Nothing More, Nothing Less

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Shannon and I

took a wrong turn

off the middle-path,

and found ourselves

outside our comfort zone.

The sign said,

“Welcome to the City of Hyperbole,

Population 400+,”

At our side were so many traffic cones,

workers were expanding the road 

from one lane to four.

When Shannon asked,

They told her “tourists keep rubbernecking to read the plaques.”

Every house displayed their own personal braggadocio,

The things about themselves they wanted everyone to know,

The first one on the right,

Had a sign out front that read,

“The world’s humblest home, made of the finest red brick,”

It seemed cozy enough.

The one across the way said,

“A lawn to rival Elysium,”

It was obsessively manicured, 

but no more so than the others for sure.

We came upon the town square,

Sky scrapers, fountains and memorials,

Commemorating the founders,

The newspapers were filled with highly-biased editorials.

“This place is creepy,” 

Shannon said under her breath,

The bystanders sitting on benches, walking by and paying no mind

In short order, went from sleepy,

To irate.

We were maligned,

And chased,

One woman shouted “watch what you say,”

A man with turtle-shell sunglasses screamed, “that’s the ugliest car I’ve ever seen,”

“This town is the only place I’ve ever found peace,”

“City, you mean,” one pedant corrected the other.

The amorphous crowd,

Destroyed itself,

Piece by piece,

Brother by brother,

While we made a quick get away.

How I Spent my Summer Vacation

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Greg wore thick-rimmed glasses,

had meticulously,

parted and slicked-back hair,

wore a white button-down

and freshly-pressed slacks

every single day.

CLIK-atik.

“Here’s a picture at Niagara falls with Molly,”

They stood in front of the famous formation,

Facing our neighboring northern nation,

Looking uncannily like a modern American Gothic.

CLIK-atik.

Molly smiled lovingly,

but had nothing much to say,

aside from “Greg, honey, get out of the way”

As his shadow was blocking the projection

of the spectacular cascade.

CLIK-atik.

“After we crossed the border

We drank a few beers, and ordered poutine.”

Someone from the sea of folding chairs called-out mid-yawn,

“Greg you’re the only person I know who would summer in Canada.”

Molly smiled again.

She knew more than most about Greg,

Who found excitement in the routine,

and archaic.

CLIK-atik.

The whirring machine,

Was so old that it seemed,

Ready to come apart,

In a tumult of loose-screws,

and dust-particles.

CLIK-atik.

“Hey look! A moose!”

Greg didn’t lie,

but the picture was from such a distance,

that it was hard to make-out,

the animal.

“They’re pretty dangerous,

so we stayed clear.”

CLIK-atik.

A black title card,

With the word “FIN,”

Written minimally,

Spelled the end of the slideshow.

CLIK-atik.

His favorite part of the trip,

and his life,

was sharing the experience,

with his friends,

family,

and wife,

Long after he left.

Submersible

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The SONAR tone bounded aimlessly through the massive expanse all around us, but all signs said “nothing to write home about.”

The captain sighed softly while everyone else tried to bury their loneliness in productivity.

The disparity between the nuclear-capable, inescapable, matte-black shell that shielded us was somehow more obvious with a glance through the periscope.

Even if you’re neither agoraphobic nor claustrophobic, being packed sardine-like at the bottom of the ocean can coax both out in short notice.

Ping… ping… ping…

“I see a huge object at 8 o’clock, sir” said the navigator.

So many bloodshot eyes stared in his direction at once.

“Properties,” the captain asked.

“30 feet long, moving toward hostile waters,” the navigator listed.

“Let’s investigate,” said the captain.

The vessel turned slowly, deliberately, to find the object.

“It appears to be diving,” said the navigator.

 The captain commanded coldly “Arm the torpedos,”

We all looked at each other at once itching for something to do, not forgetting that a hole in the hull the size of a quarter would let in a jet of water that could slice a man in two.

Ping… ping… ping… ping…

We were approaching now.

The captain pulled the periscope down.

“On my command,” he said holding his arm up.

Just enough light filtered through from the surface,

To show a sperm whale corpse slowly falling.

“Captain Ishmael?”

“Don’t call me that.” 

The navigator apologized profusely, and asked for information,

“Our worst enemy, another false positive,” the captain said dejectedly.

Each bloodshot eye fell back to its station,

In silent disappointment.

Views From Lalaland

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I’m happy to hobnob,

In the enclave,

Despite the mobs,

And the roads unpaved,

It’s a beautiful place.

Stay away from the villlages,

Those folks aren’t known for hospitality,

Lack dilligence,

And have no mentality,

To speak of.

Climb scenic Mount Delirium,

But don’t read the signs,

And their false criteria,

They’ll try to trick you.

Inhale some helium,

Spin three times,

Stand at the summit,

And survey the land before you,

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Good thing you’ve got no work to do,

Stay as long as you’d like.

Hydraulic Jump

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A sudden rise,

In the babbling whitewater,

Runs backwards,

And defies,

The established,

Instability.

Jets spray,

Tourists paddle,

A bear,

Straddles a boulder,

Waiting for trout,

To breach,

Into its open snout,

If it can reach.

The inflatable raft,

Glides over,

The aerated stream,

Rapids,

And drop-offs,

Turning with the bends,

Instead of against them,

Even when they seem to be going,

No place,

It’s not a race,

Just a vacation.

Through the Motions

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Running in straight lines,

Just as the crow flies,

Steadily passing parallel powerlines.

Low-amplitude sine waves,

Carry their currents,

Held up by perpendicular poles.

The junction,

At the upcoming intersection,

Then shifts direction,

Bringing you past ranch-style homes,

With green pastures,

In lieu of downtrodden ghost towns,

Tagged with graffiti.

Transiently-

You survey the land,

From a comfortable seat,

In an iron steed,

With a one-track mind.

Scanning the outside,

All you find,

Is that you have lost yourself,

On the way.

Giant’s Causeway

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“Fee fi fo fum,”

Standing on stepping stones,

Overlooking the ocean.

Ancient and irregular,

Interlocking hexagons,

Standing shoulder-to-waist,

Crown-to-knee,

Washed by the sea.

Uneven scutes,

On a tortoise’s armor,

Lying on it’s belly,

Beached long ago,

Sacrificed in service,

Of those who watch the waves.