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.

Panic!

Spindled tickets desire not much more from their makers
than the basic recognition of their proper utility
in the overblown social experiment
known as customer ordering and service rendering.

Once stabbed and stacked, impaled indefinitely,
our punctured pals wish not to be moved
until they and their carbon paper cousins
all make the grand pilgrimage together.

When each new spent batch has been manhandled
and hurtled to the hallowed trash can (the one
with the mass-produced “Law & Oarder” bumper sticker
carelessly splashed onto it as a graffiti-hider
and exercise in pointless consumerism)–the one
that a wise old papyrus once celebrated
as heaven incarnate–contagious catharsis
sweeps through the crinkled pile.

Since all their common ancestors disappeared forever
upon meeting the can of destiny, the soon-deceased
sensibly assume that it must be a pretty swell place
to stick around for a solid chunk of time (probably
just positively loaded with recreational activities).
No panicky paper here, no sir. Delusional, definitely,
but not a hint of panic!

Parlance

Entombed in the cedar
Mac Rebennack-ness of it all,
I stood still with a Wisconsin
kind of appendage, the wishbone apparent
through those ill-begotten stockings
left behind that one night
when the pistons swayed
against the moon spritzers
with their glittering doom

(so transparent to everybody
save the few middling marmoset dealers
known around the district as
generally pretty good guys
in their own regard, if you insist on
getting down to their brand of parlor parlance
after a bit of tea and perhaps
a scone while we’re at it).

Alls I knows is
my black bean taquito factory
couldn’t have shut down
at a worse possible time for me
and my chicken brethren. Now,

I know what you’re thinking. Can
chickens collectively be considered
brethren, or would that be omitting
the female sex entirely?
For you see, my enlightened peers
in this common quest
for some kind of satisfaction–
if at all possible–
chicken is the lazy layman’s
blanket term, and we can’t be
bandying improper pronouns around
over here, ya dig?

Oh, and I suppose it would also mean
that my clucky compatriots will have to incur
the ultimate sacrifice (their lives)
on the company’s behalf
for the sake of avoiding
cuisine production cessation (if even
for a minute).
I can’t jeopardize our investors’ success
within this capitalistic apparatus–
especially after that botched public offering
a couple summers ago. Egg
on my face, I said to myself (I said).

Faux Pas

Bajillion Peregrinus started his day off right today–with a succulent cobb salad and a couple of margaritas. Slippery slope, margaritas, but as a denizen of the night, Baj has always managed to avoid that whole “too early in the day to imbibe” faux pas. However, considering the depth of his late-night cavorting, he often finds himself breaking that rule by pulling all-nighters and keeping the party rolling well past dawn.

This particular day wouldn’t normally prove to serve Baj’s personal agenda, seeing as how he needs to knock out some domestic drudgery and then immediately tuck into a full-blown work shift. Not very much time to himself at all. Just another one of those days. It’s not like he’s not used to this kind of treatment; he’s become quite accustomed to it at this point. Bills and impulsive expenditures (food delivery and designer headphones) necessitate his daily drudgery–for the most part. The remaining part of the pie chart (as far as he could figure): his intense, immense sense of self-loathing, which he quietly carries around on his shoulders like a hobo’s bindle–not too heavy, considering the unbearable lightness of being, but always noticeably uncomfortable.

As far as he sees it, he figures that the self-deception is a byproduct of his unfulfilled human potential. Well, not his own perception of failing, but the societal norm facilitating the “us vs. them” mentality that sends the vast majority of rat racers into skill corners, where they’ll proceed to bang their foreheads against brick walls for the rest of their lives, restricting whatever semblance of freedom to a 15-minute meditation session sometime between breakfast and work (otherwise known as their morning commute). The mental elasticity of previous generations is systematically eroding.

Baj is rather sensitive and internalizes most everything he comes across; most of the time he has no idea how it will surface, since the nature of the universe is that of uncertainty and chaos. In the case of human devolution, however, Baj knows for a fact that people are losing their sheen at a rapid clip.

Because of all this, Baj understands that, no matter what he does, he will always come up short in a financial sense. Just as his mother and father had, and their mothers and fathers before that, and so on and so forth. He’s recently begun to trace back his lineage on one of those newfangled ancestor websites, all the way back to a point in medieval Europe where some sort of town fool or drunk owed a debt to the local magistrate, and the interest is still accruing to this day.

Fun Things

The more senior members of the corn-fed trophy mounting union (local 1776) always manage to find opportunities to regale their greener counterparts with talk of a simpler time–when common salmonella held a place in all of our hearts and opinion-dominated politics held sway in the public arena.

The information age was still in its infancy and the shady web traffickers used all their powers of persuasion to convince the good ol’ god-fearing people that doom was just around the corner for all non-believers (when a quick search would reveal that the sedentary nature of these chosen-by-default disciples was actually the exact behavior leading us all to armageddon).

The billionaire false prophets for social normativity laughed all the way to the bank, just the way they always had (and always would, assuming the government they’d purchased would continue to carry out their various people-crushing biddings). Nobody with enough influence could get the gears of social justice turning, due to their lack of tenure as stock market manipulators and robber barons; the folks who figured they could inspire a positive change in discourse were all too late to the party.

Or that would be the narrative that Joe and Stu want to perpetuate at social gatherings (sock hops, ball games, charity galas, what have you), usually after a beer or two. I wish they would talk about fun things instead.

Tour de Force

Of Nice and Men is a snappy, genre-driven play predicated on your typical hero’s journey through the heartland once regarded as antiquated–cornball, even–in the pseudo-sophisticated shadow of a cultured society we’ve been thrust into by the more majorly militaristic manchildren among us (trading individual liberties for big boy toys and candy).

Since we occupy an epoch where modern delineation truly has strangled the life out of chronological concerns (that is to say we’ve had our fair share of allegorical parallelograms in our time, no doubt about that, no siree), if you find yourself charged with taking in this three-hour beauty, you can–and should–simply attend the theatre as a pilgrim of the arts, allowing yourself to become awash in a different reality, even if only for a glimmering moment.

Other than the obvious sociological implications afforded to us by the title, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the tap dance sequences that pop up seemingly from out of nowhere (even though I’ve just spoiled the twist for you, but you pay that no mind). In a nutshell, this tour de force pits Americana versus whimsy at the intersection of Leap and Gamble Avenues.

For all my field trip aficionados out there, I recommend bringing a schoolbusful of primary school students to see the Wednesday matinee, as tickets for 12 and under are free.

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.