The High Road

An intricate series of hoofprints
on the stale lithograph
we’ve come to call home
has bled insignificantly–
but not unnoticeably.

Yes, that’s correct. Hoofprints
have bled just enough
for this observer to comment.

Now, I’m aware that there are countless crackpots
who espouse the virtues of anti-vaxxers and birthers,
and this would be right up their alley.
However, I choose to take the high road.

A wise individual once told me
that the low road is the slipperiest,
because the maintenance people need to mop
more often than on the high one

(they have the kind of smelly chemical
floor cleaner that doesn’t dry as quickly
(and they’re always out of wet floor signs)).

Big Whoop

A man named Garvey sedated me once, though the whole outcome could have been avoided. We’d begun feuding the week prior, a trivial dispute over the price of corn muffin mix. Stupid, right? Well, this Garvey feller sure didn’t think so. And it just so happened that his friendly neighborhood drug dealer unloaded a ton of vicodin on him that week, so he was bound to sedate me whether or not we disagreed on anything. I may live to regret having anything to do with that man, but life is a rich tapestry that deserves its fair share of intrigue.

His sister, Nancy, had her own agenda when it came to handling the G-Man. Having lived with him a majority of her life, she’d developed an ingenious coping mechanism for dealing with his ridiculous foibles. Any time he began ranting about the military industrial complex, the go-to strategy would be to bring up the time he’d run into Steve Harvey while jogging on the riverfront–near the Wrigley Building. That would immediately stop his conspiratorial theorizing and send him spiraling through all five stages of the celebrity run-in phenomenon. Turns out Garvey is this joker’s last name. First name: Steve.

Originally, Nancy had only been prepared to shift her brother’s mania away from excessive government spending, but she eventually developed a secondary strategy out of necessity. After letting Steve go on about the Garvey/Harvey thing for a couple minutes, she’s gotten quite skilled at channeling his enthusiasm into a creative jag. Now–since Garvey prefers to make ink drawings, Nancy has set up a corner in her apartment designed solely for her brother to zen out after he gets a little too worked up about the 10-second exchange that he and Steve Harvey’d had. The passion lends itself to the page as he jots up a storm. He doesn’t want to burden himself with any extra material possessions, so he leaves all his creations at Nancy’s place. Nancy has turned a tidy profit from his efforts, since Steve-o gets worked up quite often. It’s reached the point where Nancy could take a year-long hiatus from waitressing and not feel pinched for a minute of it.

So yeah, I let Garvey sedate me. Big whoop. I was hoping he’d feel bad about it and draw me a nice picture that could finance a backpacking trip through the Black Forest.

Highly Questionable

Sidling in,
repping their mostly-appointed
(somewhat trifling) hunting knife
bent at just the right juncture
for the victim’s own reckoning
with justice,

the unwell bowie knife salesman
had just a few more destinations
on the booze cruise they’d set out upon
for the sake of at least trying to relocate
that former spark once unquestioned
[but now highly questionable].

Credibility

The Cro-Magnon magnate
of sponge cake diversity
reared his ugly head last night,
just as I’d exited the bath.

I said “begone, damn caveman!
Get out of this place!”
The tremors in my voice
betrayed my cool exterior.

Wearing a towel at the time,
I had no use for losing any more
credibility.

He leapt once, stood still–
leapt again and planted himself;
scratched the small of his back.

After some minutes of this,
he began looking around as though
he’d never seen the place before
(even though he’d clearly been there
for some minutes).

What a nut,
I couldn’t help but think to myself.

Privy

The entrance to the dragon’s putty stash
still remains more elusive
than the eye can even behold,
beyond the fine sheen of the monkey cages
and dull luster of the eccentric
bayonet-wielding sailor whose ship washed
ashore fifty years ago.

We never heard from him again.
Most folks say he died forty-seven years ago–
a rumor started by a since-defamed
public soothsayer–but those once closest
to him claim he’s still there to this day,
perpetually working his way inland,
bayonet in hand,
determined to gaze upon the epic treasure trove.

Nobody knows where the fabled dragon came from
or where it developed its affinity
for putty and putty-related trinkets, but
there’s also no real confirmation
of its actual existence. As a matter of fact,
I think I overheard once that the sailor
made up the entire dragon story in order to justify
the protracted remainder of his marooned life.

I don’t know how the person I was eavesdropping on
could possibly be privy to that knowledge, but…

——

First draft posted on 12/25/11,
originally entitled #80

(Nothing More, Nothing Less)

Let’s take a look at the specials, shall we? Ah yes, the infamous Reuben Dip! Once heralded as Middle America’s foremost club dance from 1963, a clever chef has converted it into an open-faced sandwich comprised of corned beef, Swiss, kraut——you bloody well know what comes on a Reuben. The kraut does have a tough time sticking around, which means that the Swiss is really pulling double time to blanket all of its unruly counterparts for the purposes of a successful thousand island dip (and, of course, more than just one dip, because what kind of sandwich would that be, falling apart after just one dip!?). All of this just goes to prove that you really can’t have an idea too grand to be transposed from the clear blue sky, as long as you believe in the work you’re doing. Once upon a time I——of all people——caught myself poo-pooing the idea of representing a pinto bean omelette cooking on the planks of a cruise ship’s bow as it headed to the Galapagos for some tortoise observation (nothing more, nothing less), and for what? A tedious bit of self—censorship for no purpose other than suppression of a creative pang? No thank you, Mr. Governor (if that is your real name). So I wrote it all out, the fateful egg mix congealing to form a canary semicircle of legume-y goodness and taking on life’s subtler philosophical quandaries with a bit of a sense of humor. I called it Hull of Beans, and it was universally panned.

Name-Dropping

The kids are doing their kidly things again today, just the way they always do (until their hormones start flaring and they become walking orbs of self-pity just wallowing in their existential dross for as long as would be necessary for humans working on that whole enlightenment bit while also losing faith in the authorities once-espoused as the be-all end-all for retrograde composition of exquisite fanfare technology (though very little else when you actually think about it for longer than 10-15 seconds at a time)). Our lord and savior once said “you know, when it comes right down to it, I’m the one who created everything, so you can just go ahead and sell that model train collection, Deborah.” I don’t know who Deborah is in this particular verse, to be honest, but the statement still carries plenty of weight even if you don’t engage in any specific name-dropping activities.