The Usual, Please, on Cracked
Wheat with Mayo
The tanned woman in the Midwest deli
yesterday re-convinced me I’m superficial.
Not that I needed re-convincing since
regularly I’m the irregular normal person
at the international annual convention
of practitioners who see things differently.
Whenever they feature that multi-humped
camel in their closing ceremonial parade
shaped like a cloud lolling overhead
I can only stiffen my neck and note my
intermittent blues and thus always miss
my chance for imaginative prefabrication.
I’ve tried those correspondence courses
that guarantee amazing untapped sectors
of one’s brain will suddenly come alive
and have in fact vastly improved both
my cartoons depicting eye-patched pirates
and my respect and appreciation for one’s
childhood wounds. But more often I’m
forced to demand my money back then
simply reinvest it in the faster foods—or,
if available, the finer foods served fast—
or deftly pocket it to fund fevered outings
in search of Brillo, two-for-one foaming
drain de-plugger and of course cheap old
Beaujolais Nouveau. Just once just once
I’d like to walk into my local sub shop, take
my place in line, chin held high, and not
let the predictable dilemma between lean
pastrami and freshly compressed head cheese
reduce me to my usual common denominators.
At the bottom of the bag, the cul-
de-sac, under the last batch of cans
to be mangled by the recycler—
a smear I remember must be
batshit. Back at the cabin she’d
flapped me into one of those
then finally landed, hung
just long enough to drop
into a crumpled dark
that released her to the world
she’d longed for all along.
In transit, though, evidently
more senseless terror, that
I pity whoever discovers the sack
that got me here. But please,
consider that ambush, that
spasm, that bright expulsion.
And please consider me now
in this new world I didn’t know
I’d longed for all along.
D. R. James’s latest of ten collections are Mobius Trip and Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2021, 2020), and his prose and poems have appeared in a wide variety of print and online anthologies and journals. Recently retired from teaching college writing, literature, and peace studies, James vegges, writes, and cycles with his psychotherapist wife in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan.
image: “Spicey Life:” Andrea Damic lives in Sydney, Australia. Words in @50wordstories, @FridayFlashFict, @paragraphplanet, @100WordsFTW and Microfiction Monday Magazine.Photographs in @rejectionlit, @FusionArtPS and several others pending print publication in @DoorIsAJarMag. Follow Andrea on TW @DamicAndrea. One day she hopes to finish and publish her novel.