[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.

Flesh and Blood

Mannequin rest is a sign of weakness
and cheap plastic.
My stock at the Sears downtown
believes that since they look human,
they should receive pay and benefits
like my flesh and blood employees.

I’m so tired of emphasizing
to these hollow Betties and Bernies
that they were designed, built and purchased
for the sole purpose of displaying garments.
I’m not the one to blame
for their poor quality of life.

Even if their plight was real
or at all justifiable,
how am I supposed to provide
services for company property?
I’m just a shift manager!

I’ve tided them over for now
by letting them form an in-store mannequin union
in the basement (Thursday and Saturday nights
from 7 to 9), but until they’re legitimate,
I’m not breathing a word of this to the higher-ups.

———-
Originally published as part of inaugural post (12/20/2010)
First titled “Swivel Rights”

(Nothing More, Nothing Less)

Let’s take a look at the specials, shall we? Ah yes, the infamous Reuben Dip! Once heralded as Middle America’s foremost club dance from 1963, a clever chef has converted it into an open-faced sandwich comprised of corned beef, Swiss, kraut——you bloody well know what comes on a Reuben. The kraut does have a tough time sticking around, which means that the Swiss is really pulling double time to blanket all of its unruly counterparts for the purposes of a successful thousand island dip (and, of course, more than just one dip, because what kind of sandwich would that be, falling apart after just one dip!?). All of this just goes to prove that you really can’t have an idea too grand to be transposed from the clear blue sky, as long as you believe in the work you’re doing. Once upon a time I——of all people——caught myself poo-pooing the idea of representing a pinto bean omelette cooking on the planks of a cruise ship’s bow as it headed to the Galapagos for some tortoise observation (nothing more, nothing less), and for what? A tedious bit of self—censorship for no purpose other than suppression of a creative pang? No thank you, Mr. Governor (if that is your real name). So I wrote it all out, the fateful egg mix congealing to form a canary semicircle of legume-y goodness and taking on life’s subtler philosophical quandaries with a bit of a sense of humor. I called it Hull of Beans, and it was universally panned.

Led to Believe

The bioluminescent bloomenary, a spectacular specimen just discovered in a subterranean cave beneath the land formerly known as Entrenchment Village—since abandoned for Encroachment Peak—is somewhat smooth to stand so tall in such a way, Agnes. We sure have come a long way since the aftermath of those Cleveland fires, and we couldn’t have done it without the chimney sweep frontier project—I believe that with all my heart (and a great majority of my soul, to boot). I sure hope we have the common sense and decency to look each other in the eyes before we swallow our pride, however much or little that may be.

A temper for granted on the northwest side of the pilgrim monitor is just a symptom of the intrinsic capacity for glue-footed rafter people, or so I’ve been led to believe.

Roses

The ever-present Rumpelstiltskin type of orangeade
seems to have no connection to the ingenuity
of a person concerned with a corrupt bargain
and everything to do with a personal vendetta
to be meted out over the course of several decades,
if not millennia.

Such a skip in discourse may only lead some people
to believe of its malintent, but truly
there is nothing wrong with such a change in scale.
How else are we to judge our actions
against the actions of others in present or past?
How else are we to compare ourselves
to the species who specialize in longevity?
The trees out there, the mollusks, the fungi,
all of them. We’re just individual pinpricks
in their rearview mirrors, and it would take a miracle
for us to cause more than just a blip
on their collective radar screens.
How do you like those terrible mixed metaphors?
Yeah, it’s getting me pretty hot too, come to think of it.

Who needs any kind of inspiration anymore anyway?
It would seem as though folks
mainly just seek to consume
pleasant media at a reasonable price,
and anything falling outside of that window
must be judged much more critically,
since fewer people have sought it out.
And the ones who go out of their way to discover
such outlets must therefore–in their own minds–
be superior beings, leading to tirades
about their keen eyes and intellects
while we sit there right next to them
with a thumb up our ass, hoping only
to take that thumb and plug up their infernal nostrils.

“What is that intoxicating aroma? Roses?”

“No, genius, it’s my shit-covered finger. Why don’t you go off somewhere and have a time of it while you prank a local youth?”

“Why, you insubordinating little trolley-hopper, I’ll have you know that I earned this domineering nature through sheer pluck and grit. Also, possibly through piss and vinegar. Over the course of my years, I haven’t been able to differentiate the two, though you might say I’m a bit of a glutton for the cinema. Wait, what kind of critic am I? Shit, I forgot. A jack of all trades such as myself can only be concerned with where the next paycheck’s coming from.”

Tempered — Pre-Primaries, 2016

Tempered by the blunt end
of a stainless steak knife,
throttled by a lack of anything
interesting to say–

say, how’s that weather?

Primary’s coming up,
don’t trust any of those clowns;
the whole system’s downright screwy anyway.
Can’t get behind those corporations
parading around as individuals,
CEOs making their dirty millions.

Can’t keep up this smalltalk,
I just want to scream
unintelligibly
at those crows hopping
over there. Who told them
they could have fun
while I’m around?

I can’t stand it
when others enjoy themselves,
especially animals. I can’t
tell them off
like I can a human, not that
I make it my business
to harass people.
The closest I’d ever get
would be a stoic monologue
about the nature of the universe
and its tendency to dissolve
into nothingness
without a moment’s notice.

I can make many a soul
uneasy
with that shrapnel language,
if you can believe it.