Immense Scrutiny: Oh, Okay

What the hell do we even write about anymore?

Why does every single new idea
have this immense scrutiny attached to it–
this, the next in my sequence of work
after this whole COVID- dilemma kicked off.

How would one go about this treacherous task
that I would argue nobody wants to undertake?

Well, the first impression of the situation
would be that you should just get started.

But there are so many previously-made characters
just waiting for me to observe their every move
on the silver screen!!

Nobody calls it the silver screen anymore, hon.

Aw, shut up. You never let me wax aquarium.
I mean antiquarian. Same thing.

It’s obviously a completely different thing.
One involves some weird combination of wax and water,
the other is old timey shit.

Well, I meant the old shit, duh.
Anyway, I can’t wait to just dig into
another drama or comedy
or whatever shit they’re shoveling these days
over at the old network of flix.
And now that I’m standing here
thinking about it,
I can’t stand just being here
without reasonable computer access.

What do you mean,
we’re literally on a computer screen.
We could just walk two inches to the right
and bump into a browser window with let’s see…
oh, not the porn one.
But it looks like that Stephen Hawking movie
was the last thing of repute in his history.

Oh, how was that?

Yeah, not bad. Pretty damn stylized,
but what do you expect from a movie
that’s supposed to undertake the monumental task
of depicting the 20th Century’s most prominent
cosmological luminary
while addressing his ALS?

They covered his whole life?

Nah, just a scrapbook of mostly decent memories
up until the point where his older kids are teenagers
and running around in some Buckingham Palace bullshit.

Oh, okay.

Jibberjab

Prattle off nonsensical jibberjab
for what?
Does it benefit the cosmos
to move air particles
more than the average organism?
There may be an upside
to increased social fortitude,
though its presence
currently can’t be brought about
by conversing with the source.
Modern methods preach research–
the patterns of self-aggrandizing youth
now freshly entering the labor force
must be recorded and studied,
analyzed for psychological concerns
and then swiftly monetized
for the sake of further capitalistic gerrymandering.

This sponsored content has been brought to you
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Watching the Backs of Excitable Types
Since 1981”

[By the] Spool

Functional elastic waistband replacement
has taken the sweatpant market by storm,
just as those most forward-thinking
tastemakers and trendsetters predicted
as far back as a full generation ago.

Here’s the long and short of it:
You’re the kind of person who very much enjoys
the comfort and functionality of a sweatpant,
to the point where your favorite pair (they
don’t make ’em quite like that anymore)
requires a new waistband after only
moderate garmential utilization.

Rather than fretting and tossing
those pants you know and love
(within whose bounds you formed
the most lasting memories of your entire lifetime),
you simply dip into your junk drawer
for a length of replacement elastic
and doctor up those trousers all on your own!

Replacement elastics are sold by the foot
(or in fractions of feet, for the real weirdos out there),
with a competitive price drop if you order it
by the spool.

Fully engrossed in the 21st Century, we believe
it’s our duty to turn that dream
of on-demand, taut-yet-comfortable waistbands
into a reality that we modern world citizens
take for granted, like the internet
or patent leather galoshes.

Disclaimer: due to the sheer number
of semi-literate individuals asking if we
provide discounts for people ordering their elastics
“by the pool”, we have discontinued
poolside delivery of our fine product line.

Stopgap

Chernicia and her loyal band of
roving youth choir administrators
saw no choice
other than to take up stopgap freelance work.

Due to a general malaise
and rapidly-growing apprehension
toward patronizing or participating in
the performing arts (the anti-exceptionalist
herd mentality showed absolutely no signs of
dissipation as professionals of all stripes
traversed the barren corporate landscape
(a hell to be wished upon no soul)), all hope
seemed lost on the fearful.

Interest in the once-alluring
middle and high school competitive circuit
had been waning steadily for a generation or so,
to the point where even the most stalwart
paper-shuffling masochists out there
had to admit they were licked.

In this devastating climate, Chernicia figured
that some places out there
must
still need to enlist the services
of highly-competent youth choir administrators.

They took an oath in front of the children,
for Christ’s sake!
They vowed, on bended knee,
to make themselves
available for freelance filing (and HR concerns)
at the drop of a hat, whenever duty may come calling.

So just like that, they picked up and left–
no matter what their guts happened to be
telling them (the group’s average duodenum
could paint you the idyllic picture
where they’d carved out a sort of haven
in this life of more uncertainty than trust).

Many tearful (and gut-wrenching) goodbyes
after they developed the steely resolve
to give up their past selves
(for the children, dammit),
the brave and intrepid band set out
on their first assignment: Gurnee, Illinois.

They never did look back.
And to this very day,
rental cars and hotel rooms
still serve as their only refuge
from the vast desert of abandoned office complexes.

At Any Rate

Elegant transmission signals
discriminate rather wildly, you’ll find
(if you were to bother thinking much about it).
Well, we’re thinking form over function here, right?
Or is it function over form whenever possible?
Who can even remember anymore anyway?

At any rate, instead of bit-champing
and tooth-gnashing, I’d rather have
a consistent plateau of mountain plush toy friendliness,
if you know what I mean.
And of course you don’t know what I mean;
I don’t even know what I mean
most of the time.

It’s an issue, I’ve been
trying to get out in front of it
(and it’s just kicking my ass, man).
So I’d eventually like
to reach the point where
I can talk to just about anyone
about just about anything,
and that’ll satisfy me
in lieu of actual achievement in this life.

Parlance

Entombed in the cedar
Mac Rebennack-ness of it all,
I stood still with a Wisconsin
kind of appendage, the wishbone apparent
through those ill-begotten stockings
left behind that one night
when the pistons swayed
against the moon spritzers
with their glittering doom

(so transparent to everybody
save the few middling marmoset dealers
known around the district as
generally pretty good guys
in their own regard, if you insist on
getting down to their brand of parlor parlance
after a bit of tea and perhaps
a scone while we’re at it).

Alls I knows is
my black bean taquito factory
couldn’t have shut down
at a worse possible time for me
and my chicken brethren. Now,

I know what you’re thinking. Can
chickens collectively be considered
brethren, or would that be omitting
the female sex entirely?
For you see, my enlightened peers
in this common quest
for some kind of satisfaction–
if at all possible–
chicken is the lazy layman’s
blanket term, and we can’t be
bandying improper pronouns around
over here, ya dig?

Oh, and I suppose it would also mean
that my clucky compatriots will have to incur
the ultimate sacrifice (their lives)
on the company’s behalf
for the sake of avoiding
cuisine production cessation (if even
for a minute).
I can’t jeopardize our investors’ success
within this capitalistic apparatus–
especially after that botched public offering
a couple summers ago. Egg
on my face, I said to myself (I said).

Faux Pas

Bajillion Peregrinus started his day off right today–with a succulent cobb salad and a couple of margaritas. Slippery slope, margaritas, but as a denizen of the night, Baj has always managed to avoid that whole “too early in the day to imbibe” faux pas. However, considering the depth of his late-night cavorting, he often finds himself breaking that rule by pulling all-nighters and keeping the party rolling well past dawn.

This particular day wouldn’t normally prove to serve Baj’s personal agenda, seeing as how he needs to knock out some domestic drudgery and then immediately tuck into a full-blown work shift. Not very much time to himself at all. Just another one of those days. It’s not like he’s not used to this kind of treatment; he’s become quite accustomed to it at this point. Bills and impulsive expenditures (food delivery and designer headphones) necessitate his daily drudgery–for the most part. The remaining part of the pie chart (as far as he could figure): his intense, immense sense of self-loathing, which he quietly carries around on his shoulders like a hobo’s bindle–not too heavy, considering the unbearable lightness of being, but always noticeably uncomfortable.

As far as he sees it, he figures that the self-deception is a byproduct of his unfulfilled human potential. Well, not his own perception of failing, but the societal norm facilitating the “us vs. them” mentality that sends the vast majority of rat racers into skill corners, where they’ll proceed to bang their foreheads against brick walls for the rest of their lives, restricting whatever semblance of freedom to a 15-minute meditation session sometime between breakfast and work (otherwise known as their morning commute). The mental elasticity of previous generations is systematically eroding.

Baj is rather sensitive and internalizes most everything he comes across; most of the time he has no idea how it will surface, since the nature of the universe is that of uncertainty and chaos. In the case of human devolution, however, Baj knows for a fact that people are losing their sheen at a rapid clip.

Because of all this, Baj understands that, no matter what he does, he will always come up short in a financial sense. Just as his mother and father had, and their mothers and fathers before that, and so on and so forth. He’s recently begun to trace back his lineage on one of those newfangled ancestor websites, all the way back to a point in medieval Europe where some sort of town fool or drunk owed a debt to the local magistrate, and the interest is still accruing to this day.