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.

Won’t Be Around

It’s not immediately clear as to why we should express gratitude for these minuscule things we take for granted every day,

but certain wise people–time and again–have said that inner peace is really just gratitude wrapped up in some nondenominational bunting and tossed over the side of a pontoon while you’re fishing in the middle of Lake Superior in the middle of the longest day of Summer,

where somehow you find one lonesome chunk of ice inexplicably adrift as though it could have been placed there for the purpose of setting up a convenient visual aid for a climate change documentary.

Little Bergamot–that’s what we’re calling our frozen hero du jour–simply minds their own business out there, doing their best not to knock into anybody, when out of the blue someone inconsiderate–such as yourself, perhaps–putzes their way over and just so happens to chuck that bunting, smacking ol’ Bergie right in their weak little slush-filled belly,

sending our hapless pilgrim to re-integrate with its watery cousins
much quicker than otherwise established through melting rates
extolled by scientists the world around as
“the purest definition of why humans shouldn’t underestimate
the contributions made to global ecology
through strict, unbiased observation of this universe around us.”

Or some version of that sanctimonious diatribal crap; Bergie won’t be around to hear it anyway.

Again

A younger tree stands pert and upright
against the setting sun
on an April afternoon of little consequence–

to anyone other than perhaps
the octahedral chainsmokers out there, but that’s
a conversation for another time and place, m’friend.

The bud-tipped nerve endings are raw,
eager for a consistent warmth to figure itself out.

The trees all know
what they’ve gotten themselves into these days,
after noticing all the human affectations
popping up around them

again.

The existential rigamarole isn’t lost on them,
believe me. They know
that we only keep them around
for their oxygen supply, isn’t that obvious?

If we could find a cheaper or more efficient way
to convert a global supply of carbon dioxide
into breathable oxygen,
we would drop everything
and jettison all those woody worriers
into space, where they could become
petrified ornaments, immaculate baubles
showcased in an ever-expanding curio cabinet.

The details on such a plan
have never been made clear, since
it’s likely never to happen.
Lucky bastard trees.
You too, shrubs. I’m watching you.