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.

Family First

Gee willikers, Ebony! I sure as sugar won’t be able to make it out to that party tonight. Look–believe me–it’s not that I don’t want to. You know that! It’s just that I have so much cleaning up to do around my place. I’ve been putting it off for ages, and now my roommate’s dad is going to be in town for a few days–spur of the moment thing as usual–and he’d rather stay with us than go to a hotel because he wants to be closer to his son. I mean, I get it, they have a very strong relationship. I admire that dynamic, but of course also resent it at the present. Why do I have to be the one to pretty up our sty before he gets here? Just because I made 90% of the mess doesn’t mean I should be cleaning a full 100% of the space. How is that fair? The displaced 10% probably represents another 40 minutes of cleaning that I’m going to have to do instead of living it up with you! Trust me, I’ve tried getting around this, but there’s just no possible alternative. The next time your brother’s having a going-away shindig before shipping out to do a tour of duty in a war-torn expanse of the Middle Eastern desert, I am SO there.

Bless this Mess – 04:58GMT

Bless this mess or any mess of equal or lesser value. This coupon may be redeemed at any place where futons are sold. Offer only valid in states south of Minnesota—not including Maryland—and void in any dwellings containing mole people. Individual outlets reserve the right to refuse service to beatniks, as liberties may come unhinged at any second. Consult a pediatrician to confirm the likelihood of contracting Goosebump Barrier Syndrome (GBS), a rare but likely inheritable (especially in your case) disorder caused by spirited debates with overqualified custodians during their smoke/coffee breaks. Additional information may be obtained by trekking across any number of arid climates, though traditional desert climes are highly recommended in this circumstance.

I could have made a good spokesman, eh?
All right, enough is enough. Can I use my arms now?

Hello?

Oi vey.

Stumble

Indelible delicacies span the desert, as odd as it may seem to the never-ending line of gawkers establishing covenants left and right of that played-out Manson-Nixon phenomenon all you kids seem to take for granted these days. But never you mind such a clustered old sight, it won’t tuck you in at night even if you begged for a thousand years. But why would you insist on that kind of security? What are you, seven years old? The desert holds not much more than the limited flora and fauna you’ve come to admire (once the childish fantasies of fecund fields have worn off), unless you’re keen on uncovering the mystical rarities romanticized by travelers who’ve uncovered a sacred place amongst the oblivion any sensible person would surely avoid–if given the chance. That’s why I always say: drop those thoughtful suckers in the middle of the Mojave and watch them stumble upon God.

XCVII

Made to nobody’s specifications: one pair of britches
sewn by the CFO of a Fortune 500 company
while journeying through the Kalahari via camel
and drinking nothing but orzo for an entire weekend.

There is no price set for this garment,
The maker creates pieces during celebratory times
and gauges interest for them at animal charity galas.

Nobody at the Save the Moose Fund
could fit into these particular trousers, but
The Nerds for Birds Guild will have 435 guests
at their next function, and so many of them
have the skinny sandpiper legs this officer had in mind
during that trek under the maddening desert sun.

XCVI

Jarvis the penguin can fly
like a condor in his dreams—
though he’s never seen one—
and can’t separate that fantasy
from waking life, never once having
felt the heat of the Mojave.
His vaunted perspective
Is ludicrous to all the others
since his partner in crime
was eaten by a sea lion
going about its business
on an otherwise rather forgettable
St. Patrick’s Day.