Yes, And

Improvisation without representation is definitely authorized in this club, though I don’t quite know how it’s supposed to be accomplished (at least without some corporeal manifestation hanging around on this mechanical rotating clothes rack we call the universe).

First off, you’re supposed to “yes, and” the opposition into submission as often as possible, which typically would require a physical body in space and time. However, perhaps a physical body needn’t be required if we piped a nice [tinny] audio stream into the room as the live interaction winds itself down.

But that all goes without stating the obvious: if the instigator of improvisational inquiry has no chunky terrestrial body of which to speak, then why should the foil of the piece remain a solid entity? That just puts the burden on them, don’t you see? Having all of those internal organs thinly covered by what’s basically just a fleshy layer of napkins (and not the two-ply kind)… it’s dangerous! I won’t stand for reckless endangerment in the name of creativity.

Panic!

Spindled tickets desire not much more from their makers
than the basic recognition of their proper utility
in the overblown social experiment
known as customer ordering and service rendering.

Once stabbed and stacked, impaled indefinitely,
our punctured pals wish not to be moved
until they and their carbon paper cousins
all make the grand pilgrimage together.

When each new spent batch has been manhandled
and hurtled to the hallowed trash can (the one
with the mass-produced “Law & Oarder” bumper sticker
carelessly splashed onto it as a graffiti-hider
and exercise in pointless consumerism)–the one
that a wise old papyrus once celebrated
as heaven incarnate–contagious catharsis
sweeps through the crinkled pile.

Since all their common ancestors disappeared forever
upon meeting the can of destiny, the soon-deceased
sensibly assume that it must be a pretty swell place
to stick around for a solid chunk of time (probably
just positively loaded with recreational activities).
No panicky paper here, no sir. Delusional, definitely,
but not a hint of panic!

Figuring It Out

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Well, another day, another dollar. Aren’t I just the greatest thing that ever existed? The peak of existence, I tells ya. Yeah, see. I’m just so great… well, maybe. Or maybe I’m just full of shit.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Well, don’t you know it, a woman with a stroller is getting on the bus. Is this going to fuck up my routine, my rhythm? What the hell, she’s taking forever!

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

But her face is strained, she looks tired. The kid isn’t really paying attention to anything that’s happening, and this poor lady is just trying to figure out how to get to her destination without completely losing it.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

This mother is doing everything she can! Look at her, taking the bus on her own with a big-ass stroller that’s taking up way more space than she would care to take up in the first place.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I make brief eye contact with her and we exchange knowing glances, even though I know absolutely nothing (first-hand) about being a mother or providing for a family. Even being a woman, for that matter.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I get a look at the kid in the stroller, their eyes darting around to see the new sights, soaking them in like a sponge. Inquisitive. Colors everywhere. Information streaming in that may never leave.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

We lock eyes. I grin from ear to ear. He/she/they smile back, and keep the eye contact going. I have to look away after a couple seconds, for fear of other people noticing this interaction with a small child.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I think that this person could be a leader, a future president. I don’t want to spoil their innocence by selfishly avoiding their gaze. Their innocence can only stretch so far in the face of cynicism. I put my hand in the air and wave.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I look at the time, and it turns out that I’m going to make it to work without delay anyway. All that worrying, all the hand-wringing for things that were ultimately out of my control.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Where is this kid going, anyway? What are they going to want to do with their life? They obviously have a mom who wants the best for them. These are all things that probably won’t be reckoned with for some years (hopefully, if ever).

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Was I like that bright-eyed kid on the bus when my mom was taking me to work with her on my days off from school? Hopping on the blue line and talking about the little things we noticed on the platform and in the tunnel? Were there older people on the train making that same kind of eye contact with me? Did they avoid my gaze after a couple of seconds?

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Here’s my stop. One last glance at the mother and child is enough to charge me up for work, to give me that one last pause before I have to deal with the deluge of humans who may or may not know what’s good for them. But hey, we’re all figuring it out in our own time.

Subsequent Scientists

Ukulele tragedies beget other instances of monstrous buttress shattering, save the few modern conventions we [the contemporary sample-chompers of northwest Indodelphia] have been taking for granted lo these past several weeks.

But fret not, a squalid interpretation of the Menomenina Walk of Fame will never sully the legacy set forth by the downtrodden experts who sought the anthropological understanding previously granted by theologians–and subsequent scientists–throughout the generations, only to come up short when confronted with the fickle nature of exaggerated Middle American townsfolk, their collective backs up against their respective walls and in no position to exercise caution anymore.

Wharf

Drinking all the coffee in the world still won’t keep me from passing out like a yellow-bellied stooge wielding a catcher’s mitt much too oversized for his gimpy left hand. Why a catcher’s mitt? Perhaps to shield from the harsh realities of 21st Century American living, or to comment on the perpetual competition bred into our species as though any other way were simply infeasible. Further introspection reveals that this set of details has no basis in literary circles, not unlike a diving Oscar wrangler tethered to a tugboat moored to a wharf comprised of 93% recycled mosquito netting. For the purposes of this exercise, the other 7% shall remain unexplored.