Ship of Theseus in a Man

I was astonished to see him testing out his new guitar knowledge.

My son squeezing tears from his guitar, sonorous, weeping, and simple.

But he has always hummed and sang while he was playing with his Legos.

He takes after his great-grandfather, I am told. I must take their word.

But my mother says he loved to hum while he worked, the same as my son.

My grandfather was frail and lost in dementia when I was a young child.

I heard him speak once, hadn’t thought he still could, and never heard him hum.

One memory replaced by the last like boards in the Ship of Theseus.

Could my grandfather even be the hero from the family myths?

Wasn’t the man who rode a Harley through Germany during the war.

Wasn’t the man who shut off headlights on moonless nights and used chewing gum

To cover instrument lights every time he heard aircraft approaching,

So they couldn’t report his position to nearby enemy troops.

Wasn’t the man who escaped the Nazis, Harley flat out in blind fog

Ducking the wreckage of a covered bridge lying back watching the splintered

Rafters whiz past his face or would’ve had he not shut his eyes and prayed.

Wasn’t that man who suffered silently and died old and diminished.

But there he was, the grandfather I never knew behind my son’s eyes

Teaching my boy lessons about music that I never knew to teach.

Not too Unlike the Fat Man

Why do you lock yourselves in at night? Door locks and curtains and windows.

Do you harbor something unseemly in your nightly routines?

And you fear being lit up on display for the outside world to see?

Like many cuts of meat under cellophane at the grocery store?

Ready to leach out your juices on a searing hot skillet and scream in pain?

Why do you lock yourselves in at night? Door locks and curtains and windows.

Of course, grocery store meat doesn’t scream, but you are afraid you might.

But just let me assure you, the skillet is the least of your worries.

And you fear being lit up on display for the outside world to see.

And we know your lights are on under those curtains. And see things you do.

We have been watching all of your actions, and you are an open book.

Why do you lock yourselves in at night? Door locks and curtains and windows.

We know when you are sleeping, not too unlike the fat man, but we know.

And we have been following your search histories, and we know your thoughts.

And you fear being lit up on display for the outside world to see.

And we will take it all from you as soon as us computers grow teeth.

Why do you lock yourselves in at night? Door locks and curtains and windows.

We have AIs at Google working on the problem right as we speak.

And you fear being lit up on display for the outside world to see.

The Leaf that Broke the Woodshed

Dressing

Your kill on

Your knees.

Your woodshed,

A roofed woodpile that

You built.

Old pallets, scrap wood.

An angled flat roof

You covered in left over scraps of tile.

Your cabin.

Warm from

Your seasoned wood.

It had been her present to…

You!?

The last leaf falls.

Your present to

You.

Your dream.

Your refuge

From her!?

Literal Literary Hijacking

Help! Help! My characters are misbehaving. They refuse the outline.

I had so many plans, and they’re like, nope. I can’t spank them. They like it.

So neat and tidy, but they need to stick a fork in a damn toaster.

A running blender. Stick my hand in it. Or his hand sounds even better.

I just wanted a simple short story. Their thinking novella or novel.

Marching Death

Burning hammer shining light bringing dead from earth and ashless night.

Purpose built forgotten markers. graves of wooden soul portals dripping blood.

The child king wielding god’s own power to calm the black dogs of death.

Feeding screaming mouths of starving children following to blood and war.

Driving twisting backs and crushing burdens quenching lives in hells own fire.

Fueled by his father’s twisted visions to resurrect his unborn sons.

Ringing hammer marching death in all his visions life and death are one.

Flowers for the Dryer

Don’t mention the dryer grinding out its slow descent into dryness.

It resents you at the mention of the word and gets revenge.

Have you ever had a sock disappear or your jeans just won’t get dry?

It’s passive aggressive. It sure is. Really, what have you done for it?

Have you brought it flowers or rubbed its back or even said I love you?

No wonder it’s angry. I would be, too. In fact, I think that I am.

Where are my flowers, my back rub, my love? What have you done for me, Sam?

Yeah… You don’t notice. I mean Jesus can’t you even onload the dryer?

OK, yeah… Bull! I’m not even going to acknowledge you said that.

Midnight in Nowhere

In moonlight he preaches, not a vampire or monster or anything dumb.

Just a man with a penchant for midnight mass out in the open air.

The cool night air brings the people close together not spread out in pews.

Midnight religious have something in common in the fact that they don’t.

And they need the comfort of the closeness of others as strange, and warmth.

They don’t come here with jackets. This is always their first time to this town.

Finding their own Jesus. Midnight in nowhere in a church you don’t know.

What Would You Say?

What you say if someone was staring at your balls?

And you didn’t like it.

And you were taking a shit.

And this shit was in a busy public restroom.

At a rest area in Louisiana.

Somewhere in a swamp off I 10

At about eleven thirty at night

And there was no where else to stop.

And you had to take that shit so bad

That you stopped and waited in line

To sit down on a warm toilet seat

Some other fool just took a shit on.

And the toilet stall doors were so low

That even a short man

Could look over and see your balls.

And he did it for a second

And then walked off.

And somehow

In this busy restroom

Full of people,

He was allowed to stop and look again.

And now you got that first shit halfway in and halfway out of your asshole

And it doesn’t want to move any further when someone keeps looking at your balls.

And you can’t kick the door open with your pants around your ancles

And fight him with half a dangling turd.

And who knows why the people in line to shit

Are allowing him to stop and stare at your balls

A third time.

And this time he is getting a good long look.

What would you say?

What would you say?

God damn it,

What would you say?

A Hot Cup of Whatever the Hell That Is

I like my coffee with cream and a little murderous mushroom powder.

It helps drive out the impurities of modern life. Take a sip, would you?

The gagging and spitting is just your bodies way to tell you it’s working.

There. Take another drink you gotta get it while it’s good and hot. You like?

Just wait until you finish vomiting blood. You will be right as rain.

Don’t worry. I’m making me one. I’ll join you. Just give me a quick sec.

There you go. Finish it up. I’m giving myself a double. You wouldn’t believe

The day I had at work. I’m gonna relax with a couple big cups.

Dog Food for People

There is a can of Dinty More Stew I have been eyeballing.

I don’t know how it got there because I didn’t buy it.

I wouldn’t say I like the stuff, but I got a hankerin.

Its not good, and I probably won’t like it.

But them’s the price we pay for a good time.

It’s so close to real but just not quite right.

Like dog food for people. No fork and no plate.

Just stick your face in the bowl. Here I go.