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”

Crotch

Precisely between pages 182 and 183
of a battered, overused
elementary school Spanish textbook
on the neighborhood Indianapolis Goodwill’s
hardcover books shelf, you’ll find
a perfectly-preserved eyelash
wedged in the crotch of the binding,

once attached to the heavy eyelid
of Jacob Stern, a third grader
with no real foreign language aptitude,
any sense of which would have been lost
while sitting in the back row of Spanish class
during Sr. Cerasoli’s Wednesday morning lecture
extolling the virtues of ser and estar,
a class period that felt
like it could last forever, though
certainly not in infamy (until old Jake
dropped his eyelash and roped us
into this entire absurd narrative).

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–

Smoke and Mirrors

Troubled psychiatrists
around the world
have increasingly turned to iodine
for lack of anything better to recommend.

This simple palliative
sure has brightened the lives
of countless patients, whether or not
they’re actually doing anything
for their brain chemistries.

Rather than causing a stir
by playing the tired smoke and mirrors
game of “Is This a Placebo or Not?”,
doctors everywhere are prescribing Vitamin I,
that heaviest of stable halogens.

Its deep violet hue promotes a sense of mystery
in 74% of test patients, creating
more of a positive psychological effect
than any old placebo ever could.

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).