Aye]

This is a bit of a cottage industry
we’re dealing with here yet,
so I can’t be arsed
to get off my keister
and support this unproven mission statement
without some kind of connection
to the local movers and shakers.

I’ll be blunt. Pudding supplies
have run rather short, I’m afraid.
I’ve simply no use for a companywide pudding shortage–
think of the optics.

We’re sitting at a juncture
crucial to the reckoning
of our very civility as we know it.
If I’m to be contracted for my time,
I must receive the personal assurance
that the pudding supply will be bolstered
at the beginning of each working week–
or I walk.

I’m not doing this to be the unfair guy here.
I’ve seen these pudding shortages happen in the past
[oh, about four or five times, aye].

Don’t you ever find it odd
that the companies with the most influential
leaders and donors are never asking their competitors
for their gamgams’ closely-held secret recipes?
We need to get there, people.

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.

Cakemakers

Gateway drugs and experiences have no bearing on our ralphymeters today or any other day (as far as we know), though I’m going to need you to disengage in trivial pursuits for long enough get a read on just why it is that cakemakers hold no stations below law-enforcement.

The answer is easy enough to reach, you simply need to focus your attentions where they can really do some investigative good.

All right, I’ll have to just tell you then, if that’s going to be your attitude.

When you strip it all bare, the contemporary American cakemaker is commonly behooved to fabricate goods for the purpose of selling them at the market. Law-enforcers make it their business to interrupt people’s activities and impose limitations upon them, resulting in a streak of pride and occasional lawlessness. Paid to uphold the law, they often embody the viewpoint that certain laws don’t apply to them, sometimes culminating in displays of pseudo-authority that end up with dead people on their hands (or at least as a result of their handiwork).

Cakemakers just have to crack a few eggs.

Ramshackle Paradise

Onset guerrilla warfare builds a stun gun for us all to accept the northern aggression as nothing more than an attempt to belittle the profession of soothsaying. But very little can persuade the sanctimonious union soldiers to just stand in line with a musket and a lollipop, each one hoping they’ll be the lucky one-and-only who gets an extra-long exposure in the makeshift photography tent.

Meanwhile, in the ramshackle paradise of our own inclusiveness:

Enraged and otherwise narrower than an encumbered and intuitive giraffe whisperer, Ralph decided that now would be the time to really just go for the gusto. “I mean, come on. I get so many chances to stand up for myself, but what do I do? Settle for omnipresence like a jerk. Man, I would kill to have omnipotence! Whatever, I’d probably just screw it up anyway. I mean, I seem to have this innate method for sensing how people around me are reacting at virtually all times, but I can’t for the life of me seem to get with the capitalist program and ascribe a monetary value to that skill. Chalk it up to laziness, or perhaps genuine concern coupled with an unwillingness to contribute to our species’ unfolding downfall. Jeez, I need a lollipop.”

Frontier

A healthy schnitzelfritz
is all we would need
for a cut-rate Dependence Day
on the Frontier of Many Puddings.

Ever since the rolling scabies epidemic
took its time crossing the Ganges,
twelve men have made it their business
to carve necklaces from oak stumps
as a way of reconnecting
with their wood nymph sides
while honing their dedication
to sculptural accessorizing.

After all those mentions of scriptural evangelizing, our Maker’s Dozen–as they like to call themselves–made the executive decision to secularize the whole process and peddle the wares of their ingenuity for a tidy profit (at least, wherever flea markets intersect with local art exhibitions).

One mustn’t mistake this ingenuity
for dogmatic commitment to peculiar crafting,
as these enterprising young monks
would be the first to tell you.
Frankly, these fellows have
a bit of a competitive streak in them
that has yet to be beaten out
by assumptive authoritarians,
and a near-endless supply
of stump-grade dynamite
only served to seal the deal.

Roses

The ever-present Rumpelstiltskin type of orangeade
seems to have no connection to the ingenuity
of a person concerned with a corrupt bargain
and everything to do with a personal vendetta
to be meted out over the course of several decades,
if not millennia.

Such a skip in discourse may only lead some people
to believe of its malintent, but truly
there is nothing wrong with such a change in scale.
How else are we to judge our actions
against the actions of others in present or past?
How else are we to compare ourselves
to the species who specialize in longevity?
The trees out there, the mollusks, the fungi,
all of them. We’re just individual pinpricks
in their rearview mirrors, and it would take a miracle
for us to cause more than just a blip
on their collective radar screens.
How do you like those terrible mixed metaphors?
Yeah, it’s getting me pretty hot too, come to think of it.

Who needs any kind of inspiration anymore anyway?
It would seem as though folks
mainly just seek to consume
pleasant media at a reasonable price,
and anything falling outside of that window
must be judged much more critically,
since fewer people have sought it out.
And the ones who go out of their way to discover
such outlets must therefore–in their own minds–
be superior beings, leading to tirades
about their keen eyes and intellects
while we sit there right next to them
with a thumb up our ass, hoping only
to take that thumb and plug up their infernal nostrils.

“What is that intoxicating aroma? Roses?”

“No, genius, it’s my shit-covered finger. Why don’t you go off somewhere and have a time of it while you prank a local youth?”

“Why, you insubordinating little trolley-hopper, I’ll have you know that I earned this domineering nature through sheer pluck and grit. Also, possibly through piss and vinegar. Over the course of my years, I haven’t been able to differentiate the two, though you might say I’m a bit of a glutton for the cinema. Wait, what kind of critic am I? Shit, I forgot. A jack of all trades such as myself can only be concerned with where the next paycheck’s coming from.”

Reformation

Emerging catechisms chime
early and indifferent rhymes
to the whinging snicket of gender inequality
as though a period of turpentine turbulence
wouldn’t cost us all an arm and a leg.

Foolish?
Perhaps.

But you never know
when a reformation
will require encouragement
from our stunted brethren,
creative or otherwise,
in need of topical pain relief
and a more liberal flow
of aesthetic proclamations.