Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Live Laugh Love Eat Pray

I lost a foot a few miles back,
which had me down for a while.
I lurch forward with one strong leg,
drag this bony stump behind me.
I turn around,
see the print of a single boot,
more or less in a line,
and then a faint streak on the right
drawn in the mud by my tibia.
I’ve lost some parts here and there,
the cartilage on my face long gone.
A couple of fingers have dropped off,
and my teeth are nothing to speak of.
My smile is gray, yellow, brown
with jack-o-lantern gaps.
But losing a foot
affects my mobility,
and I must always be on the move.
If you don’t walk,
you don’t eat.
Simple as that.
I find an abandoned roller skate
in a suburban cul-de-sac.
No rumbling minivan engines,
no jovial dads with smoking grills,
no cannonballs in the pool,
no joyfully shrieking children.
My mouth waters a little.
I break into one of the homes,
have a sit on a dusty sofa.
It’s a nice couch,
probably was too nice to sit on before.
I pretend to watch
the wall-sized flat-screen TV.
But I remember my mission
and search closets and cabinets,
hoping no wide-eyed survivor
would blow a hole through my chest
with a shotgun.
Finally I find the roll of duct tape
and attach that roller skate
to the end of my footless leg.
Now I’ve got wheels to help me stagger ahead,
and I feel a warm sense of well-being
for the first time in days.
I don’t mind the silence, really,
don’t mind the solitude.
I’ve never had so much time
to just think before.
Never savored food
the way I do when I tear
into pale flesh
and crush still-beating hearts
between my teeth.
I could never hear the birds
over the dull roar of traffic,
never really spent so much time outside
in the fresh air,
not like I do now.
I am free now of vanity,
free of pain.
Sometimes I do wish I could settle down
in one of these unused homes,
tend the lawn,
fill the birdfeeders,
read a few books,
but I’ve got to keep moving,
propelled by hunger.
And when there’s nothing left to consume,
I’ll find an open field,
lie down,
and stare up at the stars
until I finally close my eyes.


Such a surprise
to fall overboard
into the briny sea
the shock of the cold
a mouth full of salt
spitting, coughing
the waves carelessly tossing you
batting you back and forth
like a ball stolen from a smaller kid
“What’s wrong? You want your ball back?
Here it is…just catch it!”
The ball is thrown agonizingly high overhead,
straight into the hands of a second bully.
And so it goes,
over and over again,
til you go home crying,
and your dad says
you need to stand up for yourself.
There is no alone more alone
than bobbing in the middle of the sea,
a hundred miles or more from land,
no ships on the horizon,
no desert isles with sandy beaches
palm trees laden with green coconuts,
just the sea and you,
and yes, I know there are millions
of living creatures
swimming beside you, below you,
tickling your feet,
maybe trying to take a bite.
Still, there is no alone more alone.
And the sun beats down,
burning your scalp bright red,
and you have a headache,
and you’re burning with thirst,
surrounded by endless water
that you can’t drink,
and you think,
This just really sucks.
You wonder if anyone noticed
that you were gone.
Has that cruise ship
continued to cut effortlessly
through the sea
to the next port of call?
Are people still sipping mojitos by the pool,
taking yoga classes on the deck at dawn,
feeling indecisive in front of a large buffet,
bravely walking up to the mic
on karaoke night
after three stiff drinks?
You’re going to be shark food soon,
and that’s just the way of things here.
Some fish eat,
and some fish get eaten,
and why did you think you were so special?

Sunday Night Phone Call

If you sent the check on Saturday—
you sent the check on Saturday, right?
If you sent the check on Saturday,
then I should get it by
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…
probably Wednesday.
But if the mail is late,
then I’ll have to deposit the check on Thursday.
So Thursday, then.
First thing Thursday morning.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Automatic Weapon

My old boss,
she had a voice like a machine gun.
This was because she was an actual machine gun.
When she walked in the aisles between cubicles,
people dramatically dove under their desks
or lay unresponsive at her feet.
She never ran out of ammo.
But sometimes she would take a long lunch,
and we’d all exhale slowly,
counting the minutes until her return.

How to Make Scrambled Eggs

1)    Wake up.
2)    Check your cell phone for new notifications.
3)    Play a few rounds of Yahtzee on the officially licensed app.  Make disappointing choices.
4)    Note that you are hungry.
5)    Take a nap.
6)    Wake up.
7)    Think about making scrambled eggs.
8)    Let the dog out.
9)    Let the dog back in.
10) Play more Yahtzee. Win a game. Feel three seconds of satisfaction.
11) Remember that there is nothing easier or quicker than making scrambled eggs.
12) Look up the ending to a horror movie you’re curious about but have no intention of actually watching.
13) Chat briefly with a friend on Facebook Messenger.
14) Pretend that you’ve watched a video your friend has sent you.
15) Think about taking a shower.  You’ll definitely feel better if you take a shower.
16) Remember that you have to pay some bills today online.  You haven’t balanced your checkbook in three months.  This train of thought is exhausting.
17) Take a nap.
18) You’re definitely hungry now. Scroll through Twitter for latest political outrage.
19) Isn’t it closer to lunch now, really?
20) Make and consume peanut butter and jelly sandwich.