(pdf in November 2010; Print in December)
("Grumpy" anthologized in Ekphrastia Gone Wild from Ain't Got No Press, Aug. '13)
I Got Yer “Grumpy” Right Here, Pal I guess you’d be pretty grumpy, too if you shared a crackerbox cottage with six other chirpy little bastards, up every day at the crack of dawn with a merry Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho on their lips, off to work after nothing but a meager bowl of gruel, carrying pickaxes and a box of dynamite, leaving behind such a rare beauty, a fair-skinned brown-eyed princess to sweep up after them, make up their beds, wash out their nasty sheets, no one keeping her company but a bunch of dopey bluebirds. What a waste. And speaking of dopey, let me just say a few words about a couple of the schmucks I work with: I busted a thumb about a month ago and found out Doc’s not much of a real doc; and I don’t know what it is that keeps that nitwit Sleepy nodding all day or Happy so friggin happy, but sooner or later there’s bound to be a cave-in and, frankly, I’ll be glad for the time off. Maybe then I’d get to hang around the house, see if the princess comes across with a little TLC. Now, that might improve my attitude some, eh? Go away now, you’re buggin me. When He’s Sixty-Four He gets pulled over again, and this time the cop is only about fifteen years old, wants to know what’s up; tells him there’s always been a stop sign at the bottom of the hill; says he must be blind or crazy, flying through there like that; tells him he ought to turn off the radio, get his mind on his driving. He tells the cop he’s sorry; he says he was thinking about his old friend John who got shot in front of his hotel, right in front of his wife and the cop says yeah well that’s awful and all but, still, ya gotta slow it down, Sir; gotta slow it down and watch the signs or you’re gonna end up dead yourself —And he’s not so deaf he can’t hear the condescending tone in how the cop says sir; the way a bad father speaks to a stubborn child— The cop says I’m gonna let it slide this time, Sir, but, still, you gotta watch the signs. Yeah, yeah, yeah he says, I hear you. Signs. Huh. Imagine. EGG TEST This is Nish. Point to Nish. Good. This is Hondar. Point to Hondar. Now point to Nish. Good. This is Kiptron. Point to Kiptron. Good. Now point to Nish. Point to Hondar. Good. This is uh, Whatsisname. Point to whatsisname. Now point to Hondar. Kiptron. Nish. Good. This is a tough one. Point. Good. Now Hondar. Whatsisname. Nish. Kiptron. Good. Point. Point. Kiptron. Good. Whatsisname. Uh, point. Now Hondar. Nish. Good. Good. Good. Point. Good.