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.

Micropoetry Monday: The Battle Hymn of Motherhood

Hands B&W

For Junior Miss,
a little black dress coming off
led to a big white dress going on,
making her a Senior Missus.
When she birthed the babe
who’d been not so immaculately-conceived—
courtesy of her sophomoric husband—
she felt like a freshman soldier,
ill-equipped to fight in the mommy wars.

The magical childhood Petey’s mother had given him
had been one of the toothless tooth fairies
who sold the teeth of children on the black market,
of Santa Claus having to give up his life as a clockmaker
to duplicate & deliver toys to the children of the world
as part of his eternal life sentence for taking candy from a baby,
& of the Easter bunny who identified as a chicken—
so much so that he donned a rabbit skin & laid the eggs
that hatched those disgusting little things known as Peeps.
So maybe Petey’s childhood wasn’t so magical after all,
but then, his mother was no Houdini.

The refrigerator
was the cool family friend
who was warmly welcomed,
for it housed
the daughter’s culinary art projects,
the son’s junk science experiments,
Dad’s beer,
& Mom’s wine—
the beer being the antidote to the office,
the wine,
the antidote to everyone at home.

Micropoetry Monday: Reinvention

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He had gone from a sinner of former days
to a saint of latter days,
from numerous hookups without rules,
to one marriage with rules.
When he was criticized for trying to be something he wasn’t,
he realized he was something now that he wasn’t then,
and saw, when he looked back at that man in the mirror,
that the table of contents that had once composed the history of his character
had told a story that he was not doomed to repeat.

On their 10th anniversary,
she came across a photograph of their 1st,
&, in seeing what she once was,
she made it her self-help mission
to turn the clock back 10 years:
doing the things she once did
but no longer with those she once did them with,
eating at the same restaurants,
dying her hair the same color,
wearing the same perfume,
& visiting her old haunts on the other side of town
that had changed as much as she had—
all to recapture what seemed like several lifetimes ago,
when she hadn’t a care in the world
& was responsible for no one but herself.
But to get back how she once looked & felt,
she would have to lose 60 pounds of all she had gained
to regain the years she felt she had lost.

She had spent her twenties
making herself,
her thirties,
remaking herself,
& her forties,
rediscovering herself,
so that in the last half of her life,
she finally knew herself.

Micropoetry Monday: Feminine Wave

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She had shattered the glass ceiling,
ending up scarred.
She had not done it for herself
but for those who would come after her.
She had sacrificed her desires to make history—
a history that would not give her the future she wanted.

Her education had taught her the art of self-expression,
her church,
the science of self-suppression,
but it was her parents who taught her
how to do both in a way that bridged good citizenship
with authenticity.

She lived a life of authenticity & restraint,
for she knew when & how to express herself
& when & how not to.
She knew when she had met her limitations,
when she could exceed them,
& whether or not she wanted to exceed them.

Micropoetry Monday: Yummies & Yuckies

The Hungry Hannah

From Nutty to Fruity

When the Stone Fruit family
(surname Drupe)
gathered in a felled orchard
to go over the family business,
they, through Incestry.com,
found that Almond was a long-lost relative.
When Almond—
who’d been adopted into the Nut family,
which, although seedy,
with a tough, outer shell
& the tendency to be cracked—
learned of her roots,
she blanched in horror,
for Peach was like the missing link
with all that fuzz;
talking to Cherry was the pits,
& Plum was just plum crazy.
When she rejected their soft flesh,
she went back to being ground into butter
rather than baked into pies.

Mr. Mayo was the breadwinner
who brought home the bacon,
& when he hooked up with
the tomato from upstairs,
luring her with his full head of lettuce,
they made a beautiful sandwich together.

When Holy Cow met Unholy Pig,
they opened a chicken sandwich shop
across the road called “Eat, Graze, Love,”
only to be accosted
by the Big Cheese of Animal Farm,
who thought—
with a mess of lettuce, tomatoes, & mayo
& stuffed between two pillows (of brioche)—
they were a match made
in gastronomical heaven.