A Pocketful of Wry

Two Sides of the Same Coin, by Craig Conley Coining a phrase isn't the panacea it once was. The cashless society approaches, signaling the demise of those jingling disks we loved, and hated, and forgot to remove from the pockets of our jeans on laundry day. No mere numismatic device, the face of the freshly minted coin reflects history in the making, and not just another pack of gum.

On the flip side, a study in comparison and contrast: Every picture tells a story, but not every story brings the burst of minty freshness I experienced upon tearing the cover from Craig Conley's latest book. Thus exposed, its pages can be arranged and reordered to better accommodate the reader's whim, for it is only glue that dictates which page ought to come before the next, or after it.

While this sort of heavy-handed editing may not sit well with the average author, I believe Craig would understand why I disassembled his book. After reconfiguring it, the book now consists entirely of photocopies of page 32, which refers to me, which is why I like it so much.

The other 71 pages didn't refer to me at all, except maybe the dedication page, but I couldn't find any numbers on that one so I wasn't sure what to do about it. No one has ever dedicated a book to me before.

Thank you, Craig.


Genesis; Exodus; Revelation

9/23/07In the beginning was the egg. It was void and without form, drifting in a sea of darkness. Ages came and went, but the egg continued to drift, alone among the eons.

Then the egg began to change. A dull glow deep within grew and spread until the whole of the egg was illuminated, and then the egg burst. Two bright souls accelerated toward respective destinies, promising to return.

Two thousand years flowed by, then a hundred more. On an August evening, two ragged souls stood on a rooftop, watching the crowds below.

"I've been waiting for you," said one.

"I've been waiting for you," said the other.

Wrapped in the other's arms, they stood a while in the warm silence.

"Will you be my girlfriend?" said one.

"Will you be my boyfriend?" said the other.

"Of course not," said one.

"Of course not," said the other.

When they had stopped laughing, the two souls walked hand in hand into the good night.


Grounded Mysticism

Earth ground to Jeff . . . earth ground to Jeff . . . In my next life I think I'd like to be a grounded mystic. I'm not unwishing the life of a burly henchman, because that might degrease the wheel. If there's one thing I don't want to encourage, it's insufficiently lubricated cosmic machinery.

As a grounded mystic, I wouldn't have to worry about bobbing in the river of unsupportable arguments, such as time's linear nature in the context of reincarnation. Where ungrounded mysticism might lead to certain assumptions regarding how many lives are allowed at once, the properly grounded mystic snorts at the idea of single-file marching orders, blowing his nose into the handkerchief of circadian chronology.

I think it would be a good idea to use green wire for my ground connection, because that would reduce the chances of being plugged into a wall outlet by mistake.


Burliness and Hench

Sometimes reincarnation means never having to say excuse me. In my next life I think I'd like to be a burly henchman. I wouldn't have to worry about finding a job, because burly henchmen always wear three-piece suits, and large shoes. People who wear small shoes don't get jobs as easily, because no one is afraid of small feet.

If there's one thing you'll never see in the Help Wanted section of your local newspaper, it's an ad for a burly henchman. During times of economic uncertainty, burly henchmen don't have to read the classifieds because they already have jobs lined up in Chicago. It wouldn't make any sense to look for a job you already have, so they don't.

Burly henchmen never have names like Cletus, or Starling. In my next life I don't want to have to worry about my name, but I don't think that will be an issue unless everyone else wants to be a burly henchman, too.


Janus Smiles

Jagged edge Hope and Fear present two faces to the world; in secret they confess their unity.

Janus watches from afar.

Hope's countenance betrays her; it is the face of uncertainty. Fear is never far behind.

Hope knows how things will go. The blade comes down between them, and then they wait.

Hope pours out amid the shards; Fear consoles and protects. No more, he says.

Practice makes perfect the stranger within.

Now they confess their unity to the world.

Janus smiles.


Originally posted as Separation Anxiety on November 13, 2008



Life goes on. And on. And on. This, too, shall pass. I didn't like the phrase the first time I heard it, and time has made my loathing complete. What oracle determines the endpoint of my experience and calls it fulfilled? What paragon decides its virtue?

Get over it. As if the answer to every question lies within the circumference of what we know about ourselves, unconstrained by the experiences of others, unfettered by their understanding.

Life goes on. Yes, child, and we fill our pockets with the shells and bright moments we collect along the way, one for every face we will have forgotten when our experience is fulfilled.


Shells and Bright Moments by Craig Conley  Oneletterwords.com

Thankless Poems for Thoughtful People

Nothing to see here. Move along now. Move along.

On Cheese

My cheese is an old cheese
It knows a thing or two
About taste
But the smell
Now that's a different story.

On Knitting

I hate it when my father
Knits his brow
Darn it
The doctor is in stitches
As he sutures my father
For the third time
This week.

On Bubbles

From potable bloatables
Bubbles arise
They fill up our insides
And tickle our eyes
A gallon of bubbles
Makes syllables stream
We'll belch "rigor mortis"
And after that we'll attempt more complex words, such as "anthropolymorphism."

On Off

Handy handy light switches
They're everywhere these days
Kitchens and hallways
Over sinks and under water
On off on off on off
Like magic
Oh no
That one didn't like water
Maybe they're not so great

Patience and Other Virtues

Old habits die hard. Watching my calendar flip into a new year isn't the joyspout it once was. Sure, it's a little bit exciting to think about having only one syllable to blurt out whenever someone asks me what year it is, which happens a lot. It's just that the thrill of economy is so blunted by the liability of forgetfulness that I'm not sure I even want to get out of bed tomorrow, or the day after that. I know it isn't '09 anymore. Now get off my back.

Does that make me a coward? Yes, and I resent the insinuation. The way I see it, you're every bit as capable of doing the math as I am, even if that means taking both hands out of your pockets. Fingers are a gift, and the sooner you come to grips with that concept the better you'll be at using them as they were intended, instead of wasting their time in the enormity of pants that fall down around your ankles whenever you cross the street.

If you have to ask what year this is, at least have the decency to keep your pants on. I don't care what you do with your shirt.