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.
Petrification process, present yourself!
Not yet, eh? Why not?
Not talking, eh? Stubborn one, aren’t we?
Well, if you won’t talk, then I’ll just have to be the one to break the ice.
Once upon a time, a fly buzzed around from place to place. Its favorite place to land was upon the top spike of a stegosaurus’ back. Didn’t matter which particular specimen, as long as the spike was at the highest point of the animal.
It may seem odd that I’m mentioning a fly’s perching preference, but by the time I’m done explaining why, you will have–at the very least–a beginner’s understanding as to how futile our existence proves to be over the course of time.
I have now finished my explanation, in case you weren’t aware.
Aw, don’t get all bent out of shape,
Mr. Piece of Paper Man.
I didn’t mean to wrinkle you, honest!
Jeez, quit looking up at me
with that blank expression,
it’s killing me! Death
by a million paper cuts
is to be my fate? I shall instead
jump into an ocean of bees, so
I may avoid such a tedious
and painful end.
I love the bees,
the bees are my friends
now and forever (or at least
until one of our species goes extinct,
which could be any minute now).
They welcome me with open wings
and usher me to their queen,
bragging about the human
they just bagged–at least,
that’s what their elated buzzing
sounds like to me, but I’m no expert
in hive linguistics.
Stu has an irreverent tone to him today. Was it the pineapple liqueur we plied him with before the road trip to Tijuana? I guess it could have started there, but the tequila probably sealed the deal. Whatever the cause, this man certainly doesn’t know the meaning of off-switch. He’s off, don’t get me wrong there. I suppose the main discrepancy lies in his knowledge of what it means to be “on.” He has his own notions, which all point toward an absence of critical thought and an inherent acceptance of the status quo, which definitely do not endear him to the youths of today. And after all, who pulls the strings around here? There are two answers:
The financial benefactor who supplies the dollars and necessitates prudence through their old-world viewpoint that relies on fear-based tactics
The youthful tastemaker who takes it upon him/herself to challenge whatever position may have formed over the past quarter-century and invent a hybrid form of expression that (over the subsequent quarter-century) pervades all social conventions and leads to the same cycle of adherence as with what had been previously-established–ironic, yes? This process will be repeated ad infinitum until either (A) the species evolves and outgrows such petty matters, or (B) we all die horrific, gruesome deaths at our own hands.
No matter what transpires, it’s important to remember that, to our tragic figure Stu, everything is relative, and there’s no point in making any more friends if it’ll just lead to pointless poisonings.
Let me impart some wisdom here, o merciful captors of the highest order. Considering that you’ve let me flap my gums unabated, I probably don’t need to request your permission, but I do like to exercise my manners from time to time. Anywho, brown nosing won’t get me anywhere anyway.
Instill the stilt mentality, walk higher than most without extensions and greet the lovely beings who used to be just out of reach. Examples include, but are not limited to: squirrels, crows, sparrows, cardinals, pigeons, and the occasional parakeet. On one particular occasion you may think you’ve run across a raccoon, but after fifteen minutes of observing how it hasn’t moved one iota the entire time, you come to the conclusion that this minuscule member of the bear family is just an elaborate trick of light.
Your stilts are strong, able to withstand a wide range of climatic changes until deep Winter sets in. These stilts–and most other stilts out there–do not fare well in the bitter frost snap you might find as a local of Chicago or Fargo or St. Paul in those early months. Do not–let me insist–do not inhabit such weather on stilts–at least this particular model–or your quality of life will rapidly diminish, possibly ending in personal extinction.
There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to embody a certain ideal for height consciousness in the frigid playground, but beware! Each second exposed to the short days’ elements removes three seconds from the potential remainder of your life. Always ensure that you are carrying a stopwatch with you.
Do not trust my words. Do not trust a single thing I’ve said to date.
Is this all for naught?
I really wish I could use my arms.
Well, as far as that’s concerned, Charlene kicked the bucket about eight years ago, givin’ birth to our youngest of seven young’uns. I named him Squiggy; that’s probably what she would have named him. She created a fashion empire, one clothing line for every chillun we sired; left behind quite a fortune with the Brandon, Stephen, Kalen, Armbruster, Eddie and Sherry labels. Squiggy’s just starting to realize that he has no clothes named after him, so he’s started making a point of wearing burlap sacks every day. He just wants to piss off his fashionista siblings. They don’t much like it, but they’re a bunch of snobs now anyway, with that fancy Hollywood upbringing. I never much cared for that methodology, and my ditch-digging career is just about all that keeps me sane these days.
I figure nothing’s bringing Charlene back, and she’d still be here spoiling them kids–if it weren’t for Squiggy’s breach birth. I loved her to death, never gonna remarry. I figure I’ll just get a few more dogs and move on with my life. So far I have Scruffy, Tipper, George and Sheila. They aren’t allowed to come into the house because of those damn kids. My best friends and I spend most of our time out there digging ditches. Squiggy’s going to take up the family profession soon, just like his ol’ dad, dad’s dad, dad’s dad’s dad, etc. If I were a literate man, I’d come up with some clever autobiography–“Life’s a Ditch” or some sort.
Ignoring me is always a sound strategy, I’ve found–if you’re an adult chimpanzee, that is. The less taken with me you happen to be, the more likely I won’t be mauled to death. If I end up not being extinguished by senseless violence, I can only imagine the possibilities for passing the time until a natural expiration occurs. I could hang glide over the Grand Canyon, climb George Washington’s nose, swim to the Statue of Liberty or really just do anything I want, whether or not it involves an American landmark. Many people would refer to such a string of accomplishments as a bucket list; I prefer to think of it as a superfluous sequence of events that denotes my extreme privilege in this world.