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”

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).

Goofball

Oh come now, there are multiple reasons
why you shouldn’t screw in a lightbulb that way.
Primarily, you’ll shatter its fragile exterior
and gouge your hand,
smearing precious blood all over your clothing.

That tunic you bought at the Sears yesterday (don’t ask how I know)
will be absolutely ruined. The fourteen dollars you spent
will be for naught. I know you don’t see that
as your perfect (or even preferred) scenario, so
stop acting like a goofball and listen to me
when I teach you how to do something.
Do you want a repeat of the zombie survival drills?
Didn’t think so.

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

On Good Authority

Mickey The Mantelpiece
has it on good authority
that Dinkins’ Corner
smells like hot dog water
and scorched sand
after the bungled boogaloo last Tuesday.
It’s more than likely
a result of that notorious
Basketweaving Barrelmuncher Brigade–
they usually leave a lasting impression
in this naïve neighborhood.

The Brigade, forever unsure of its tenuous future,
kept right on hoarding canned meats
like it was going out of style–
ever since we thought we’d licked
those midcentury wartime tendencies.

Never an organization keen on listening to reason,
the BBB (not to be mistaken
with the power-wielding force
that calls the local business shots)
must have leaked some spiced ham remnants
while making their hasty getaway
from the street that birthed their tendencies.

We’re gonna need to hold them responsible
for the odorous hullabaloo
they always leave in their sloppy wake
(as though they think we’re meek enough
to take it lying down, the cretins).
Mickey The Mantelpiece will head up the posse.

All of a Sudden

He’s resurrected!
it’s truly a marigold.
But you know what?
It’s this very kind of
garden-variety entendre
that I’ve been meaning to avoid here,
amongst all the sordid
ne’er-do-well activity
that seems to define our times
all of a sudden.

Wasn’t integrity of character
ever something to strive toward?
Maybe not in this system of
checks [cashed] and balances [slashed].

Though perhaps I’m as guilty
as any other layabout milquetoast out there,
lounging around the house
sipping my pink lemonade martinis
(my live-in mixologist’s proprietary recipe)
and grousing like one of my commoner counterparts.