Why Zombies Fear Tableware

As a young boy, my favorite bedtime stories featured monster-slaying heroes, especially those whose age was near my own. This reinforced my conviction that children are always their elders' superiors, a viewpoint that made me unpopular with the teachers, but noble in the eyes of my peers.

After reform school, I fell in with a band of merry men who lived in a converted B-52 fuselage on the outskirts of town. Being musicians, they recognized the importance of nurturing my talent with spoons and other percussion instruments, which is why they insisted I spend my waking hours in the galley, where instruments of that sort are kept.

The band's singer, Robin, took me under her wing, a serendipitous circumstance that kept non-serendipity from spoiling my destiny, which was slaying monsters. It also made the other band members jealous because it meant they had to share space under the other wing, but life isn't always fair. Sometimes Robin's beard would slip, prompting the others to look away and pretend to be having a conversation with someone else. I think they were afraid of her, but I wasn't.

One night there was a zombie invasion. That's where all those bedtime stories really came in handy, because I knew just what to do without being told twice, or once. Zombies are a lot like engineers in the sense that they don't devote enough time to creative activities, which is why I was able to vanquish them without resorting to slings, or arrows. Once they got the hang of the spoons, it was only a matter of time before they began inventing their own rhythm patterns and showing off for their friends, many of whom had already wandered back to their own village.

Given the proper environment, the creative mind begins to feed on itself, which isn't the optimum situation for a village of zombies. That's how I became a hero, like the Pied Piper, and Popeye. I think they were adults, but sometimes it takes a child to raze a village.

Bridging the Future Gap

Bridges are so yesterday. Anyone with a magnifying glass can burn his bridges behind him, but it takes more than magnification to spot those that lie ahead, especially when the horizon is obscured by smoke. No mere tactical blunder, burning my bridges in front of me guarantees a stage-left exit strategy that avoids the need for revisionist history, for there is no bone of contention where winners and losers share the win-win strategy of getting to the other side.

If necessity is the mother of invention and foresight is its construction manager, the two of them will only argue over blueprints that don't include a braking mechanism, particularly when a zip line is used in place of a bridge that no longer exists. This is reason enough to fire both before they become unduly involved in the process, thereby eliminating the planning phase so construction can commence. Adrenaline rushes in where fools fear to trip the light fantastic, which is a fancy way of saying that brakes are an unnecessary complication where zip lines are concerned.

Spanning the gorge in this way satisfies humanity's ageless hunger for building things that connect other things, while simultaneously quenching my thirst for high-speed transportation, and visions.


Facing the Storm

Storms never have 20/20 vision. Living, as I do, far from the barometric pressures of life in the hurricane belt, it's easy to think of the maritime meteorologist as the eyes and ears of the storm. Clearly, this is absurd. Adding facial features where there are none is one thing, but stacking one eye on top of another is like adding an ear to an ear, unless it's corn we're talking about. But it isn't. It's a storm.

When meteorologists talk about the eye of the storm, they always mean the good eye. No one ever talks about being in the bad eye of the storm because no one has lived to talk about it. Communication is hard enough when you're alive, so you can imagine the difficulty if you're not. This is why many storms rely on the third eye for communication, leaving meteorologists to guess at timing and trajectory.

Another thing you won't hear from meteorologists is how dangerous it is to be in the ear of the storm. This has nothing to do with the shortage of seafaring swabs, and everything to do with GPS failure when the signal is obstructed. As any properly seasoned sealubber will tell you, dead reckoning is alive and well, but the ear of the storm is never more than 30 decibels south of its bad eye, which is always infected on account of the mote.


Elevator Music

Downbeat The High Life

I gave you the shaft
You gave me the shaft
Gifts from the heart
As downward we flew
But then we stopped
On the eleventh floor
Where we still live today.

Morning Commute

Third floor
One eye open
Second floor
One eye open
First floor
Game face


In the elevator
There is a shaft of light
That embraces art
And illuminates
The downward trend
Of elevators.


It's the thirteenth day of the month. It's Friday. Do you know where your children are? Neither do I. Now stop asking me. What a mess. It's Friday the thirteenth again, and I can't stop shaking and crying about the milk I threw over my shoulder before I got up on the wrong side of bed this morning. Without milk, all the little letters in my cereal bowl were too dry for words, so I couldn't even spell out my own name, not to mention the incantation required to ward off the spirits I keep in a jar by the door.

Emptying the jar before lunch is never a good idea, because it creates a false sense of equilibrium that doesn't always come along for the ride over the drawbridge and through the woods, especially now that grandmother's house has fallen off the mud jacks. G'ma always believed in a hearty breakfast as the foundation of proper daily nutrition, though the concept didn't amount to a hill of beans when it came to supporting the weight of her three-story cottage. Two stories would have provided more than enough anxiety to keep me awake all night in those dark woods, but by the time she got to the one about CIA operatives kidnapping little children, all the Haldol in her medicine cabinet wasn't enough to keep me from swimming over to my grandfather's side of the channel.

My grandparents never had much in the way of bandwidth, and interleaved digital modes were still on the bottom rack of the oven. Those were different times.


The Farmer's Wife

Amber waves at grain

Among the fields where breezes flow
To keep the windmills from his mind
The farmer waves at passersby
While Amber waves at grain.

The harvest moon is sleeping now
Anticipating future yield
The farmer waves his handkerchief
While Amber waves at grain.

Below the turning rotors' wash
That blows the hairpiece from his head
The farmer waves the choppers in
While Amber waves at grain.

Between his lawyer and the guard
He stands before the magistrate
The farmer waives his rights again
While Amber waves at grain.