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.

Panic!

Spindled tickets desire not much more from their makers
than the basic recognition of their proper utility
in the overblown social experiment
known as customer ordering and service rendering.

Once stabbed and stacked, impaled indefinitely,
our punctured pals wish not to be moved
until they and their carbon paper cousins
all make the grand pilgrimage together.

When each new spent batch has been manhandled
and hurtled to the hallowed trash can (the one
with the mass-produced “Law & Oarder” bumper sticker
carelessly splashed onto it as a graffiti-hider
and exercise in pointless consumerism)–the one
that a wise old papyrus once celebrated
as heaven incarnate–contagious catharsis
sweeps through the crinkled pile.

Since all their common ancestors disappeared forever
upon meeting the can of destiny, the soon-deceased
sensibly assume that it must be a pretty swell place
to stick around for a solid chunk of time (probably
just positively loaded with recreational activities).
No panicky paper here, no sir. Delusional, definitely,
but not a hint of panic!

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).

Scones and Stones

No-good trubish remedy sentinels
just continue to badger me
as I TRY
to make my way to Sand Hose “A”
(what a jerkwater berg anyway, am I right?).

An impartial influence
on the growth region
of my intercontinental mental health
has got me reeling for an alternative
to cheesy misheard lyrics.
There is, however, none to be found.

It would appear, my dear mentor once told me
(over scones and stones, I wasn’t fond
of the stones but I tolerated the scones)
that black and white considerations
have torn this here nation limb from limb,
while the attemptive peacemakers
intervene at inconvenient intervals,
knocking rhetoric around
like any of it makes a difference.

I’ve batted at this idea
for far longer than I’d care to admit,
so I’m just gonna shut my mouth
before the weight of my convictions
puts a pox on my house. Or
was that a box on my mouse?
I wasn’t paying attention.

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.

Fun Things

The more senior members of the corn-fed trophy mounting union (local 1776) always manage to find opportunities to regale their greener counterparts with talk of a simpler time–when common salmonella held a place in all of our hearts and opinion-dominated politics held sway in the public arena.

The information age was still in its infancy and the shady web traffickers used all their powers of persuasion to convince the good ol’ god-fearing people that doom was just around the corner for all non-believers (when a quick search would reveal that the sedentary nature of these chosen-by-default disciples was actually the exact behavior leading us all to armageddon).

The billionaire false prophets for social normativity laughed all the way to the bank, just the way they always had (and always would, assuming the government they’d purchased would continue to carry out their various people-crushing biddings). Nobody with enough influence could get the gears of social justice turning, due to their lack of tenure as stock market manipulators and robber barons; the folks who figured they could inspire a positive change in discourse were all too late to the party.

Or that would be the narrative that Joe and Stu want to perpetuate at social gatherings (sock hops, ball games, charity galas, what have you), usually after a beer or two. I wish they would talk about fun things instead.