Tour de Force

Of Nice and Men is a snappy, genre-driven play predicated on your typical hero’s journey through the heartland once regarded as antiquated–cornball, even–in the pseudo-sophisticated shadow of a cultured society we’ve been thrust into by the more majorly militaristic manchildren among us (trading individual liberties for big boy toys and candy).

Since we occupy an epoch where modern delineation truly has strangled the life out of chronological concerns (that is to say we’ve had our fair share of allegorical parallelograms in our time, no doubt about that, no siree), if you find yourself charged with taking in this three-hour beauty, you can–and should–simply attend the theatre as a pilgrim of the arts, allowing yourself to become awash in a different reality, even if only for a glimmering moment.

Other than the obvious sociological implications afforded to us by the title, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the tap dance sequences that pop up seemingly from out of nowhere (even though I’ve just spoiled the twist for you, but you pay that no mind). In a nutshell, this tour de force pits Americana versus whimsy at the intersection of Leap and Gamble Avenues.

For all my field trip aficionados out there, I recommend bringing a schoolbusful of primary school students to see the Wednesday matinee, as tickets for 12 and under are free.

Flesh and Blood

Mannequin rest is a sign of weakness
and cheap plastic.
My stock at the Sears downtown
believes that since they look human,
they should receive pay and benefits
like my flesh and blood employees.

I’m so tired of emphasizing
to these hollow Betties and Bernies
that they were designed, built and purchased
for the sole purpose of displaying garments.
I’m not the one to blame
for their poor quality of life.

Even if their plight was real
or at all justifiable,
how am I supposed to provide
services for company property?
I’m just a shift manager!

I’ve tided them over for now
by letting them form an in-store mannequin union
in the basement (Thursday and Saturday nights
from 7 to 9), but until they’re legitimate,
I’m not breathing a word of this to the higher-ups.

———-
Originally published as part of inaugural post (12/20/2010)
First titled “Swivel Rights”

Sour Grapes

Intermittent bouts of solemnity douse the overall taramasalata stallion festival, though not for lack of trying, as Mr. Finch would tell you over a certain batch of sour grapes (the varietal is not a matter of import at this time). His method for reaching extraction technology milestones may only be described as giddy triumvirates of spellbinding skullduggery punctuated by ornate grandstanding of the second-to-highest order (the highest order being wallaby interferon proceedings that benefit only the best and brightest marsupials of any given generation, whether or not we view that as classist).

Gregory Poke

A tortoise–let’s call it Gregory Poke–
peeps its head out from inside its shell
in an effort to feel alive,
truly alive, for the first time in weeks
(maybe months).

Gregory doesn’t quite know what to do next.
There are no predators to be seen
for hundreds of yards in every direction. Wait,
there are no predators here. How many times
does Greg have to remind itself of that?

And will it ever get over the affliction
of constantly referring to itself
in the third person? The answer may never arrive,
as this writer can only use 100 words. Howev–

Tea Time

A dinghy
in the middle of
this patriot’s sketchbook

provides a pure rendition
of what our ancestors
had once believed to be
a savior of some kind.

According to our current science,
the dinghy no longer ranks
among the ideal species
to be considered a deity,

but belief systems
have changed significantly
since that epoch. A list
of acceptable deities
may be found outside my office,

though not before tea time
(I despise holding class
before tea time).

Chin Up

A piddly little posy of pansies
left the station an hour ago
(off to Cleveland of all places),
running late. All alone,
the colorful collective thinks
to itself, “I should have had
a better breakfast.” A freight train
is no place for a flower
to be lollygagging around, fretting
about its appetite and desperate need
for sun rays, but that’s neither here nor there
at the moment. This bundle has an agenda,
and time is of the essence.

There’s no window in the car,
just that played-out open sliding door (the one
that may have Woody Guthrie’s initials
carved into it, whether by a fanatic,
the legend himself, or
just some schmo with the initials “WG”).

The posy, steeped in darkness, wonders
if it can gather the strength to flit
over to that certain patch of light
(the one there always seems to be),
when a breeze picks it up
and slaps it against the door,
just inches from being jettisoned.

A crash landing
in this stretch of rural Pennsylvania
would almost certainly mean a grisly death
at the hooves of the local Holstein population.
But now is no time to panic. Anxiety
will get you nowhere
in the face of a looming deadline
and quarterly financial report presentation.
Chin up, fair posy. We’re not giving up on you yet.

To and Fro

Suppose you start stammering
at these shimmering jewels
on your nightstand, as though
you’ve established some
sort of language connection
in the realm of Greater Jewelese.

You do innately understand
that jewels possess no mental capacities,
but that seems only to fuel your curiosity
as you divulge your deepest secrets
to their faceted surfaces

(eg. the state
of your psyche, regardless of stymying
ethics preventing your profits, etc.).

It beats talking to a therapist,
you tell yourself
as you realize
that a counselor would only cost
a fraction of what your precious stones
just ran you at the jeweler’s stand

(and then it dawns on you
that you never left home this morning,
and you’ve been hallucinating
those jewels all this time).

You take the opportunity to sit up in bed,
wishing
that you could at least have some kind of
shiny bauble
to stare at

(cursing
the day that you broke your bedroom window
while throwing your weight
to and fro,
resulting in a cardboard and
duct-taped mess).

———-

First draft posted to WHARVED in 2014