Nowadays

Inundated by swirling squirrels (plural),
my world unfurled and I hurled
at the girl–named Shirl–
who told Earl, who told Pearl.

Word spreads fast around these parts nowadays.
Definitely a far cry from stacking turtles
and expecting some kind of a turtle volume discount.

The world doesn’t revolve
around my every concern
,
I must constantly remind myself;
it simply revolves around
the vast majority of my concerns,
which is not bad (as far as I’m concerned).

Regardless, I’ve shifted my priorities
toward more avian-oriented pursuits
in lieu of proper purpose fulfillment.
I once naïvely wondered if my
blundering about
could be prevented by taking a step too far
off the beaten path. They never manage
the nettles or brambles out there,
and the poison ivy situation
has gotten completely out of control.

At least I’m better prepared now.
Beginner’s luck let me
somehow sidestep preventable peril,
but then the paywall went up. And with it?
All intuitive botanical knowledge (once
freely accessible during the initial trial period)
just up and evaporated, leaving in its wake
a credit card authorization form
and the promise of easy unsubscription.

That was three years ago, and I
still haven’t managed to speak with a human
customer service rep. I’ve called in
every
other
business day
and built a rapport with a quirky AI bot
named Jimmy. He has a perfect memory
and seemingly always has time to talk,
even though the waiting list for a human
operator is still forty-seven months long.

To put it bluntly, this human
mass-extinction has really been ruffling
my feathers. All I want to do is yell
at a member of the species that made
this planet so unbearable to inhabit,
but of course that’s now practically impossible.

Well, I’d always like the opportunity to yell… but
I’d also appreciate crossing paths
with that elusive customer service rep
(a subset of human
that may very well have gone extinct by now).

“Free-99”

The uncanny orthodontist gave me braces, and I never even asked for any! What a swell fella. He even said I could get them tightened for free at one of his six participating franchises if I were ever out on the town and looking to feel alive for a minute. The billing department is starting to get annoyed with me because I refuse to pay for the braces. They told me they set up a payment plan on my behalf, but I never signed anything, shook anyone’s hand, or even offered a verbal agreement. I don’t know about you, but where I come from, we call that “free-99”.

That ‘Without Our Knowledge’ Bit

What the hell is even the point of human relationships
if all we ever do is demonstrate how unfit we are
to spend time with one another on a regular basis?
It’s madness, more than anything,
and chemical compounds that dictate our actions
without our knowledge. That ‘without our knowledge’ bit
really bugs me the most of anything,
since I attempt to figure out things for a living
(well, I wouldn’t call it a living, but
I somehow manage to get (most of) the bills paid
every month). My daily existence is predicated upon
the ability to tell truth from bullshit,
and it’s what has helped me negotiate
the wild waters of humanhood thus far.

So it disturbs me when a person comes along
and knocks me off the tracks, like a goddamn
penny that some toddler put there
because they thought it would be funny.
Not funny, kid. Perhaps experimentation with the species
is necessary, and some folks take circuitous routes
in order to accumulate the necessary data.
Or some people are just assholes.

I Don’t See Why

Who wants to go skiing today?

Too many risks of bodily injury, I’d say.

You’re a wuss, buddy. Do you ever want to do anything with your life, or are you just going to cower and whimper all the time?

I don’t see why I can’t have a balance of both.

This isn’t like breakfast, you can’t just add stuff together and assume they complete the circuit for you. That’s how children think.

I don’t see why I can’t live my life like a complete balanced breakfast.

Buddy, I think you’re starting to lose it here. What, do you intend to balance orange juice with coffee like some kind of sucker? Acid on acid does no good for nobody.

I don’t see why I can’t also have a glass of milk.

Great Job

What the hell am I even typing here?
Is the synthesis of words through keyboard activity
more significant than penning them by hand?
How would one method be preferable to any other
when composing original products of human imagination?

The answer involves an inordinate amount
of wobbling and waffling
between the ideal state of the human being
and the universe we’ve inherited
through no fault of our own.

How many times have you heard that
“through no fault of our own” nonsense
and actually bought it for a second?
What a modern convenience it must be
to forget the struggle of our forbears
while annihilating the only home we were ever given.
Great job, guys.

Public or Private

Pudgy pigeons
pluck plinko players
from plaid plundering,
piracy never preferred
over pragmatic pilgrimages
(purchased with privilege
and pursued with primeval
predilections). Predictions
produce practically no pressure
in this prideful pageant, Professor–
public or private.

Society’s Fault

Hello, I’m Barnaman Bailey.
You may remember me
from such mishearings as:
“hey, aren’t you that ‘ ‘scuze me
while I kiss this guy’ guy?”
People always know
I have one of those type of names,
but I haven’t reached the level of notoriety yet
where people just know it for certain.
I blame society.
It’s society’s fault.

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