end up urinating blood. It doesn’t hurt, does it? I imagine it’s just in the urine as a result of faulty processing or something. Is it actually internal bleeding that drains itself through the bladder? Wow, I have to pee really bad.

———-

Originally posted on Wharved: 12/25/2011

The Conspiracist


What is the topic du jour? I’ve heard so many clever ideas brought up in the past week that I don’t think there can be a genuinely good thought for another week or so. After all, the cosmos need to recharge after such bursts of creativity. It ain’t easy being a seemingly random assortment of gases, solids, liquids and plasmas. Is there mercy on the grandest of scales for the smallest of mistakes? Is it possible to calculate the difference of an inch from over a billion light years away? There will always be questions that seem unfathomable or even stupid to us humans, either because we’re seemingly too intelligent to even ponder such things or because we lack the proper attention spans to give a complex yet stupefyingly easy question the full consideration it deserves.

To think of how small we truly are in the scale of what we know as the universe, and then to scale it down to the size of an insect… there is no average size for anything. The environment breeds everything inside its parameters, because otherwise something would be thrown off balance and another change would be made to offset it. Of course, this process could take centuries, millennia, millions or even billions of years, and we have to let old school evolution take care of the job for us, unless we have devised a way to artificially speed up the process. We come across as impatient, don’t we? The faster we get results, the faster we want results a second time. Once we experience something that rewarding, something in our brains tells us that we can do better, and we constantly work to break our last records, regardless of how little the improvement is.

If we still had horse and carriage technology in the first world, we would have to settle for journeys across state lines instead of simple commutes, but we would accept it and plan our lives accordingly. Modernity speeds things up while creating a dependency on those newfound luxuries. The bible thumpers tell us this in the basic template: “Sin will grab hold of you when you try to fill that hole in your heart that only God can fill.” Not just any God, mind you. You need a Judeo-Christian God in order to properly fill your heart. Now that we’ve become a global community, isn’t it time for us to consolidate our faiths into one global religion? Since the whiteys have kept their churches on top for so long, they’re definitely in the running for keeping their religion, but perhaps if all the brown people embraced a common faith, they could finally end the land-grabbing entity known as Christianity. This would take a few generations, and possibly wouldn’t reach a happy conclusion within a five hundred year span, with bloody wars and endless propaganda on every corner of the globe’s shrinking landmass.

By that time, the extremist liberals on the east and west coasts of the US will have drowned from the rising sea level, and perhaps the good folks from the landlocked part of our fine nation will step up and defend their inherent rights as God-fearing white people. Their audience will be as small as ever, but they won’t care because they can only think about one thing at a time, and their pursuit of a completely Christian world leaves them virtually no memory in their brain to contemplate who would actually listen to their rhetorical bullshit. As a matter of fact, they probably wouldn’t even think about figuring out what rhetorical means, because they take every statement at face value, unaware that sarcasm or innuendo even exist. To harp on a milder note, however, American football should receive a large boost in ratings because of its affinity with conservative white people, and country music would become its own art form (which would make it even easier to completely dismiss, because it’d be all conveniently smushed together into one place, not touching anything else with its grubby paws, thank God).

All of these things bank on the notion that our future will be based upon Earth. Maybe by that time we will have overpopulated the planet so much that Soylent Green isn’t even a viable option anymore, and we begin to eject people into space if they commit crimes (which would actually be a huge boon to the prison system, because the flow of jailbirds would be much lighter, and the ones who end up in prison wouldn’t be so bad anyway, since the really bad ones have already been shot into space). Perhaps we’ll have come up with a method for transporting humans safely at or near the speed of light, and trips to Mars will be commonplace, even necessary, as the red planet becomes the solar system’s Ellis Island. People will be forced to change their last names to fit in with the Martian crowd. The general rule for Mars dialect is to pronounce every ‘e’ in its hardest sense, like in cheese or feel, so there would be a lot of names ending in that sound (Julie, Donny, Abercrombie, etc.). Will we need a new constitution for our new planet? Will we be able to terraform it enough for us to be able to stand on its surface without an oxygen tank? Will there be entire cities consisting of one race or one family (like when the mob owns a city and nobody questions that fact except for the new alderman from out of town who understands the situation but still pushes his ethics upon the mob with negative results)? All of these questions will be answerable within my grandkids’ lifetimes.

How do I know this? Well, based upon the current technological trends, by 2100 we’ll have figured out a way to manipulate our DNA so much that we can transform into anything we want at the press of a button (with a really cool device that holds the complete DNA sequences for every living thing), and by 2050 there is the possibility that anybody with some cash can purchase a simple clone to do work around the house. How the hell would we not be able to go to Mars with that kind of stuff happening? The collective human race would smack its forehead if its space program progressed that slowly. Granted, there’s rarely enough money to adequately fund an accelerating space program, and people are always bitching about how their kids need food and an education, but it’s a big key to our future to figure out how to go places really fast, because we’ve made a damn mess on Earth that we should run and hide from for a few million years so that the ecosystems that were there before our industrious ingenuity can thrive again and brace for another wave of insensitive, possession-driven lunatics.

Hopefully by the time a few million years have rolled by, we humans (if we still exist or haven’t merged with any number of alien species) will have learned a thing or two about responsible planet ownership, and our actions will always include caution and thought. I’d like to say that’s probably how it’ll pan out, but there’s no way to know if we’ll ever become intelligent enough to become benevolent. There’s a certain point where a being loses its lust for things and sensations and realizes that it belongs to the universe, and its duty is to occupy space with its body while other bodies also occupy space, some of these bodies interacting with each other, but most moving away from each other in random directions, and everything that used to seem valuable or desirable washes out with every other speck of matter, because when you go small enough, it becomes very difficult to distinguish what matter really is, even to the point where you can’t be sure if our science got the heart of the matter when it was able to look that closely at things.

———-

Originally posted on Wharved: 12/18/2011

L


I lost the gift of written language, so I grabbed a ring-tailed lemur and put it in front of a television for inspiration. It couldn’t focus, even when the channel was changed to other lemurs. It looked quizzically up at me as if to say, “what, you expect me to be interested in this crap? Come on, I move around in trees for a living. My attention would normally be fixed on what to eat next, but you’ve been feeding me pretty regularly so I just plain don’t care about anything anymore.”

XLVIII


The spindly arms of the
glazed bean-eating warble-wearer
flap wildly in the wind,
floppy appendages
good for expressing emotions
in lieu of of articulating
intellectual positions.
Trembling in the breeze,
those arms can indicate excitement,
disappointment, hunger
and even bewilderment in a pinch.

Deputy Dan


Deputy Dan

Deputy Dan was a crime-solving man,
went to church, ate an apple a day.

He never did wear his wits on his sleeves,
mostly stood alone guarding the town

after Sheriff McClintock befuddled the press
and just vanished one fine autumn evening.

He sent occasional postcards,
Dan laughed at the palm trees and lake bluffs,
seething under the pressure heaped upon him;
but a crime-solving man is a crime-solving man,
and his badge meant his promise to the people.

XLVII


The bindle on your shoulder
contains all the implements
necessary to start a new life:
a razor, an old newspaper,
a tin of peanuts, a crumpled greeting card,
six or seven packing peanuts,
a fork, knife and napkin.

You can pick up anchor and float
to any destination you so choose,
soliciting the help of kind souls
along the way, never wavering
from your pilgrimage to nowhere special.

XLVI


This little pint-sized skillet
takes the cake when it comes to
political treachery, lest you all
forget what happened on the night
of the great cupcake bake-off
last November. An implement
for destruction rather than
ingredient infusion, the greasy pan
struck a blow to our nation’s temple
and declared itself ideal, a tool
for the youth to look to as a reflection
of intolerance in the name of prosperity
and entitlement, teaching the lesson that
if you’re born with means, you can make
a goddamn mess out of everything you do
and still be considered successful.

XLV


Dare we complete the traditional maze
and try to emerge unscathed?
Hazards prove great, deter us for days–
a hindrance if you haven’t bathed.

A sphinx will appear and offer a rhyme
believing to confound us all,
we’ll look like we sucked on the sourest lime,
but our answer will make the beast fall.

It takes all of our courage to climb up
to the god of unreasonable fate,
and if we can just get to that old gilded cup,
we can probably found our own state.

Luxurious fame will belong to our names,
beloved wherever we go.
We’ll sing national anthems at baseball games
and watch our great legacy grow.

XLIII


I rescued a cat from a low-hanging branch while its master drank peppermint tea on the stoop, watching me the whole time with a blank expression. I received no thank you, not even a nod or a wink. The cat bolted into the house–quickly followed by the peculiar and stoic person–as I used grand sarcastic hand gestures to describe my disingenuous joy at reuniting the two companions. The blinds moved a smidge just a few seconds after the door slammed shut, and I continued waving my mitts, now in a flailing fashion and in no way courteous anymore.

XLII


I watch the smoker count the number of cigarette butts in his line of sight, which must be about eight or ten, and even though he acknowledges that I have emerged from the restaurant to sweep up each and every one of those butts, he insists on throwing his onto the sidewalk–as opposed to the smoker’s pole just feet away–and trudging his way back into the establishment (to a waiting beer and a fiancĂ©e who wishes he would just quit already). Of course, he avoids eye contact with me as a way of muting his conscience (similar to how he avoids looking at the starving third-world children in those charity adverts on television). To him, I’m just a poverty-stricken Congolese boy with a distended stomach, someone he can’t look directly at for fear of having to review his life choices and then contemplate his lack of contribution to important causes in this global society. Oh well, it’s just one more butt to sweep anyway, but sweet Jesus! He didn’t even step on it!

XLI


The alarm emanates from the plastic reproduction of a retro resin clock that I got in a catalog for fifty bucks on a whim–which I now regret. The alarm barely does its job most of the time; I’m a very sound sleeper and usually only wake up once a REM cycle has completed (or is nearing completion, at least). This particular late-morning, I was first roused by a bone-rattling cough coming from my roommate’s end of the apartment, but chose not to do anything about my waking state and rolled over for some more rest. Well, I was pretty much wide awake but would rather lie down than attempt any kind of activity, as is my wont (being an American and living like royalty on my days off from work). Now I’m lying stationary and regretting that I didn’t get groceries last night when I was actually up and at ’em. If I don’t do something about that soon, I could literally starve to death. The longer I wait in my bed, the weaker I’ll get, until I’ve reached the point of no return and my sick roommate will have to take notice of my extended lack of rustling about the apartment. He doesn’t typically exhibit signs of good samaritanism, but maybe if I attempt broadcasting my distress telepathically he’ll pick up on my misery. I know what you’re thinking, why not just yell for help? There’s no way I’m going to wrap myself up in such a faux pas, whining about every little threat to my existence. No, I’ll take my self-imposed punishment like a man.

XL


The filth has followed me
and now leaves a film
on everything I hold dear.
I just want to go two weeks
without dust accumulating
on my curios, is that too much
to ask? I thought that
leaving my windows open
would circulate fresh air
into this stagnant pit,
and it has, but the dust
is still encroaching on my space
just like it always has.
Today a skunk must have
released its pungent essence
just feet from my bedroom window,
before I’d had enough of this
fresh air nonsense. Now
I’ll never open my windows again.

XXXIX


In harsher climates, you may find a legal document that states the importance of wearing layers and walking with the wind instead of pigheadedly skirting the law of the land and freezing off your nipples for the sake of being contrary and seemingly nothing else. Now, if you’re a man, your nipples are just cosmetic features to be risked on a regular basis–if you so choose–but once they’re gone, your days of flaunting physical features are numbered. No non-nippled man will ever be taken seriously in these parts, on principle.

XXXVIII


A Grover Cleveland impersonator
steps up to the podium
to speak about his rights
and the rights of his fellow impersonators
of obscure historical figures.
“My dear friends, please do not despair
when people wonder who you are
and question your motives
when you’re kind enough to enlighten them.
Their ignorance needs to be tolerated,
but you shouldn’t think anything less
of yourself because of it.” He gazes out
over the crowd to see C. Everett Koop,
Randolph Scott and Percy Lavon Julian
all nodding their heads, side by side
in a brotherhood as improbable as
a yak in the Sonora Desert.

XXXVII


Grant effervescent praise
to the wormhole-riding quadrant jockey,
content to pirate whatever feels like
a worthwhile media experience

before stalking two lovebirds
on a picnic in Central Park,
those lovey dovey types
who eskimo kiss sans embarrassment
while the sky blushes
and burns its way into the night.

XXXVI


A council of unsuspecting elders took a page
from The Book of Minuscule Black Dots
and ran a quick scan of it
through their collective,
only to find a nasal passage
from 18th Century Europe–owner unknown.
Each elder had a distinct idea
of why such a thing would come
to their attention, but nobody
could agree on one reason.
The council had recently sustained
a series of crushing blows to its morale,
and this particular incident opened
a fissure that would never be repaired–
even to this day, 87 years later.

XXXV


Gene screeches halt movement
through the capillaries, tending
to favor inborn anomalies
that prefer to stride about
with a confidence normally reserved
for viruses, kicking over trash cans
as they go along, wishing
to preserve nothing and destroy
the fabric of existence
as most well-meaning individuals see it.
Blood-borne imps choose mischief
over guaranteed function, shutting down
arteries to play pick-up street hockey
and puncture whatever they please
in the process; bulls in china shops,
the lot of ’em.

XXXIV


There is really nothing quite as fearsome
as a sentient sock monkey staring you down
from a gruesome sixth-story parapet,
replete with several survival satchels–
the majority of which being loaded
with nearly-expired mayonnaise–
causing nearby neighbors to shout,
“Don’t you dare open those bags,
they’ll be a goddamn biological weapon!
Christ!” Unfortunately, the sock monkey
doesn’t understand a scrap of English–
or any spoken language, for that matter.

XXXIII


Beanings stoke all-around deciduous reactions,
shaking and flaking into the Autumn
as though nothing but leaves are important
once the fall classic has come to a close.
Veins through chlorophyll, now earthen–
trodden over and united with soil–fade
and shrink into worms’ mouths and scream
a muted shriek until completely inaudible.