Pinned

Jim Olivo left a note behind for me
many summer camps ago–pinned
to a pine–that reads:

“If you want the recipe for that turkey sandwich from mess hall, you’ll have to pry it from the clutches of none other than Neander The Articulate. Born with almost-exclusively neanderthal blood, his scrawniness prevented him from competing with his peers on a physical level, leaving him alone with his thoughts on a regular basis. Over the years, this ostracized fella developed a peculiarly sharp wit, mainly due to his constant observation of the individuals he would have considered his peers (if they would ever let him). Little by little he started sneaking tiny esoteric quips in edgewise–mainly in passing–that befuddled the muscly alphas and intrigued the blossoming females.”

It goes on like that
for a couple more pages.
I think Jim was working out
some kind of material on me,
because I couldn’t ever find
a turkey sandwich recipe
or a local neanderthal
for the life of me.
Maybe he was talking about
the camp across the lake.

Anyhow

The gratitude of my temporary inmates seems only to ring truer with each passing circumstance. I suppose I may have acquired a skill or two over the years where it pertains to the custodial caretaking that so many in this throwaway culture would prefer to ignore.

It’s not Stockholm Syndrome that these folks have come down with, since I’m not the one responsible for my subjects’ captivity, but it is definitely a similar phenomenon (a guy sure could get used to all the attention, anyhow). My wards do actually receive that kind of no-strings care that the medical insurance industry forgot about as soon as private concerns got their hooks into it (even though their advertising tries to sell a different story).

Perhaps because of this comfort, every single one of our emerging beer-krausening technologies has been behind schedule under my watch. Maybe it was a mistake to combine a halfway house with a chemistry lab. Our three chemists-in-captivity are functioning alcoholics who just use this particular project to get tanked on the job all day–with my tacit blessing, I suppose. Last Thursday, Ernie–the least-tactful of the three–decided to not look both ways before crossing the street on his lunch break (I do give them at least a little time in each week to get out and smell the flowers). Long story short, Ernie got hit by a shipment of cabbages (with a truck attached), survived, and is now suing the city for not putting a stop sign in a 40 MPH zone. As soon as he got back from the hospital, you’d better believe I gave him quite the lecture on roadside awareness!

Heretofore

Of a subtler ilk, this deer wagon
waxes transparent when I lick its foliage
in a counterclockwise fashion.

Intriguing twist: Trick Smith Limited,
world-renowned jackalope dealer, now beckons
[VALUED CUSTOMER] to become an exclusive member
of its carnage-related festivities!*
*Offer not valid in lower Nevada
or the Lesser Antilles.

The topic of pencil shaving trefoils
has popped to the forefront of today’s
peculiar poser posse club meeting,
guaranteeing a spirited debate
unlike any other heretofore witnessed.

Cumin digestion may hurt the back,
particularly when a wily attack dog
headbutts you, unawares, from behind
right after you’ve finished a serving
of your regionally-famous rabbit stew.

——

Originally posted on 10/10/11,
entitled #34

Done with It

I leapt atop a cereal box
then realized
it wouldn’t support my weight–
I sank into the Cap’n Chocula,
lucky to miss scraping my knees
on the crunchy saccharine goodness.

The issue of scale
then presented itself
and I burst forth
from the cardboard capsule
(mysteriously missing
the plastic liner recommended
by the FDA and all those smart folks
protecting our health
and personal liberties), unscathed.

I guess I owe my roommate
a new box of cereal, though
I think I would offer more value
by illustrating to him
the sheer improbability
of spontaneous size-changing
without understanding the principles
behind such a mind-melting scrap
of anecdotal fodder.

Ultimately, the attempt to voice
my impression of the event
would see me chasing my tail,
flapping my jaw until creakiness ensues.
Nope, forget it. I’m just gonna
clean up this mess, get some more
fudgy grain poofs
and be done with it.

Squandered

No frills; we must tend
to the squandered beef on I-94.
Its recent turn to uselessness
in the eye of the discerning omnivore
stands in line behind a factory’s
striking rendition of a human,
chimney stacks puffing away.

No more bandying Comanche warriors
duking it out for second-class status;
Uncle Sam saw to their dissolution
while whispering “you just be good, now.”

Every part of the steer in use
would be the ideal situation here,
though idealism took a flying leap
off George Washington’s nose
when the stone masons weren’t looking.