Dragon – 12:32GMT

You would bet the farm on an unlimited supply of meatloaf and meatloaf substitute, would you not? I can tell whenever protein-rich diner favorites predominate people’s minds; I can just see from the look in their eye, and indeed simply from their thought patterns. I acquired this infallible skill from a dragon I met on my way through Spain. He was a kind old creature, and I’m not sure why people insist on calling dragons brutish fire-breathing destruction machines. Most dragons don’t even have the capability for breathing fire! Only a tenth of all dragon species have evolved that annoying feature, and they are actually some of the kindest, wisest dragons of them all. Sorry to debunk that myth of fire-breathers being unscrupulous killers, but–wait, no I’m not! That’s an unfair stereotype that has stigmatized the entire dragon family tree for far too long.

Anyway, I digress. The Spanish dragon who taught me how to instantly judge a person’s desire for meatloaf–and meatloaf substitute–simply imbued me with the gift. He was advanced in years, and had developed the ability of granting individuals one random skill. And in order to prevent these skills from becoming novelties or parlor tricks, this dragon has ensured that the recipient of said random skill becomes, unambiguously, the world’s best practitioner of it–for all time, might I add.

There is a trick to this dragon’s wisdom and generous gift–as always–you must be the one to find out which skill you’ve been given; it will not be told. Needless to say, it took me some time to figure out just what it was. I’m still not 100% sure if I’ve gotten the skill completely correct, but I know for sure that I’m able to accurately gauge someone’s distinct level of desire for meatloaf and meatloaf substitute, and that’s good enough for me, dammit.

But back to the topic at hand here: why are you, my beloved captors, so goddamn obsessed with meatloaf, anyway? Also, are you really just interested in meatloaf substitute? I’m unable to differentiate between the desire for the original dish and the hippie version, much to my displeasure. Stupid dragon.

But since I’m getting such a strong meatloaf reading from you guys, I can only assume that you’re of the human persuasion. Unless you’ve assimilated into the human culture so much that you’ve genuinely developed cravings for our comfort food. This conspiracy must go all the way to the top, sweet Christ.

I really wish I could use my arms.

Communities

Harsh indiscretions ring true
when skipped like stones
across cooling lava
until they sink into the molten rock.

“My windmill powers all of Northern Arkansas,
and I can prove it! Just drive
across the state (east to west)
and stop by every gas station you come across.
Kindly tell the attendant that Stanley F.
sent you to examine their power meter,
and they’ll gladly show you around the place.

“If they pretend not to know
what you’re talking about, that’s because
I’ve made an arrangement with the owner,
who likely hasn’t brought it up with their employees.

“If the attendant claims they’re also the owner,
get out of there right away. Chances are
they overthrew the previous owner
in a fit of violence after an argument
having to do with philosophical differences
as to how the town should be run.

“In the smaller communities, the gas station owner
also often holds public office, and you sure as hell
don’t want to get caught up in that whole
dog and pony show. Now, if you’ll excuse me,
I need to get back to my horse;
he’s been real morose lately, especially
if I leave him alone for more than ten minutes.”

A wild goose chase across the heartland
will yield only ambiguous notions of what power does
to impressionable and civic-minded individuals.

By the Needle’s Edge

Inheriting the winds
of travel – to many arenas,
more than our fair share –
breathes legacies
into stagnant patches
of ordinary air.

The threat comes
from threading gusts
by the needle’s edge
just long enough
to get a proper bearing.

We will soar overseas
if our math is correct,
and don’t ask
what will happen
if it isn’t.

Up River, Looking

Left by the wayside with a pincushion in my mouth and an unwavering desire to turn into a penguin of some sort, I ripped a stitch from a feathered cap and unraveled the entirety of my surroundings one garment at a time. I went up to a gentleman (at least a man who appeared to exhibit gentle qualities) and ripped the chapeau from his head, forgetting that I’d already altered a head-covering. I then apologized for my amateur mistake and replaced the hat (though not without feeling the material and guessing where it was made (before reading the tag: Sri Lanka). I looked around for a scarf, but there were no ladies of suitable standing from whom I could steal such a regal accoutrement. I was puzzled, and decided that I hadn’t quite reached shirt territory without at least finding my first scarf. I then began to wander aimlessly across the plaza, wondering if I would ever find a scarf (considering the blistering summer heat). I grew weary (considering the blistering summer heat) and sought a resting place. The first patch of shade I found was located six hundred and forty-seven yards away from my initial realization of fatigue, and it sure took me a long time to reach it (a lone willow tree by a dried up river, looking rather droopy and not at all in the mood to shelter a tired traveler). I took a seat under the boughs and noticed a fine lady of royal standing resting just two meters to my right, scarf and all. Taking the situation into account, I made a snap judgment and grabbed the fabled garment. My grabbing was quite forceful and I awoke her from her light sleep. She gurgled and rolled her eyes while appearing to doubt my very existence. She seemed to accept her position as the victim in this position, letting me gradually unwrap this intricate (and obviously valuable) scarf. It took me four minutes to remove the garment, which measured seventeen feet (give or take a yard). I said a quick “thank you” and scurried off, not rested after my arduous journey, but nevertheless energized by this encounter.