Smoke and Mirrors

Troubled psychiatrists
around the world
have increasingly turned to iodine
for lack of anything better to recommend.

This simple palliative
sure has brightened the lives
of countless patients, whether or not
they’re actually doing anything
for their brain chemistries.

Rather than causing a stir
by playing the tired smoke and mirrors
game of “Is This a Placebo or Not?”,
doctors everywhere are prescribing Vitamin I,
that heaviest of stable halogens.

Its deep violet hue promotes a sense of mystery
in 74% of test patients, creating
more of a positive psychological effect
than any old placebo ever could.

To and Fro

Suppose you start stammering
at these shimmering jewels
on your nightstand, as though
you’ve established some
sort of language connection
in the realm of Greater Jewelese.

You do innately understand
that jewels possess no mental capacities,
but that seems only to fuel your curiosity
as you divulge your deepest secrets
to their faceted surfaces

(eg. the state
of your psyche, regardless of stymying
ethics preventing your profits, etc.).

It beats talking to a therapist,
you tell yourself
as you realize
that a counselor would only cost
a fraction of what your precious stones
just ran you at the jeweler’s stand

(and then it dawns on you
that you never left home this morning,
and you’ve been hallucinating
those jewels all this time).

You take the opportunity to sit up in bed,
wishing
that you could at least have some kind of
shiny bauble
to stare at

(cursing
the day that you broke your bedroom window
while throwing your weight
to and fro,
resulting in a cardboard and
duct-taped mess).

———-

First draft posted to WHARVED in 2014

All of a Sudden

He’s resurrected!
it’s truly a marigold.
But you know what?
It’s this very kind of
garden-variety entendre
that I’ve been meaning to avoid here,
amongst all the sordid
ne’er-do-well activity
that seems to define our times
all of a sudden.

Wasn’t integrity of character
ever something to strive toward?
Maybe not in this system of
checks [cashed] and balances [slashed].

Though perhaps I’m as guilty
as any other layabout milquetoast out there,
lounging around the house
sipping my pink lemonade martinis
(my live-in mixologist’s proprietary recipe)
and grousing like one of my commoner counterparts.

Bug Nuts

Today marks the first [and very overdue] public eulogy for Bug Nuts Bogdanovich, our champion in countless conspiracies to take over the world at large.

His first name was actually Larry (Lawrence Milton), but nobody bothered to call him that once he’d begun his studies in undergrad. You see, he was constantly running around from place to place, appearing to be perpetually late for an appointment, while in reality he was always early. His main concern was to make sure that he didn’t get distracted along the way.

It’s a sad sight when a person who’s perpetually early is always rushing around in addition to that particular quirk. They can’t stop to smell the roses or anything. They’re just frenetic, losing small pieces of their humanity along the way, as achievement after achievement just whizzes by, a parade of accolades that really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. I see it as his way of compensating for validations that he may not have received earlier in life. Or perhaps he’d gotten too much recognition and it developed a pattern of addictive behavior to continue seeking that high.

Who knows… he never let anyone into his inner life [enough] to see what really made him tick, so it’s all conjecture now. What his cohorts and loved ones do know is just how much work he took on all the time. People were naturally drawn to him, even though he kept everyone at arm’s length. That’s precisely what gave him an alluring aura. “If only he would take the time to get to know us better, maybe we could see what kind of a person he truly is! As it stands, he could be a really nice guy, a serial killer, both, neither… frustrating.”

The moniker “Bug Nuts” stemmed from the one time he actually let his hair down (metaphorically–he would never allow himself to get bogged down in matters of extreme grooming, it would be such a waste of time in his eyes). He went to his dearest friend Beatrice’s little birthday gathering for a couple hours, actually imbibing spirits and taking down his defenses for once. If there had been more people gathered there at that time, he more than likely would have withdrawn into his introvert’s shell and waited it out while occasionally making pained eye contact with Bea.

But since he did feel comfortable enough to be more of himself around these people (he got a “Goldilocks Zone” vibe off of them), he found himself embroiled in an entertaining conversation about insects. He fancied himself an amateur entomologist (among his other passions), and he was really getting fired up about dung beetles of all species. Bea, having witnessed several minutes of unbroken bug talk, exclaimed “hey wow, look at Bug Nuts Bogdanovich over here!”, and the rest is history.

I don’t claim to have known this man very well at all, but from the few fleeting moments we spent with one another, I felt it was my duty and privilege to give him a respectable send-off into the great blue yonder with a laugh or two.

So here’s to you, Mr. Bogdanovich. Beetles love you more than you will know. Whoa whoa whoa.

Consideration

I have come to more thoroughly understand
being a man in the context of the great
regret machinations of our time
[a sensation not unlike finishing
the stinking shawarma you left out
that one time then decided to eat
because your fatigue caused a lack of interest
in unwritten expiration date consideration],
and have chosen to fish away my days
in lakes, rivers, ponds and streams, where

you absorb
the skeletons all around you,

croon
to the bluegills
while they inspect your lure

[the sun
grinning at your little boat],

your red
ears naturally aglow.

Water
striders dot the scene,
checking for proper surface tension
(it’s like they don’t know about physics
and the evolution that specifically adapted them
to traveling in a manner that will never not be useful
in our particular iteration of the universe).

Magnum Opus

Well, seeing as I dumped the chicken wire for some crumb pastries, you can understand why my rumbling tum-tum began composing a symphony of sorts (an “ode to shortcrust” or some such), bewildering all sentient beings within a 50-foot radius.

Once I’d managed to trudge my way to the dreaded (oft-forgotten) lion cage, I immediately began questioning why I got rid of that infernal chicken wire in the first place. Clearly these lions would have had a perfectly good use for it (as far as I could see). In attempting to save face, I apologized to the few lions I saw. They didn’t know why I was apologizing. I began to explain the whole chicken wire predicament to them, but decided against insinuating that something designed for puny domestic fowl would be suitable for the kings of the jungle. Dejected, I tossed them my crumb pastries and walked away, my stomach continuing its magnum opus unopposed.