Immense Scrutiny: Oh, Okay

What the hell do we even write about anymore?

Why does every single new idea
have this immense scrutiny attached to it–
this, the next in my sequence of work
after this whole COVID- dilemma kicked off.

How would one go about this treacherous task
that I would argue nobody wants to undertake?

Well, the first impression of the situation
would be that you should just get started.

But there are so many previously-made characters
just waiting for me to observe their every move
on the silver screen!!

Nobody calls it the silver screen anymore, hon.

Aw, shut up. You never let me wax aquarium.
I mean antiquarian. Same thing.

It’s obviously a completely different thing.
One involves some weird combination of wax and water,
the other is old timey shit.

Well, I meant the old shit, duh.
Anyway, I can’t wait to just dig into
another drama or comedy
or whatever shit they’re shoveling these days
over at the old network of flix.
And now that I’m standing here
thinking about it,
I can’t stand just being here
without reasonable computer access.

What do you mean,
we’re literally on a computer screen.
We could just walk two inches to the right
and bump into a browser window with let’s see…
oh, not the porn one.
But it looks like that Stephen Hawking movie
was the last thing of repute in his history.

Oh, how was that?

Yeah, not bad. Pretty damn stylized,
but what do you expect from a movie
that’s supposed to undertake the monumental task
of depicting the 20th Century’s most prominent
cosmological luminary
while addressing his ALS?

They covered his whole life?

Nah, just a scrapbook of mostly decent memories
up until the point where his older kids are teenagers
and running around in some Buckingham Palace bullshit.

Oh, okay.

Gregory Poke

A tortoise–let’s call it Gregory Poke–
peeps its head out from inside its shell
in an effort to feel alive,
truly alive, for the first time in weeks
(maybe months).

Gregory doesn’t quite know what to do next.
There are no predators to be seen
for hundreds of yards in every direction. Wait,
there are no predators here. How many times
does Greg have to remind itself of that?

And will it ever get over the affliction
of constantly referring to itself
in the third person? The answer may never arrive,
as this writer can only use 100 words. Howev–

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,
that you could at least have some kind of
shiny bauble
to stare at

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

Not Uncommon

Jemblatrons squeeze through the tetrahedra
as though mall cops have some kind of a stake
in all of this.
It’s not uncommon
to see such a prairie-headed analogy
encompassing the flight of the larcenous
concord penguin, be the bird yella or gold,
kite-running or otherwise.
Whether or not we align ourselves
to this illustrious ancient practice
has little to do with our blood sugar content,
though many shallow-ended participants
profess prediabetic plight.


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,

to the bluegills
while they inspect your lure

[the sun
grinning at your little boat],

your red
ears naturally aglow.

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).

Wink Wink

Don’t allow the accomplishments of the more senior members of the artistic community frighten you into stagnation, young man (i.e. the type of artist who thinks that he’s probably getting a bit older these days [as one would naturally experience while living some kind of existence as we currently know it] but wouldn’t care to complain about it to anybody in his age group, because [after all] we’re all experiencing our own contemporary struggles that leave very little room for any kind of self-actualizing, let alone exploration of forms that connect our consciousnesses to one another in the form of communal expression).

Just continue to do what you’re going to do (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more), and the self-prescribed purpose of your toiling will eventually unveil itself. The purpose may have actually [indubitably] been there from the start, and you (the recipient of a lifetime’s worries and schematics) are only just awakening to the possibility of its interconnectedness and unbounded potential when merged with the human psyche.

Then [and only then] will you uncover the true nature of our fictitious narrative centered around the cultivation of blue cheese cultures (and please don’t ask a tedious question as to why it’s cheese over every other possible culture, we’ve heard them all, trust us).


It’s my unrelenting plan
to escape to the future
at any time now, to a time
where the ones greeting me
want only to offer the knowledge
and dynamics of their era.

We’re all quite familiar with that little bit of
science fiction by now–the storied
advanced civilization that doesn’t so much mind
a past-person stumbling upon their developments.

Ya see, these folks would require
astute pupils for their lessons
in temporal psychology, so
if an intuitive person
were to find themselves ensconced
in such an environment,
these lovely future guardians
would instinctively root out
the nature of said snoop’s intentions–
not to mention their accent
or parlance of the time
they oh so unwittingly represent.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Drawing composed August, 2019–
rollerball pen and dry erase marker on printer paper