In the vast, unmapped Land of Ikea,
Where a sign to the exit led us on paths
Of inventive meander,
On slithery trails, like the s-curves
Of a python chasing a rat.
It might have been the alleys of Tim Buk Tu...
With signs that maddeningly brought us back
To where we began,
A false-front village...
There when we started...
But second time through had disappeared.
Though our third time around,
We did see a chair that was there at the start
Of our march to the sea...
To our Dunkirk and hopeful evacuation.
But the sign nearby to the exit we followed,
Is the one that returned us
To this very spot.
Evidently, the python
Didn't want us to leave.
Now, what tone should this poem take...
Murmur, hope, exhilaration?
A tone as tough as a battle hymn,
As deadly as a lighted fuse...
Or unsure and rueful,
Intending love, but shy as a sonnet,
A lamentation of lost opportunities...
Or brook-side gentle, teary from beauty,
Willows and breezes and blankets to lie on...
Or maybe a voice of common notice,
As spare as a Hopper on the wall,
That seems alive. but has little pulse...
Or a provocative tone of torso and tease,
Shrewd and savvy and prairie-wide
With room to imagine
Much more than exists.
The unsolicited robo call...
The "we need 10 more donations
In the next half hour" call...
The "would you take a quick survey" call"...
The "I'm glad you picked up,
My mother-in-law's calling on the other line" call...
The dinner-time "your new-car warrantee is up
And you need auto repair coverage" call...
May each of them be seethed in sour milk
And broken dreams...forever,
Since robo calls are hard not to answer,
Even in the midst of a carnal fling,
Since it might be
Publishers Clearing House calling.
In a super market parking lot
A woman shouted, "Mister".
Then, more insistent, "Mister, Mister".
I paid no attention...
Surely, it wasn't meant for me.
But the shout of, "Mister, Mister", persisted.
So I turned to make sure,
That I wasn't the mister she meant...
But I was.
"Mister" your avocado,
You didn't put it in your bag,
And handed me the avocado
I left behind.
And I, most grateful, gave my thanks.
Then, self-effacing, she turned
And faded into the mists of good deeds.
And me, I smiled,
Knowing I escaped the despair
Of a lost avocado.
There were no mourners
For hospital corners.
On the day they died from fitted sheets...
The toss and billow
Of a pull-on sheet...
With cleverly sewn-in permanent corners...
Taut as a sailboat's jib in the wind
And quick as pulling on underwear.
Now all the bed-makers, from that day on,
Have much more time
To vacuum and dust.
In full protective regalia,
Squeezed into the apartment.
The air, terrified by his size,
Escaped into the hallway,
Causing a whoosh and a ripple of dust
That rose in his wake.
He turned to face us,
Knocking a closet door off its hinges.
His helmet collided with a high-hanging
Sending it into a fatal, floor-bound spin.
He walked wide,
Scraping artwork off the walls.
There could be no polite offer of refreshments,
Since we were all out of vat-size drinks.
We called because a carbon monoxide detector
Registered 30, not its usual 0.
He reset it to 0,
Saying it happens all the time.
Then he tripped on the broken chandelier,
Going out the door,
Righting himself with a hand to the wall...
The carpenter next week
Will fix the sheetrock.
"I could care less",
Is baleful and grim
Especially when said
With, maybe, a finger-jab in the chest...
A menace that leaves
Not a flicker of hope,
That he'll cut you some slack.
And there's no shade of difference,
If the bagman says,
"I couldn't care less."
Which is a tad more grammatical,
But likely means only
The bagman passed English.
* Someone who collects money for racketeers.
In the annals of unlikely pairings
Were Bennett Hogg and Joshua Hamm,
The former, a tailor's son with religious ennui,
But also terrifying visions
Of needles and bobbins,
Who eventually found spiritual solace
And then priestly ordination, as a rabbi.
And the latter, who went from lead singer
For Millennium Trayf, a rock band,
Who also dragged himself
To the spiritual mountaintop,
Earning his cantorial chops with a masters
In traditional renditions of familiar
Both, strangers to one another,
Were thrown together in a lottery
Known as First Pulpit,
Making sure that all synagogues,
No matter how remote,
Were clerically rostered...in this case
The Stu Valley Hebrew Center,
Ministering to the needs of a small
Midwestern kosher meat packing town.
Maxwell Loomy asked for more time
In the voting booth...
Time to settle his thoughts about the nominees...
To make sure he'd pick the perfect one.
Let's move it,
Said someone behind him.
It can't be a mystery,
The campaign's been going for a year and a half.
I know these people better than my own family...
And I'm gettin' hungry.
Another said he was late for dialysis.
Another had leg cramps.
Another had to pick up his daughter
And said he'd be happy to pick one out for him.
If this was McDonald's,
He said roughly,
They'd have thrown you out by now.
Said Loomy still muddled,
You'll never find me at McDonald's.
Aggravation feeds on itself...
Then worsens to acrimony,
And works itself up to vendetta,
At which point,
I'd wish you a splash of soap in the eye,
Or a stubbed toe in the dark,
Or brain freeze from frozen drinks,
Or leg cramps
(and no one around to massage them),
Or curdled milk that clumps in your coffee,
And pours as lumpy white sludge on your corn flakes...
Things greatly unpleasant,
But of no lasting harm.
It pains me to get worked up to vendetta,
So let's leave it at aggravation
And we'll still be friends.