Buck Rich had sought his fortune
with 2-dimensional kings & queens,
rich & desperate old dowagers,
drunken bar bets,
the dogs & the ponies,
& numbered balls that went pong-ping.
But it wasn’t till he started his YouTube channel—
“Buck Naked Rich,”
based on the Prosperity Gospel—
that he became the morning & the evening star,
for there was no surer bet than those who sought
to buy their way to heaven
while being entertained about it.
She had learned that the key to a happy life
was to take your work seriously
not so much,
& that to have a sixth sense—
that sense called humor—
was a gift not just for the receiver
but also the giver,
for if laughter was the best medicine,
then humor was the best prevention.
Every John who came through
“Lorelei’s Happily Ever After, Inc.”
would learn that their slogan—
“If you’re not happy,
it’s not the end”—
was all too true,
for they went in as John Smith,
only to leave as John Doe.
She was a “Dancing Queen,”
he, a “Rhinestone Cowboy”;
she was as urban as he was rural,
but they shone
for the rising stars they were—
she with her cubic zirconia tiara,
with his holographic buttons.
When they hooked up,
it was a stellar collision,
& they birthed a bigger star
than they ever were—
the androgynous Rhinestone Queen.
She had grown up with Pat & Vanna—
witnessing the progression
of the turning of the letters
to the touching of the letters,
of Pat’s lousy jokes & receding hairline,
& the ushering in of the
lame-ass “crossword” category.
Through “The Wheel,”
she’d learned her alphabet,
then her spelling,
then the combinations of words
& the categorization of those combinations.
She’d learned to count in fifties & hundreds
before twos & fives
& that mispronouncing a word
could cost you dearly.
She’d seen snippets of every part of the world
& where they were located on the map,
so that she was curious enough to look them up
in Encyclopedia Brittanica.
She’d learned when to take chances
& when to play it safe.
When she became a contestant—
meeting these personalities
who’d lit up her living room
with their Fifties blandness—
it was like living her childhood dream
& connecting with a friend
that had grown up with her
without them even knowing it.
The money she won changed her life
but only because she used it
to change someone else’s.
When Kitty Carlisle joined Toastmasters—
she, who’d always considered herself
the Toast of Town & Country—
fell in lust with Mr. Milquetoast,
who buttered her up
with a little brandied mincemeat jam,
so that she was drunk when she said,
When she became Toastmaster General,
he was known as Mr. Kitty Carlisle,
the cool cat who’d settled for
toaster leavins’ & spoilt milk.
To save their rubber chicken wedding,
Mrs. Kentucky Fried—
also known as an angel with wings
with the breasts & thighs to match—
showed a little leg
as she danced back & forth
across the yellowing, crumbling brick road,
having the guests try to figure out why
she was up to such chicken shit.
But the bride found herself in a real sour pickle
when the egg came
before her groom did.
There was no ebb to her life,
a flow of information that was like a deluge,
without enough time to process it all,
so she limited the amount of useless information
of internet prattle that she came across
by putting down her phone
& picking up a book,
for there was still prestige in print.
Her life was lived in patterns–
houndstooth in the fall,
plaid in the winter,
floral in the spring,
& paisley in the summer.
She’d looked like everything
from curtains to tablecloths,
from bedspreads to wallpaper,
but when her friend sent her a little red dress–
she realized that she no longer blended in
but stood out,
for the rest of the world was all mixed up
in 50 shades of grey.
Meg Trundy was a sofa-sitting,
binge-watching pile of marshmallow fluff.
When the TV got crushed by a giant meteor
in the shape of a hard-to-find size 10 shoe,
she went to the library to change her lifestyle,
only to end up changing her life.