He grew fed up with the Army. He had put in 25 years, but the last five had been totally discombobulated, one snafu after another. Everything was FUBAR and he grew wholly disgruntled with it all. He knew it was time to go, to bail out, and no one tried to stop him, to change his mind. He shipped his uniforms off to Goodwill, grew a beard. He learned to speak vernacular English again, not the military version with its own weird argot. He would be happy, he knew, with this new life. But he wanted more, he wanted to be gruntled, to be fully combobulated, to hell with Merriam-Webster who said he couldn’t because they didn’t exist.
As kids every couple of weeks
we’d take our allowances,
go down to the variety store
and buy the latest DC comic.
Larry and I would spend
that afternoon imagining
we were whatever superhero
was featured in our new,
and now most prized book.
Jimmy was with us
all the way, but admitted
he wanted to be Lex Luthor or
or the Joker, or better still
So we probably should not
have been surprised that
while I became a lawyer
and Larry a classics professor,
Jimmy became a politician.
I have decided it is now time
and I am establishing a new
field of study that blends
mathematics and political science,
which I have named idiometry.
Simply put, idiometry allows one
to measure just how close one can
take the statements or promises
if any politician and square
them with the actual facts.
Then you repeat this for all
of the statements of that politician
and you inevitably find the square
unattainable, there simply are
no perfect squares yet achieved
in idiometry, for no politician
ever seen on a public stage
hews perfectly to facts, always
veering off into self interest
or blatant ideology, so perhaps
idiometry isn’t worth it, telling us
what we already knew full well.
Technology has afforded those of us
with impairments the ability
to more fully participate
in the world around us.
However we can never lose sight,
a painful use of the phrase
in my case, of its imperfections.
Perhaps it is merely anticipating
the future of our species, as when
the phones captioning decided
a somewhat elided Marsha and Barry
was in fact Martian berries.
As crazy as that seems at first,
looking around at how we
have laid waste to this planet
exobiology and exobotany
may be the last and only
hope for our species, but
I do wonder how they will taste.
He was nondescript, innocuous. He named his dog Dog. His cat was called Cat. He grew daring with his parakeet and named it Wings. He wore beige from head to toe. Even his Sunday best, his “weddings and funerals suit” he called it, was beige. People wondered if his underwear was beige. He swore that it was, but with just enough of a smirk people couldn’t be certain. His house was painted beige as were his roof shingles. His car was beige inside and out. All his furniture was pine or a light oak. When he died, they found a note with instructions on the funeral, the burial, every detail, on beige paper, of course. And they found the beige suit bag in the closet with the rainbow colored suit that he was to be buried in.
There are mornings
when I wish
I could be the cat,
sit in the corner,
close my eyes and
watch the world
The cat breaks
my reverie, purring
there is room for one
and this role
is all mine.
First appeared in The Flying Dodo, Issue 4, January 2023
THE OLD ROCKER
I reached the point in life
where I know the Byrds were right,
I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now, and
for good measure Jethro Tull knew
I was too old to rock ‘n’ roll
but far too young to die.
And yet I am still inchoate,
a product of the Big Bang, stellar
dust accreted temporarily.
And the Webb Space Telescope
has given me the next best thing
to immortality, for when the time comes
and I hope it isn’t all that soon,
when my body is cremated, that
momentary heat signature will
be seen in some planet in a galaxy
at the edge of the universe
some 13 billion years later,
long after my ashes will have
returned to the cosmos,
from where I came.
Why is it that so many songwriters
have an intense need, a desire really,
to leave the listener wondering
in frustration at how the story ends.
I can forgive Leonard Cohen for his
Hallelujah for no one is quite certain
how many verses he wrote, although
more than 80 seems to be the number,
so perhaps a missing one or ten
concludes the various stories
the song has told through time.
And Harry Chapin did give us
an ending of sorts to Taxi,
in his song Sequel, but even there
he left the door ajar, but he died
too young, so any subsequent sequels
went to the grave with him.
And one offender I cannot yet forgive
is the Ode to Billy Joe, since really,
he’s gone but that wasn’t enough
for brother, and you’d think
he would have a name since
he married Becky Thompson,
and what kind of store did they buy,
why in Tupelo, was she from there, and
what, if anything, do we know about her?
He was the smallest, that
is what drew you to him.
Still, he had a certain bravado
a serious strut to his walk.
Perhaps it was because
his father was there, a protector
in part, in another part a challenge.
He knew his mother was looking
so it became a matter of pride.
He could imagine himself
a father one day, his own children
trailing behind him threatening
to break away, knowing full well
they were not ready yet, needed
him for protection from
the always present predators.
That was life in the wetland
for most wading birds,
the only life he knew or wanted.