unsouled merchandise

the plastic form, the plastic grin;
the blurbs beneath the bubble wrap
commit a pleonastic sin:
they don’t seduce, but do entrap.

ideas, feelings, memories;
the message in a loved one’s eyes:
you are the one i long to please.
this plastic is a ghoul’s disguise;

its maker knows we love to give
and do not trust a home-grown gift
will pass the is it worthy? sieve,
and ads sow seeds of doubt. short shrift’s

conferred to those who do not spend.
thus money’s love’s analogy,
and thus the moneychangers lend,
and then collect rapaciously.

let’s from this artificial pit
retreat, and up a true path climb;
we’ll learn that ultimately it
means most when we give love plus time.

g. bowers, agent of ARROYO (alternate reality rectangles of youth ordained)

the funnies, to answer no question,
like NANCY and PEANUTS and such,
made windows to buttress the bastion
a kid needs to starsky his hutch.

in book form were comics like X-MEN
and BATMAN and HERBY and PEP
realities strange as a henchman
DICK TRACY would trace and–nab?–yep!

some funnies were crack-us-up laughable:
UNfunny but suited for sneering,
some wisecracking dialogue affable,
some action distractive-to-veering.

some artists belonged in asylums,
and some of their work in the Louvre,
some classics were seek-ems-&-buy-ems,
some stuff from the Sixties a grouvre.

the best should be well-wrapped in plastic
and kept from acidity’s harm;
leave stretching to Mister Fantastic;
seek Scarlet[t] (Johansson? Witch?) charm.

the kid in us all is eternal.
the youth is within to arrange;
it’s true just as Springtime is vernal;
just DOCTOR with touches of STRANGE.

(Afterverse note: I admit to a strong Silver Age Marvel bias.)

NOTE: NaPoWriMo is shorthand for National Poetry Writing Month, which was founded on April Fool’s Day, 1996. To participate, the goal (“mission”) is a minimum of one poem a day, every day through the month. But there are no requirements. The Facebook page says “NaPoWrimo is a contest you hold with yourself, so grab inspiration from whereever or whatever you want. Write about anything you want.” I see my own participation as an opportunity to become a more well-versed (haha) poet by setting additional challenges; and the challenge I want to meet today is to write a “prose poem.” (There is controversy about what constitutes a prose poem; for instance, what would distinguish it from flash fiction? My personal definition is “writing shorter than a short-short story that contains both storytelling and fanciful turns of phrase without relying on stanzas or other form-specific line breakage.”)

The SHAME of It All, Or Not

Shame drives my car. I do not own a car. Shame is what I feel when I think of what I regard as my criminal history. I have never been arrested, indicted or tried in a court of law. I paid a ticket for Consuming Alcohol While Driving a Motorized Vehicle once. The shame was that I was caught. I had accepted a Michelob bottle from the young, attractive woman in the passenger seat on our way to skiing. Skiing is sliding down snow in near-frictionless fashion. The friction is reduced via wax. One brand of wax for surfboards is Sex Wax. Its popularity relies obliquely on Shame. I have used boogie-boards and my body to surf, but never a surfboard. Thirty-five years ago I “borrowed” some hundreds of dollars from a cash box belonging to a company I was working for. I replaced it within a day, but during that day I was stealing, and could easily have been indicted, tried and convicted.  My behavior changed, but don’t take my word for it; sometimes I tell lies. We all tell lies, but that does not excuse mine.

fraidy cap

light s too bright so let us dim it
here discussing heavy stuffs
fear is awful needs a limit
in a lifetime s starks and roughs

with insurance out of pocket
sees a max and then relief
that fits fear like ball & socket
cortisol & chain & grief

dostoevsky kafka swinburne
shirley jackson stephen king
cast the arts with palls & sinburn
crafted well enough to sting

deaths of philip seymour hoffman
amy winehouse mickey r
films of tarantino scoff man
euver myth across the bar

worldis scary worldis doomful
life is precious too soon gone
we ve delusions by the roomful
taliban to telethon

fear the need for medication
fear the monster fear the whip
fight with calm and dedication
kiss the sweetheart child on hip

cap the fear and tame it quell it
use a focus on a friend
use a handhold then compel it
to a corner to its end


Blunt Object, Blunter Mind

Once upon a time there was an object.
It was colloquially known as a Sap, or a Blackjack, or a Cooler.
It was leather and it was filled with birdshot or some other form of lead
And it was used as a weapon.
You’d read about it in detective/crime magazines.

Doing an Internet search on the keywords Sap Blackjack Cooler
One finds that “Once upon a time” includes today,
And that there’s at least one discussion forum
Where the relative merits of Saps, Batons, and Sap Gloves
Are fervently discussed.

The phrase “Dojo bunnies” cracked me up.

The brief synopsis of effective strike zones
By a fellow from Tennessee
Gave me the willies.


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