CVIII


Fire lit by tonsillitis
stalls the candlestick vendor.
This is a flame
that must be conquered
with a knife,
non-invasive procedures
simply won’t cut it.

Go under and collect
anesthesia-fueled dreams
that won’t be remembered
until a moment
in another dreaming state
(which will also be forgotten
until consciousness melds with chaos
and uploads all of life’s raw data
to the infinite abyss, images
blurring with thoughts and emotions
while sounds and textures follow suit
in an infinitely-faceted patchwork).

CVII


Picture a rogue squadron of down-filled pencil pushers coordinating a squalid attempt at what they believe to be a most fertile salad dressing, but what we know to be a seasonal jaunt through the woods in search of pine cones shaped like Abe Lincoln. Gettysburg hasn’t been relevant for some time now, but that doesn’t stop our friends from trudging through the underbrush and raising alarms every time they see leaves in clumps of three.

They know not what makes a salad dressing more fertile than any other, and they don’t even claim to assume what constitutes your average dressing, fertile or barren. They simply know that their amalgamation has yet to be approved by any regulatory body and they’re just going by the seat of their pants and trusting that their instincts will lead them down the tastiest road, be it nutritious or otherwise.

A faction of our dressing doers have found it more pertinent to skate through the town square with cheese in their britches, convinced that dressing has no bearing on the legitimacy of a salad. Their position stokes outrage amongst their peers; how could a salad be considered legitimate in this world if it hasn’t been coated in oily goodness? The two camps are at odds with one another, and the argument won’t be settled until the blood of the innocent flows through the streets.

CVI


The freeloading, lance tossing, hand jiving, bank robbing, heavy lifting, double dipping, chain smoking, dry heaving and life-living individual spent his time in the service of other people, content to take a backseat to the callous know-it-alls who tossed their rhetoric around the block in bite-sized snippets designed to appease the masses and challenge nobody while making a big stink about absolutely nothing.

Our hero (of little merit other than existing and rubbing noses in their various messes) felt that no awkward position could upend his potential as a beacon for human improvement in the face of an ever-widening fissure that threatened to wreak havoc on the lives of those who’d become uncomfortable in their mundane rituals, and his efforts would pay off sooner than later, believe it or not. Monetary compensation would be nice, but he understood that his reward would be more significant in the grand scheme of creative endeavors, a lasting mark on the face of what would soon be called the Canon of Collective Creation, curated by none other than the forlorn dish jockey who spins yarns to pass the time while he hardens his hands under scalding water in the kitchen of a high-volume restaurant on a Saturday afternoon just after the brunch rush but right before the dinner rush, where there’s still a decent contingency of people streaming in but even more making their way out because it’s no longer fashionable to sit at a dirty table twenty minutes after the server dropped the check.

Meanwhile, in the Depths of Space [II]


The megalith atop a mound of frozen butter has begun to lean. The wind–an opponent of this lonely monument’s verticality over the past several days–has finally managed to noticeably move the giant. Now it’s only a matter of time before that butter melts, leaving no margin for error and dooming the poor behemoth to horizontality until the next time an advanced-enough species wanders over and decides that this particular rock would look better if it touches the ground with the smallest possible footprint. It could happen tomorrow, it could take a billion years. Hell, it may never happen. How it started standing in the first place is a mystery unto itself.

CV


Today I flattened a screwdriver with only the power of my mind. All I had to do was look at it with the intent to change its physical properties, and BAM, flatter than a doornail (that’s been flattened, that is). In my short time of having this ability–two weeks this Saturday–I’ve flattened objects big and small, pliable and rigid. So far I’ve flattened corkscrews, pickles, baseball cards, lawn chairs, lawn darts, lawn mowers, garden gnomes and neighborhood cats (I usually stick to backyard objects). My need to flatten is insatiable, much to the chagrin of my neighbors. I haven’t attempted to flatten people, I don’t need to get into any unnecessary trouble if I can help it.

But if I had to, I’d start with Phil from next door. The only problem is that I just know my appetite would grow uncontrollable from there. Not long after, I’d need to flatten heads of state and big business owners just to get the same rush I’d become accustomed to since flattening the likes of my lowly neighbor, whose only mark on society is the number of cable/internet/home phone bundles he’s sold. His flattening would be a merciful one.

CIV


Equal parts snickering and jibbering, flouncing and denouncing, partying and Martying and sipping and tipping have led us to this culminating moment, and this revelatory juncture alone will fix us up with the karmic indifference we should inevitably come to view as necessary, should we ever put on roller skates and glide down the lakeshore on the manmade path designed for smooth wheeled transport (nothing more, nothing less). That day will come only when we’ve reached the conclusion that our soul clarity is above average, and yadda yadda yadda, here’s some more hippy dippy rhetoric to be restricted to only eight select individuals on the planet, each division roughly the equivalent of a slice of a New York pie and only half as appetizing. The other people who occupy space on our same plane of existence will only surmise their positions on the karmic totem pole and wander–trudge–through the rest of the week with no common purpose readily apparent to them, lost to be found once the tide comes in.

CIII


The eggs of the common jellybird are prized more than those of a stork, ptarmigan or even the elusive sweater-wearing snoot pigeon. You’d think that these eggs would be valued for their culinary value, but they’re practically inedible (more of a collector’s item). So far, over 9,351 different distinct colors of jellybird egg have been discovered, with no apparent end to the hue differentiation. The lacquered version of these eggs is the most common, but fossilized ones fetch the highest market value by far. Genuine fossilized jellybird eggs are quite rare but not unheard of, as the species has always been highly adaptable, flourishing since the early Paleocene, leaving treasures behind for us to find. Recently, a suspicious influx of fossilized jellybird eggs has flooded the market, baffling experts around the world. There have not been any significant findings in the recent past that would justify such a surge, yet nobody can tell the difference between these numerous new artifacts and their scarcer counterparts that have been accumulating since we humans took an interest in their preservation. Someone must have perfected a method for fossilization on demand, or, perhaps, there’s truly no such thing as a genuine fossilized jellybird egg, implying that all the most valuable specimens were planted. Planted by whom, we may never know. It’s only a matter of time before religious zealots claim that God placed the eggs in the earth as a means of testing our faith and jumpstarting the Easter tradition that Christians hold so near and dear to their hearts.

CII


The dream of a lifetime
stood up for days
as the saving grace
of my eternal consciousness,
even though I couldn’t
for the life of me figure out
exactly what happened
or why a chicken
with an alarm clock head
hopped straight into an electrified fence
and became a bucket of extra crispy
from a place called Kalamata Dried Chickbeaks–
a subsidiary of Ten Pin Alley Industries.

CI


The stalwart lemon scoundrel pimped out his favorite seashell collection for a day of ease at the local confetti merchant’s egregious beach house.

Seven gin and tonics and a piƱa colada graced his lips before the evening was through, and his precious chest of abalone changed hands for the first time in fourteen years.

A celebration was in order. Confetto McFetti called up his favorite mariachi band and lit all the loose champagne corks ablaze with his trusty acetylene torch. The neighbors had nothing to say about the festivities; they owed that eccentric man next door a couple of favors.

C


I flew the coop; took on a couple extra feathers under the brim of my cap and another in the loop of my shoelace, passengers on a journey across the Midwest. My foot feather dropped off at the world’s largest ball of twine, satisfied to become a tourist’s quarry. The other two held on for dear life as the Great Plains beckoned me to continue my arbitrary geographical survey. Not until I reached the Rockies did they think about dislodging. As I rose ever higher to avoid the jagged peaks, I noticed a hesitation. Just when I thought they didn’t have the guts, both feathers dropped into the domain of a billy goat clan and I waved goodbye. Still soaring, I questioned my motives for the flight: why did I even agree to go this far, and shouldn’t I just turn around? Days of nonstop flight can wear on you, even in a dream. I cut my losses and headed back, amazed that I hadn’t lost my lucky cap.