A Lump of Grape Jelly Drops to My Khakis

A lump of grape jelly drops to my khakis
with much marriage-wrecking fanfare.
I’m left to ruminate again: should I have run faster?
Reached with greater fervor?
Strived? Striven? Gamboled?
I may not have ascended to captainhood of any industry,
may not even then have lunched with Jamie Dimon
or Diamond Lil,
or Lou Diamond Phillips starring as
nervous flyer Ritchie Valens,
but it seems less likely
that I would have landed
under this spotlit, inexpertly spackled
little proscenium,
where at the potholed intersection
of choice and raw fortune
off-brand jelly slides like an uncut ruby
out of a lumpen PB and J,
and thence unto my unironed khakis.
In another life! Under another sun!
I shall have pushed harder, lunged more longingly,
shall have raced with greater abandon
toward Gatsby’s green light,
danced with Mia Farrow
and been noisily shot to death in a swimming pool.
Well. When you put it that way.


I joined my gang in a local and rarely visited (by me) drinking establishment to toast a common friend (take that, Dickens) who had passed away very suddenly. He’d leaped hurriedly off the mortal coil with the usual aplomb. Which is to say, no aplomb at all. He’d had a terrific spark when ‘alive’, as do most, on even cursory inspection. This wonderful man was an experiential white buffalo; a drinker, lover, a musician; not one of Thoreau’s wax dolls living in quiet desperation. We’d learned of his un-cinematic and anti-climactic passing the evening it happened. Why do we roman candles get such fucking short shrift from the gods, lower case? Celebrated Life is stolen by the stupidest punk-ass little things, of course. We are soil, and giddily return to base at the slightest provocation. We accept this fucked quantum contract in a state of ongoing rage. Hence art, aspirin, hollering into telephones, white-knuckle love, hair care products, drugs of a spiritually ruinous order. Glasses were raised and there was much carapace-slapping. Individually there were covert interludes of staring into space as the collected gray matter strove to regard itself in light of this development, and there was that sparkling and bestial joviality that barks out when groups gather in public places to bemusedly acknowledge death and the unbelievable dead. A dear old pal of philosophical bent cornered me at the bar and typically enthralled me with much articulate bourbon-catalyzed speechifying about the possibly blank universe, our desperation to make it cohere, and his own present problems with spiritual stasis. As he spoke, the late afternoon sun poured cruelly and boldly in through the establishment’s windows, dusk-announcing sun the color of backlit honey and charging in with the brashness of a laughing moron. My friends’ hairy heads were limned in platinum as they bobbed and jabbered about the eternal, and it must be said the effect was inexplicably ghastly. At turnings of his own handsomely coiffed bulb, my friend’s miraculous eye was struck by the sun at intervals; a fairly famous trick of the light. The flattened brown iris was seen to glow, and to turn in the glow, a piece of cheap and adorable beveled glass. We’re built of such junk. You can see it strikingly when the sun shines just so upon us.

Grin Reaper

One reaches a certain age; my age, say, and the temporal world begins to shamelessly gang up, to loiter with intent. Anymore the matter-beholden facts and furniture of the world hunch around me like leering dockworkers in possession of Union secrets. The trees and rocks blurt out their permanence as I make my way between them, an evanescent gnat whose crowning glory is self-gnat-awareness. Hand me my scepter. I have cognition, that gift from the glib cosmos, but it’s apparently a gift whose major theme is the unwrapping.