When nearly all the world had become infertile
from the measures taken to prevent overpopulation,
children became more precious than saffron,
rarer than the Sumatran rhino & Darwin’s fox,
for what did it mean to save the planet
when there would be no one left to inhabit it?
For the postmodern world began to suppose
that mothers & fathers were interchangeable.
Yet it was proven that one person
could never be both father & mother,
the best parent for what has always been a 2-parent family.
For to lose a mom
to lose a dad
or vice versa.
their flesh had become one,
but in the eyes of their children,
Mom & Dad were separate entities
that had merged their sacred powers of procreation
to create flesh of their flesh,
& to imbue that flesh with the spirit
they would send out into the world–
not to seek their fortune,
but to make the world more fortunate
for them having been in it.
For the world
became such a place,
that only the experts
on certain subjects.
One had to be an artist
to talk about art,
an activist to discuss politics,
a chef to critique food.
Such was The State’s way
the flow of
& so any talk of morality
was the first to go.
For they had supposed He was
John the Baptist,
but people did not return,
only to die countless times
as recycled souls;
they passed from this life once—
to live forever.
She did not find her future in the stars,
nor her fortune in the earth,
but her faith in the One
who parted the two.
When he was a boy,
he enjoyed his boyhood,
learning from his dad
what it was to be a man.
When he sowed seeds of legitimacy,
rather than wild oats,
he traded in his Xbox
for a toolbox,
& showed his daughter
how men should treat her
by how he treated her mother.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
—St. Paul, First Corinthians
Fudge & Divinity
were 2 of a kind.
Fudge felt superior,
for, according to him,
chocolate was the granddaddy
of all desserts;
Divinity felt superior,
for she required a skilled confectioner
with a candy thermometer,
yet these candies realized that without
walnuts for him
& pecans for her,
they were just plain sweet.
When Dr. Pepper showed up to work,
high on Coke,
his little Sprite of a nurse gave him
a Heads-Up 7-Up that Mr. Pibb
wanted to take his place at the table.
When Mr. Pibb saw the doc in all his glory—
Sunkist with the Mountain Dew—
he realized that even though he was made of
practically the same stuff,
he just didn’t have the punch (or the doctorate) that Pep had.
A miniature glass menagerie of liqueurs—
from coconut rum to cherry brandy—
lines the shelves like Fabergé eggs
in Chantilly’s Chocolaterie.
For one sacred day that lasts a 1000 years,
Tilly, known as the truffle alchemist,
makes the blind see colors
with her boozy Braille balls,
& the deaf hear melodies
with her bonbons filled
with music notes—
like harmonious fortune cookies.
Her Chocolate Fountain of Youth
from which the bittersweet drink
is circled by frozen,
for the rules of this sweet shoppe is no forks,
& that everything be consumed
with clean hands,
for there is magic encapsulated
in every drop & sphere that is
created with couverture
& consumed with godliness.
On the last day of Christmas,
Effie held a solitary Festivus
& aired her marital grievances:
Her hubby worked one day out of the year
& not only got plenty of free press,
but the marketplace was flooded
with his graven image
& the very idea of him
garnered even more impersonators
She was tired of him taking credit
for all the toys the rich gave their kids
& all the !@#$ he got from the poor kids
whose parents couldn’t afford anything
but socks, candy canes,
& random crap from CVS.
When she left his fat ass,
she experienced a little #MeToo movement of her own,
changing her name to Ms. Claws
(now free of Santa’s meaty paws).
When Santa became weary of his dead-end job,
having degraded into a fat squab,
he used his B&E experience to become a jewel thief,
which was a source of great relief,
until he was caught & made deader than a doorknob.
Rudolph had yearned for the opportunity
to participate in reindeer games,
with visions of playing with the nice list children
who tossed rings at his antlers
& frolicking in the forest green,
but when he was finally accepted,
he found out that his red nose
had suddenly been fetishized
in this all-boys club,
got more than he bargained for.
The Shutterfly Edition
He pounded out hit pieces,
throwing hardball questions
& paraphrasing quotes
that weren’t provocative enough.
She penned puff pieces,
handing over softball questions
& doodling little hearts over her i’s
as she took notes.
He was as interested in presenting a caricature
as she was a character,
but then along came the biographer
who made their subjects human.
Marilee Readon suffered from writer’s flow,
but when she was sentenced to watch
16 hours a day
for committing a lowercase crime
(a.k.a. misdemeanor plagiarism),
she developed writer’s block,
for her I.Q. points had been dulled.
When “Humans of New York” became a thing,
she came up with “People of Pensacola.”
When she crossed over to “The Far Side,”
“Nearsighted” became her thing.
But when 50 Shades of Grey found her,
50 Ways to Gray became a hit-&-run,
becoming known as “Sticky Lit”—
sticky being those fingers
that lifted from the bestselling,
if not the best.
Mediocre writers begged & borrowed,
whereas she stole the genuine article
& turned them into genuine knockoffs.
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The young reporter’s first job
was editing the obituaries.
For the elderly,
they were celebrations of life;
for the young,
they were a mourning
for all the life
they could have lived.
Paige Bookbinder wasn’t much of a public speaker
(privately, she rocked it),
but the words she put to paper
would endure longer
than the voice in which she spoke them.
Learning to overcome her fear of speaking
in front of a group of any size
would enrich her life now,
even as the words she’d leave behind
for others to read in their own minds
would ensure her legacy.
Her authorship had once meant something,
but when she worked for the one
who only cared if she was the subject,
she realized that she had to write something
someone else would be compelled
to write about it.
The Shutterfly Edition
She hated starting her day with business,
but she loved ending it with pleasure,
& when she made writing not only her work
but her way of life,
every day was a joy,
for through that writing,
she connected with others
by telling their stories
& in sharing hers.
Novella & Novelette,
the Italian & French literary expatriates
who came to America in a giant plum,
learned that just as there was a time to write
& a time to edit,
there was always a time to read.
She was the Grammar Queen,
he, the Punctuation King,
but when they were stung
by the Tory,
they no longer knew
how to capitalize on their gifts,
& their crowning achievement
learning how to dress
their well-spelled word salad.
The Shutterfly Edition
She wrote about “Florida Woman,”
he, “Florida Man,”
each always seeking to outdo the other
by finding the most outrageous characters
who had done the most outrageous things;
but when the newspaper had to cut corners,
namely, their offices,
leaving these columnists feeling several stories too short,
they had to reinvent themselves in this new era
of shrinking newsrooms,
so they collaborated on the “People of Pensacola” project,
humanizing those they had once lampooned.
When Passive Voice met Active Voice,
Active believed ze was editorially superior
while Passive believed ze was the target
of numerous microaggressions,
perpetrated by English teachers,
but when they met Passive-Aggressive,
who wasn’t just talk,
P & A literally joined forces,
realizing that both had their place—
Active, when the question was “Who?”
when the question was “Who cares who?”
When Scholar Lee wrote her story
in the 1st person,
she was accused of making it all about herself;
when she revised it to reflect the 2nd person,
she was accused of telling her readers what to think;
when she rewrote it in the 3rd,
she was accused of being a know-it-all,
so she decided that she would write poetry,
where the only voice that mattered
was her own.
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She was a washed-up comedy writer
whose life was always taking serious turns,
turning her security-seeking self into a risk-taking one
because circumstances kept giving her no choice.
She drove a car with several dings that had given her cha-ching,
though now she could only open the doors from the outside,
so heaven help her if those windows quit working.
She lived on continental breakfasts at random hotels
& fancy leftovers from board meetings,
but never did the water that ran yellow
through the Pensacola pipes pass her lips,
for even though she may have been all washed up,
she had inadvertently made it happen
with the best Olay body wash her coupons could practically buy.
He was a nosy reporter,
she, a mouthy writer,
they not only captured the smells & tastes
of the world around them,
but they beat every lawsuit for slander & libel
that was leveled against them.
With his nose for news
& her gift of gab,
they leveled their opponents so swiftly,
they didn’t know what hit them,
though if anyone asked,
they would say it felt like
18 wheels & a dozen benders.
the clients were always ruder,
the women, fatter,
& his workday worse than the day before.
According to her,
her grandmother had played Sarah on The Andy Griffith Show,
her father was an illegitimate direct descendant of Diamond Jim Brady,
& she, the reincarnation of Bettie Page before her pin-up years.
Being tellers of big windies,
they always tried to blow the other away
with their vast stores of hot air,
so that as their stories got taller,
their credibility got smaller
& their notoriety got bigger.
When they realized the diamond mine they had
in spinning tangled yarns,
they made money cranking out fake memoirs—
paid for by GoFundMe accounts.
life wasn’t just something to write about—
it was something to live.
Life was a test,
with its true questions
& false answers,
& its limited number of multiple choices.
As part of her self-prescribed Happiness Project,
Dr. Hart learned to love the one she was with
& to love the ones she had.
When it came to picking a mate,
it was drawing the best fit from a small bank
where sometimes all the good answers
were already taken.