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Even T. S. Eliot couldn’t get a deal

when he pitched The Wasteland limited series,

so that crazy premise based on your lame

lemonade stand verses won’t get off the ground.

You don’t even have fateful fortune tellers or

impatient barmen and your childhood characters

are trite and unreflective of grander social mores.

You should return to your drafts, have the

stand burn down, get sunk in a deep morass of

moss-draped swamp water, dissolve like a

shipwreck from the Near East and entrap

beneath its counter tokens of ill-starred scamps.

Depict distressed clients, kicking thin cups on the

sidewalk and bedraggled housemaids clinging to

some forlorn hunk of pulp, hoping for a fresh

squirt to transform their existence.

Then maybe you’ll get a second look.

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“We should have a flashback,” said Jeff spreading

his hands, “of the time he stowed away, scared,

riding in a test capsule with no one,

trapped in  a long orbit he never made.”

At which Leslie puffed on her cigarette.

“Don’t make me laugh, you hack. That’s the oldest

cliché in the book. The dark childhood mess

come back to enmesh him in its tight grasp.”

Her straight brunette bangs jittered. “Rollo stares

space in the face, unafraid. A mighty

white-suited orbit warrior, darting

into the far reaches of the unknown.”

Milton rubbed at the ache in his forehead.

“We know Rollo’s tough, but we gotta glimpse

his tender side. Maybe a space babe, a

statuesque princess from Mars with some spunk.”

“You have to be kidding,” sneered dry Leslie.

“The last thing we need is a Mars vixen,

a small-brained twit to simper at space hunks.”

“Let’s just do a jelly monster,” urged Jeff,

“like the one in ‘Moon of the Unhallowed’.

we can all get behind slimy feelers.”

There were reluctant nods. The meeting stopped

at four with notes on grappling tentacles.

Tough Girls – a poem

Tough girls

in grocery store parking lots

intimidating children.

They consider doing violent things with grocery carts

and smack their gum loudly, like soldiers bouncing tin cans off brick walls.

They posture and flaunt,

proud of their tops,

knowing every crack in the lot.

No one from the coffee stand will wave them away.

They sneer at local dogs and petition people.

Soak in the yawping sun, disdaining lotion,

daring their skin to darken.

Nighttime clambers onto them, bringing no quiet,

Spurring them on to jeer at loud cars,

their bravado rising with every baffled elder clutching a reusable bag.

A dimly lit Taco Bell.  ESTELLE sways to the counter.

 

ESTELLE
(wig askew)

Make mine a double.

 

PEPE points to a sign.

 

PEPE
Like to try our new meat lover’s taco?

 

ESTELLE
Don’t tempt me, honey child!

 

PEPE

Miss, you’re getting lipstick on my poncho.

 

CURTAIN

Two burritos appeared on a sign board,

And pretty sure I could eat only one

And be left unsickened, long I stood

And looked on for as long as I could

To the trays that they were served upon.

 

I saw the large, saucy Macho Beef,

And having perhaps the greater fame,

Since it was quite massive and flaunted meat;

While the weirder Tropical Treat

Had nuts and fruits that might be lame.

 

And both that evening temptingly lay

In long trays with a paper sack.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

And knowing how tray leads on to tray,

I doubted not I would often come back.

 

I shall tell this one day with a sigh

By some ruined Mexican fence:

Two burritos appeared on a board, and, yeah —

I took the one less frequently tried,

And that has made all the difference.

We interrupt this burrito

We interrupt this burrito

to bring you a chicken with no ulterior motive

luxuriating in a ravine where the leftover Panda

rots in the sunset.

When a headless mole makes the effort,

sets up a marmoset playground with fabricated logs

and collects porcelain bras from exotic countries,

the discriminating Teutophile adjusts his vest and

combs his mustache: incommensurable blocks of cheese,

floating above the intersection, surprisingly petrified,

make their own plans when day care is condemned.

Just as Cousin Rollo failed with his omelet,

and raised a race of rats that developed fears of seedlings,

Maxine will tear apart each taquito, shred by shred,

until she has conquered her final cuisine.

When you leave Sears at midnight

Turn off the lights for the mongoose

And luxuriate in a papaya tea

The gypsy woman with the eyeliner

Will wait in the boxcar

Undeterred by sheriffs

And dental assistants

Where the slides of her youth betrayed a razor

A man with rollerblade sides

Who took too long to appreciate her gum

These are the voyages of a girl who takes trips

Where the beaches are less photogenic

Than the steel folds of your lost hometown

And the desiccated potatoes of Mrs. Lindstrom

Who knew more about driveways than you ever will.

Plumber Poem

She imitated a successful plumber,

knocking on doors with no reason,

replacing arachnids for the saddest girls

and knocking back orange mimosas on the pine-edged porch

after a hard day of washers.

Eventually she enrolled everyone in her ranch dip diet

showing them how to twirl the cylindrical vegetables

and laughing at the simple acceptance of their faces.

It was only when she took off the olive garments

and confronted the same refrigerator as always

that the parades and the banners took on the same bad aftertaste,

the metallic knowledge of the underwhelmed.

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The Invisible Mummy dragged his bandaged feet across miles of bleak desert before finally sighting a place to assuage his raging hunger: a vulnerable, isolated Del Taco.

The Invisible Mummy grunted in dry, thirst-roughened satisfaction. At the lonesome taco outlet he would satisfy both his cravings for food and creating mayhem at poorly guarded places of business.

Continued:

 

The Invisible Mummy Goes to Lunch

The Invisible Mummy was having another bad day.
 
He’d been causing disturbances at the used car dealership, making mild bits of mayhem by disconnecting computers from wall sockets, smearing windows with bandage grease and pushing Mini Coopers out of their parking spaces. But the inattentive car dealers were too bored, distracted or hungover to notice his disruptions….. http://bit.ly/2uq3By8