Chin Up

A piddly little posy of pansies
left the station an hour ago
(off to Cleveland of all places),
running late. All alone,
the colorful collective thinks
to itself, “I should have had
a better breakfast.” A freight train
is no place for a flower
to be lollygagging around, fretting
about its appetite and desperate need
for sun rays, but that’s neither here nor there
at the moment. This bundle has an agenda,
and time is of the essence.

There’s no window in the car,
just that played-out open sliding door (the one
that may have Woody Guthrie’s initials
carved into it, whether by a fanatic,
the legend himself, or
just some schmo with the initials “WG”).

The posy, steeped in darkness, wonders
if it can gather the strength to flit
over to that certain patch of light
(the one there always seems to be),
when a breeze picks it up
and slaps it against the door,
just inches from being jettisoned.

A crash landing
in this stretch of rural Pennsylvania
would almost certainly mean a grisly death
at the hooves of the local Holstein population.
But now is no time to panic. Anxiety
will get you nowhere
in the face of a looming deadline
and quarterly financial report presentation.
Chin up, fair posy. We’re not giving up on you yet.

XCIII

Inside a silver suit of sun rays
perches a cardinal, lean and bright.
Nobody’s busted the window just yet;
there’s plenty of cold air to stream in
once the brick falls into place.
Dent the floorboard where it lands,
but you don’t even bother to pay, ya punk kid.
What do I gotta do here, huh? I can tell
you don’t know the value of great American currency.
This younger generation with their lack of attention spans…

LXXXIV

Eddie Caruso broke a bottle over Leo Bonaduce’s head yesterday morning, after a night of imbibing their homemade liquor–sunshine, they call it. Way brighter than the moon, it’ll make you go blind.

The two of them had just been sampling the latest batch from the still in the abandoned barn three miles from civilization, when Leo got it into his head to start shooting at the east-facing broad side, poking holes in the wall that had done a decent job of shielding the still from the harsh country dawns. Eddie, at first, admitted to himself that boys will be boys, and he wasn’t about to go impinging on Leo’s second amendment right. Chamber finally devoid of bullets, Leo tossed the gun across the barn without flinching–as though he were completely done with it–then flopped onto a nearby pile of hay. It defies common sense that they would keep such dry, flammable material inside a desiccated wooden structure housing a still that could blow at any minute, but they haven’t exploded yet. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

With Leo passed out, Eddie could relax and lower his guard, allowing him to drift off to sleep on his own pile of hay. Before he knew it, seemingly right after he fell asleep, he was rudely awakened by a bullet-facilitated shaft of light piercing through his eyelid. Once he’d put two and two together, he located an empty beer bottle (they enjoy a variety of poisons in that barn) and strolled over to Leo’s resting spot, noticing that the bullet holes didn’t impact his quality of sleep at all. Eddie’s combination of bad mood and still-drunken state, exacerbated by that blissful snoring, culminated in a wave of rage that raised the bottle and brought it crashing down on Leo’s noggin, dragging him away from his vision of chocolate chip pancakes. “You asshole,” Eddie asserted calmly.

“Shit, man! What was that for?!”

“You don’t get to sleep when I can’t on account of your stupidity, Leo. That’s just the way it goes.”

“But a beer bottle? Can’t you just yell at me or shove me, like a normal person?”

“That sunshine’s still got me goin’ from last night, there’s no normal about me right now.” Eddie brushed a couple shards of glass out of Leo’s hair, away from his eyes, in a mockingly tender fashion. “You poor baby, you might want to get that stitched up.”

“God dammit, Eddie.”

Clean Up Your Act

How many times now have I seen a mirror just sticking out of the side of the garage? I told you that the garage was not the place for a mirror to just go sticking out in broad daylight. There’s a sun out there, mister. That sun can reflect off this mirror and reflect a beam of fiery wrath back at that dead tree over there and toast that puppy. I will not have you just putting up mirrors all willy nilly, as though you’ve never been trained in the fine art of mirror hanging. I will not stand the disgrace to our craft, and I sure as hell will not pay for the damages caused by that fire to the property. Our insurance coverage isn’t half as good as I thought it would be when we signed up, so I’m pretty sure this family would end up in financial ruin. Your brazen attitude is just what we don’t need to see in this world, and I would like you to clean up your act.