The Shutterfly edition
He was a hard-boiled journalist
who believed that truth was so soon buried,
he would outscoop his colleagues
so that he could put it all out there ASAP;
she was a soft-hearted historian
who believed that by letting the dust settle,
the truth would either present itself
or degrade altogether.
She had an overactive imagination,
he, an overactive pituitary,
yet it was she who told the tallest stories,
him being the only one who understood any of them,
for his head was as much in the clouds
as her feet were off the ground.
He was journalism,
she, reality TV.
When they came together,
they created the fake news
that surpassed every rating
they’d ever had.
When Sticky Fingers Sal & Pickpocket Pearl
were strolling out of Curl Up & Dye,
Sal, distracted by a Grammar Nazi on strike,
slipped & fell into a plot hole.
Pearl, always quick with her hands,
reached into the man’s pocket
& stole the ultimate weapon–
his dangling modifier.
She held it down for Sal who,
even after her rescue,
just wouldn’t let go of it.
He was a prankster,
she, a punster.
He played a good game
while she talked one.
As she made friends,
he made enemies,
for the pen with which
she penned her wit
than his edge
for pissing people off,
because the latter was
Goofus had the workmanship,
Doofus, the showmanship.
When “GooDoo” went on Shark Tank,
they were unstoppable–
until they met the beautiful forger
with the handsome penmanship
who took them to the cleaners,
leaving them not only blue-balled,
but completely blackballed
from the Rotary Club.
Like the shadow of the blind,
she was with me 90 days
without my knowing—
the closest thing to God
some would ever know.
I was her second set of footprints,
for it was I
who carried her.
She didn’t know if her daughter understood all the words,
but she read them anyway.
She didn’t know if her daughter would remember
all those trips to the pool & the beach
& every other space that screamed barefoot fun,
but she took her anyway.
She didn’t know if her daughter always heard her say,
“I love you,” after she’d fallen asleep to a lullaby,
but she said it anyway,
for it was a mom’s instinct
to do good by & for their children,
not always knowing
the good it did.
“Breast is best,” they said,
but the best could not express itself.
She pumped herself sore,
for she feared for her child’s I.Q.,
& everything they said her magic milk
was supposed to do.
When she went from a little black dress
to a big white dress
(or off-white, to keep it real),
she’d thought her life had been put on hold,
but she would come to learn
that love was not a barrier,
for the more,
Her life was in a rut,
so she began to turn left instead of right,
jumped up instead of forward,
writing vertically & counting backward.
She looked at people & away from things—
behind & beside them,
as well as directly.
Her perspective of the world changed
from changing her position in it,
& she learned that part of life was knowing
where to put the period &
where to put the ellipsis.
She’d traded in 3 jobs for 1,
the status of student for graduate,
the role of homemaker to bacon bringer.
She didn’t have it all,
but she had more than enough,
& what she didn’t have,
she gave to herself
in the stories she wrote.
The Shutterfly edition
He was Shakespeare,
she, greeting cards.
She saw in him,
a man who took himself too seriously,
even as he saw her as a woman
who didn’t take herself seriously enough.
He exposed her to words
that meant something,
even as she exposed him to words
that had once meant something
on their best days &
on their worst days.
She was finishing school,
She made rumors people used
for the detriment
of their pers,
whereas he made things people could use
for the benefit of them.
When she decided she wanted
to “go slumming”
by trying someone new,
he told her that he only knew how
to work with wood,
He wrote love stories,
she, romance novels.
Each believed the other
to be inferior—
hers in literary merit,
his in marketplace value,
though they both practiced
by doing what they loved.
When the displaced homemaker
met the desperate ex-housewife,
they cooked up a plan
in the cafeteria’s kitchen
to get a new man;
Ms. baked him,
after which the Mrs. iced him,
& then they tore him in half.
When the 2 couch potatoes wed,
they turned into a bowl of lumpy mash.
When they had their small fry,
they realized they needed to set a better example,
so they drank beta-carotene smoothies every morning,
turning them into the far less palatable sweet potato.
For 10 years,
Messy Wheeler had been
“as cute as a button,”
but when her little sister, Fussy,
who was “cuter than a buttonhole,”
to make her case,
said that you could have a button
without a buttonhole,
but not the other way around,
for buttonholes had no
functional or decorative value.
She pined for the days
when people were more sophisticated
than their technology,
yet she loved the technology
that allowed her to watch the movies made
during those days before
that technology had come to be.
Because she gave respect
without it having to be earned first,
she found that she often received it.
When someone lost her respect,
she did not disrespect them,
left them to their own electronic devices.
She scrolled down her friend list,
unfriending those she had never known,
but who had been watching her life
more than she ever knew.
He was a showoff
she just liked to tell people off,
but it was he who wrote the better stories,
for he followed the rule of showing,
She was the Author & Finisher of the Book of Faith,
for she could take 5 sentences & 2 words,
& enlighten the masses with 5000 stories.
Her husband said her imagination
ran away with her,
but it was she who had run away with it.
All her life,
she’d followed that imagination,
like an imaginary friend,
& through it,
she had met the most amazing people
with whom she’d had
the most amazing experiences.
Although a mismatched pair of socks,
Lefty & Righty still served a dual purpose:
to keep their contents warm—
in winter & in summer,
in smelly times & in freshly-laundered times,
in plush times & in threadbare times—
for as long as they remained un-holey.
For the brunette bombshell
known as Buxom Brown,
Jenna & Barbara Bush
lived in 2 different zip codes,
but when Bux got her reduction,
all that double-duty heavy lifting
was behind her,
for this girl’s 2 best assets
were now known as Jen & Barb.
Sox the Cat & Shooz the Dog–
named for what they unraveled or chewed up–
sold for pennies on the pound.
When they crossed piddle & poo paths
with Cashmere the Cat & Jimmy Choo the Dog,
they were reviled for their generic breeding.
But Sox & Shooz were major leaguers,
for by their names alone,
they represented EveryCat & EveryDog.
So this ragtag duo got together
with all the other neighborhood pets & strays,
& the candy asses of Cashmere & Choo
were kicked to the curb
where the garbage can diet was the only thing
on the menu.
When the learned astronomer went blind,
he hired a foundling—
a lost soul hovering between heaven & hell.
A wealthy intellectual
(which was an oxymoron, for some),
he asked the boy to be his eyes,
to describe everything he saw.
And it was through the eyes of the blind,
that the learned astronomer’s apprentice,
through service to another,
reached his potential.
When the learned astronomer closed his eyes
for the final time in earth-space,
the boy’s eyes had been opened,
for there’d been nothing he’d ever had
that had been of value to anyone,
except to the learned astronomer
whose last sight was feel of the boys’ wet face
in his hands.
She bicycled, upcycled, & recycled,
Her collar had faded from blue to white,
only to deepen into green.
She planted herself where she would grow the most–
an environment where she could be her most creative.
And with every ripening
& every reaping,
there would not be an uprooting,
but a replanting,
for she would leave a seed in her place–
ready to help the next person grow
in that place.
As Angel & Demon walked side by side in a parallel universe,
they came upon an impressionable human being
hitchhiking their way through the galaxy–
now standing before that split in the wishbone.
These 2 otherworldly beings were on a mission:
to gain a soul,
a lost one.
The Demon told this being
that all their senses would be heightened
to anything they had ever experienced on Earth;
the Angel said that what they would experience
beyond the mythical pearly gates
would transcend all senses.
When the human being chose the planet
of the sun rays & the moon beams
over the one of candlelight & firelight,
they realized that they’d been to this place before,
& that the life they’d known had been a scavenger hunt–
where only a minority had figured out
that it was not themselves they were looking for,
but the Ticketmaster with the unlimited tickets
that had already been paid for.