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).
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
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–
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).
A piddly little posy of pansies
left the station an hour ago
(off to Cleveland of all places),
running late. All alone,
the colorful collective thinks
to itself, “I should have had
a better breakfast.” A freight train
is no place for a flower
to be lollygagging around, fretting
about its appetite and desperate need
for sun rays, but that’s neither here nor there
at the moment. This bundle has an agenda,
and time is of the essence.
There’s no window in the car,
just that played-out open sliding door (the one
that may have Woody Guthrie’s initials
carved into it, whether by a fanatic,
the legend himself, or
just some schmo with the initials “WG”).
The posy, steeped in darkness, wonders
if it can gather the strength to flit
over to that certain patch of light
(the one there always seems to be),
when a breeze picks it up
and slaps it against the door,
just inches from being jettisoned.
A crash landing
in this stretch of rural Pennsylvania
would almost certainly mean a grisly death
at the hooves of the local Holstein population.
But now is no time to panic. Anxiety
will get you nowhere
in the face of a looming deadline
and quarterly financial report presentation.
Chin up, fair posy. We’re not giving up on you yet.
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,
that you could at least have some kind of
to stare at
the day that you broke your bedroom window
while throwing your weight
to and fro,
resulting in a cardboard and
First draft posted to WHARVED in 2014
Jemblatrons squeeze through the tetrahedra
as though mall cops have some kind of a stake
in all of this.
It’s not uncommon
to see such a prairie-headed analogy
encompassing the flight of the larcenous
concord penguin, be the bird yella or gold,
kite-running or otherwise.
Whether or not we align ourselves
to this illustrious ancient practice
has little to do with our blood sugar content,
though many shallow-ended participants
profess prediabetic plight.
it’s truly a marigold.
But you know what?
It’s this very kind of
that I’ve been meaning to avoid here,
amongst all the sordid
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.