Micropoetry Monday: Life in these United States

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An Englishman
a Frenchman,
& an American
walked into an eatery.
The Englishman left an impolite word,
the Frenchman, a bad review,
& the American,
a tip.

She lived a life of mystery,
he, of transparency.
When they met over coffee & bagels,
she found herself longing for a simple life,
he, a scintillating one.
When they fell in love—
she, with his all-around nice guy persona
& he, with her essence of intrigue—
they compromised for a life in the burbs,
surrounded by all the displaced yuppies
with their big little lies.

Ninah Fiver had been counseled not to burn bridges,
but she dared to glare back at the witches,
with their real plastic & fake smiles,
who had tried to suck her back in with their fakery & toxicity
& cast upon her their spells of rotting, garden-variety bitchcraft.
Knowing that these hoes who were loved (but not beloved) by rakes
would soon be sweeping over,
she sprayed her territory with AquaNet & lit a match,
so that these ladies with the invisible pointed hats
went out in a blaze of glory,
even as Ninah blazed the trail for other office workers
who suffered from first-world PTSD
& an unhealthy obsession with Post-It notes.

Micropoetry Monday: Life in these United States

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There was something for everyone—
from the faceless mountains sculpted
with God’s own hands,
to the beaches of white or brown sugar,
from the ice castles of Sweden to
the watercolor deserts of Africa,
from the Edenic flora of Madeline O’Keefe,
to the pastoral Americana of Grant Wood,
to the wide-open spaces of Andrew Wyeth.
For this land was a nation of immigrants–
all of whom could still find a piece
of what they’d left behind.

He spent the graveyard shift
watching the hairy underbelly of society scratch themselves–
evidence that the earth decayed during the Dreamtime.

Beck’s father still used terms like “lady doctor” & “male nurse,”
just as Beck’s mother still said “seamstress & tailor,”
“sculptor & sculptress.”
Beck didn’t see the world in shades of pink & blue
but rather,
in the listings of one’s job description;
for him, cosmetologists & mixologists
would always be beauticians & bartenders,
just as the police were “The Flatfooted Fuzz”
to his wayward brother, Call.
“It is what it is,” was Beck’s favorite phrase,
next to “you are what you are,”
for “corporate tool” was listed at the top of his resume,
which was a perfect fit,
as his last name was Lackey.

Micropoetry Monday: Life in these United States

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Blackout

He’d been blackballed,
she, blacklisted,
for they had ditched their HR & PR personas
to live an authentic life—
fully accepting of the consequences
for blowing the whistle
on the sounding brasses & tinkling cymbals
of the corporate crooks & political partygoers,
so they could live life on their terms,
even if doing so sometimes left them
in the red.

Law-Deriding Citizens

He had a long rap sheet,
she, a wide spreadsheet.
They carpooled their talents,
pulling off a virtual heist
that pushed them to the limits
of their abilities,
& they lived high
while laying low . . .
until the law caught up with them.
The judge laid down the law
& dispensed her prescription for justice,
which was that one work at Wal-Mart,
the other, McDonald’s,
dealing with the general public—
rather than the general population—
for the rest of their lives.

Dinner on a Dive

She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth,
his mother, with a wooden spoon in her hand.
She came from a house of privilege,
he, from the poor house that fell
just below the poverty line.
When they shared a melted milkshake
over a platter of limp fries
at the local greasy spoon,
he realized that she belonged
in the front of the house,
he, in the back,
& so they decided to be restaurateurs,
where she learned too soon
that her silver spoon
had turned green.

Micropoetry Monday: Life in These United States

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When Sleepless in Seattle
met Pissed in Pittsburgh,
they realized the only way
they could put down
their hang-ups
was for the former
to move to Florida,
the other,
out of Pittsburgh.

He’d thought only the rich made the world go round,
but when he wished away the poor,
there was no one left to
clean the buildings,
stock the stores,
pick the fruit,
wash the dishes,
haul away the trash,
cut the hair,
fix the things few knew how to fix,
when he didn’t feel like cooking,
care for the aged rich,
watch the children
when the parents had to go to work,
teach the little children—
who were the future of the world,
keep the streets safe,
& fight the wars;
because these workers were there
to do these tasks,
he did not have to,
& he realized that he hadn’t wished away poverty—
only the people who lived in it,
never stopping to remember that it had been the slaves
who had built the pyramids.

With a cloud full of stock photos
& a cache of inflammatory headlines,
adding some links to grayed-out gobbledygook—
links which no one clicked on—
all Denizen Jane needed
was an Internet connection
in her stepfather’s basement,
& she was in business,
for nobody ever read the article—
only the comments section.
After all,
paying for content was so 30 years ago.

Micropoetry Monday: Mystery

Mrs. X and Mr. Y book cover

Side by side in an attic,
profuse with paper flowers,
he built houses out of Legos
& she,
lives in dollhouses.
But when they discovered an abandoned jigsaw puzzle
in a plain brown box,
they pieced together the mystery of the missing triplets—
knowing not who they were but who they would’ve been
& learning of the one who was plucked from the paper garden
to break down in the weeds.

Eve Grey had 3 types of secrets:
The secrets about herself that she kept to herself,
the secrets about others that she kept for them,
& the secrets about herself that she revealed,
a little at a time.
But she carried with herself,
like a dormant gene,
a 4th secret–
the type of secret that was the most frightening of all,
for it was the secret about herself that no one knew—
not even Eve herself.
When Dr. Janus recovered it
in the form of a memory,
it set off a chain reaction
that bound her to him,
for it became the first type of secret
that must never turn into the third.

When Merlina moved into town
with her crystal ball,
she didn’t tell people their futures
but only their possible ones,
which were exceedingly bright,
so that when she moved on,
those who’d had faith in her
had found faith in themselves,
& those futures
she had wished for them
& predicted to them
had happened only
because they had gone on living
believing that great things
were coming to them.

Micropoetry Monday: Thanatology

Thanatology book cover

When the merry widow met
the grieving widower
at her late husband’s funeral,
Kickstarter Funeral Home
became their haven,
for when her loathsome groom
& the boss who’d made his life miserable
finally bought that farm down under,
they’d connected on a deeper level
by turning his obituary guestbook
into a public way to air their grievances—
giving others the courage to share their story
when she hadn’t had the courage to leave
nor he,
to quit.

When someone passed away,
the Tribute Reporter interviewed the 10 people closest to them,
but as she got to know her subject more in death
than she ever would have in life,
she found that some people only wanted to remember the deceased
the way they had known them.

D.D. Wentworth was the thrift store queen
who could always be found scraping
the bottom of the bargain bin
with her ShowBiz Pizza token.
She didn’t have 2 nickels to rub together
to make fire,
but she did have a penny
with a buffalo facing the wrong way
& a 3-dollar bill
with a mustachioed Gerber baby on it.
The millions she secretly accrued,
she left to her fat cat,
& things such as the funny money,
she left to her community.
The Wentworthless Museum
was erected in her honor,
where a furry, lifelike sculpture of a calico
is encased in a glass coffin,
or rather,
a glass case—
a penny over one eye,
a token on the other,
& a dollar bill between its teeth.

Micropoetry Monday: Anti-Love Story

Anti Love Stories book cover

He was the man with the golden touch,
she, the woman with the silver tongue.
With his hands & her voice,
they seduced the masses,
amassing great wealth
in the name of the One
whose preciousness & luster
neither tarnished nor oxidized.

When she flippantly told him to take a picture,
so it would last longer,
he took it a step further & said he could have her stuffed,
immortalizing her as a 3-D piece of lifelike sculpture,
rather than a 2-D image that could be contained in a frame.
His proposed tribute to her beauty,
however,
was not appreciated,
& he was tossed out with the rubbish,
where someone reclaimed him & turned him into a mime–
the very worst piece of art.

He was a handsome counterfeiter,
she, a beautiful forger.
He fell for her like new money;
she, for him, like old.
He printed his way to prominence,
even as she wrote her way to it.
But they met their match
when they met the art dealer
who copied paintings
& forged the artists’ initials,
for Mr. and Mrs. Nockoff
had been so used to their fakes,
they didn’t know one when they saw it.

Micropoetry Monday: Life in these United States

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She was not judged by her book’s cover
but by the content of her characters—
the characters that made up the syllables
that made up the words
that made up the sentences
that made up the story,
but when that story was reduced to a single title—
to a single author–
it stirred up such ire,
even though few had ever read it,
for the media had already told them
how they should feel about it.

That homeless summer
was a 6-week compressed class
in Financial Insecurity 101.
Their little girl would mention “the old house”
with the private fenced-in backyard,
screened-in patio,
& HOA fees,
but those things are gone with the wind
that her husband was always chasing
while she was too busy trying to hold on to what they had
to chase after him.
Their new house,
older than their old house,
is within their meager means
but is a blessing, she thinks,
as she rocks out to John Denver
while driving through the hood—
more neighborly
than their old neighborhood was—
collectively bound by the silent mourning
for the lives they left behind.

She used to get upset when her husband didn’t want
to take their daughter to the park—
until he finally told her of all the time he’d spent in them
when they’d had no home
& she’d spent so much time at school & work,
in the labs & the library—
only to crash in the shelter when nightfall came.
She couldn’t have known what he would not confide,
& now she knows not to ask,
for she finally understands.