Why I Shouldn't...

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Why I Shouldn’t Go to the Mall Anymore

Two men opened their jackets

in front of the miniature Christmas train,

and out of their baggy clothing they drew

a hatchet and a two-by-four.

They split mountains in two

and flattened passenger cars, and

flung parts of the caboose into some

General Tso’s chicken. The men tossed

a locomotive through the artificial,

pink storefront of Victoria’s Secret,

knocking aside a corseted mannequin

and exposing her plastic skin.

The security guards ran to the throng

and stopped to call the police on their

cell phones. A crowd had formed a ring

around the two men’s campaign.

The men looked between the people

and the trains, and waited, but the rabble

just pulled out their phones to capture them.

After the antiquated rail-based industry

of the town lay ruined and it’s wooden bankers

cried face-flat but unharmed, the men smiled

and glided towards a green Jeep with

a red bow on top. The crowd parted,

then followed. And I followed them in turn.

The men busted the windows

and slashed the tires, and stripped

the price tag and ribbon from

the Jeep’s cold body. By then

the police approached. They waited

for what they were owed, so the men

took their last licks and

kicked the bumper askew,

then gave up their toys,

hung their heads,

and glared at the crowd

and at me.

Why I Shouldn’t Buy Useless Objects Anymore

The old man at the convention was selling

useless objects. On the table next to him

was a watering can with the spout frozen

like a ballerina’s arm–yanked and bent

toward the opening and the handle,

spiked mugs with no handles,

handcuffed forks with their heads and

handles chained, a closed book

with two spines muffling its words,

a concrete umbrella, and a revolver

with a broom head imprisoning its barrel.

He told me how he schemed

to sell cutlery for old folks

to hang on kitchen walls.

He started selling single plates,

but people wanted entire sets

to leave crop-circle dust prints

whenever they departed.

His ex-wife forced him

to relocate his studio often,

so he divorced her, remarrying

his kiln in a short backyard ceremony.

It filled rooms with the junk

husbands liked to take home

to anger their pragmatic wives.

I bought from him a mug

swaddled in thorns. When I

got home I coaxed it out

from its box and unwound

the tissue paper that nestled

the burr-like talisman. I settled

it on my desk, but I tired of

tapping my fingers on the spikes

instead of my keyboard, so I

snapped them off and

held the pieces in my palms,

wondering if he was right,

wondering if I needed them.

Why I Shouldn’t Drink Whiskey Anymore

After watching Unforgiven

I took my glass outside,

full of rage and whiskey.

My friends followed and

cheered me on. My anger was

one of their favorite shows.

I yelled like a Cro-Magnon

as I shattered the glass against

the cement of the parking lot,

but my lust for throwables

drove me inside for more.

I sacked the treasures

of the kitchen as I looted

myself of my own glassware.

The mugs and my roommates’

stuff stayed safe. Mine suffered

a barbaric fate. One by one they died,

blasted behind the dumpster by

the library (here no one

could step on them by mistake,

and also could easily be swept away later).

Blind now and out of

breakables, I stumbled

into trash cans and tackled

them to the ground,

kicking one while my

friends flipped the

previous opponent

upright in my wake.

I stomped too hard

on one’s metal ribs

and limped a few paces

before my friends

carried me home,

a useless gladiator.

I mumbled to myself,

The only one who can hurt me is me,

and tried not to think about why

I’d believe myself when sober.