It was last night
that I read the last work
that would be published
in my alma mater’s literary journal.
Brian and Hannah had joined me–
along with my dad and grandmother
who we call Bernadean
because she’s not all “grammy-like.”
My English and Communications friends were there,
my old college newspaper friends–
except for the ones who’d graduated and moved on–
were there to cover the event
in the room where my daughter saw
trapezoids and triangles in the ceiling.
I’d worn my new little black dress—
well, let’s be real,
but it showed the shoulders
I had been expected to cover
in my past life as a Mormon.
My daughter was showing off or rather,
I was showing off my daughter in her new bob
that makes her look like Scout Finch
and white dress with the red ribbon straps
that kept slipping down.
Still better her have a wardrobe malfunction than me.
My dad and grandmother were late
but just in time to see one of the artists’ photographs
of his topless girlfriend projected on the screen
and for Dad to hear one of the poets use the f-word,
which I knew he would complain about later.
I break out in hives all over my chest when I read,
but I chose to ignore them,
for that was better than sweating profusely.
Hives don’t give you B.O.
There were “decadent desserts”
with all different toppings;
I wasn’t fooled,
for they were all brownie bites
but “elevated” as the TV chefs would say.
I was asked for a quote by the kid
who only wanted to write reviews
because he just enjoys writing his opinions.
Yes, I tell him, I really am obsessed with Mother Goose
(and, off the record, ablaut reduplication).
Hannah got to watch and listen to one of the artists play his guitar.
Everyone was so kind.
The event was held in a room off the art gallery on campus,
and we saw a man’s bust made of pennies,
which made me think that Mike Brady’s head
wouldn’t have shattered had it been made of change.
I still had to make cornbread
(hoecakes were too much work–
I couldn’t just shove them in the oven
and forget about them for a half hour)
for a “Cooking on a Dime” event at work tomorrow—
the college where I work because I loved it so much,
I didn’t want to leave.
We got our Easter ham,
and then Dad wanted to take us out
for half-priced milkshakes after 8 at Sonic.
Tons of kids were there for the same reason.
I had to lend Hannah my white sweater wrap
and make her look like an old lady in a shawl.
I got chocolate
but without malt,
what good is it?
I gave Hannah my cherry,
and Dad gave me his.
We joked about how Mom
who doesn’t live on Earth anymore
would embarrass my brother
by asking for “thick shakes” and “hot fries”
because damn it,
she was paying good money for this crap.
It’s nice to be able to talk about her without crying.
And then we go to our homes,
me to mine,
where I read Green Eggs and Ham,
and I told this little girl with the big blue eyes
that until I met her dad,
mushrooms had been my Green Eggs and Ham—
when he fried them like we do everything here.
Right then and wherever there was,
I fell in love with fungi candy.
And I write all this now
while it’s still fresh
because new memories are constantly being made,
and I don’t want to lose this one.
An Amateur Philosopher on “The Why”
To those that say,
“Everything happens for a reason,”
Sometimes something happens
because you’re stupid.
2019 April PAD Challenge: Day 17
America’s Justice System, in 10 Lines
The cops catch them,
the judges release them.
Innocents sit in jail
If you’re a cheater,
He turned to a life of crime
because women rejected him.
Regular crime or hate crime–
The Curmudgeon’s Predictions for the Year 2050
Random acts of kindness
to keep up with the senseless acts of violence.
Evil is now called Mental Illness.
#AmericaStrong is now #WorldStrong.
There are more channels
than decent programs to watch.
The Bachelor is in its 100th season–
the ratio of marriages to proposals
have actually slipped.
Chris Harrison still looks the same,
and we all get to see what really goes down
in the fantasy suite.
Someone brought back “The Facts of Life”;
Mindy Cohn lives!
Ticker tape is the only real news.
People read less and move even less.
A GoFundMe account is a viable way of making a living.
Everybody’s watching people cook on TV,
but nobody knows how to cook.
DNA kits that will set you back the price of a fast food meal
can be found in the family planning/prevention section;
they are also complementary with dating site subscriptions,
so those that still care can check their date’s XX or XY status.
Parents unfriend their children over politics,
even the ones that still live with them.
Their real friends are those they will never meet
who are 600 miles away and think like they do
Executions are televised,
for why is porn worse than violence?
Nobody notices the clouds
that look like God disappearing.
Children have disappeared from the parks–
it’s so much easier to keep them safe inside,
getting fatter in front of the television.
Better fat than dead.
If you want real food,
it’s going to cost you.
That is the real reason why healthy eaters are skinny.
You’re lucky if you live long enough to get cancer.
Gardens, cashiers, and cursive writing
are considered quaint little throwbacks to a time
that’s becoming vague in the minds of those
who lived it.
All I know about New York
I learned through “Law & Order,”
through the stories of those who left
(knew none who stayed),
& The Weather Channel,
confirming so much I already knew
but didn’t care to know firsthand.
2019 April PAD Challenge: Day 14
Her view of herself was such
that she felt most comfortable
when she stood behind
His view of himself was such
that he felt most comfortable
when everyone stood in front
to hear him speak those words.
She felt like a silent ventriloquist,
a Wizard of Oz who made
the dummy come alive,
even as he felt like he was
the ideal receptacle
for such pep rally rah-rahing
that made them believe that if he won,
they all won.
The 21-Year-Old Boy
He had mastered the art of doing nothing,
but when he met the girl who tried to do everything,
he realized the only way to get her to do that something
which would mean nothing to him
but everything to her
was to do anything for her.