Somewhere between teaching summer school college classes, working on book edits, wrapping up my electrical classes and otherwise riding life bareback, trying hard to hang on, I almost forgot about it.
You might recall, perhaps, me mentioning a few weeks back that three publications had chosen to publish things I wrote--Bluestem (from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill.), with my story “Mr. Man Candy” (which I’ll be publishing here soon, in its entirety with audio); the new Havik anthology Rise (from Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif.) ran my poems “Hap. Haz.Ard” and “Hipster Jesus,” the latter even claiming a surprise second place win in the school’s poetry contest along with a $75 cash prize (but that’s another story for another day). And finally, there was Alchemy from Portland (Ore.) Community College, which published two more of my poems, “My Little Girl,” shown above, and “Why You (dis)sin?” (below).
Well, news of those publications came the first week of May. My copy of that last publication (which was my payment for said contribution) finally arrived in the mail yesterday. I gotta say, it ranks right up there as one of the weirdest covers I’ve yet seen (shown at top right). Yes, that is what appears to be a dead bird on the cover, and yes, the word Alchemy is indeed spelled out in worms. I can’t tell if they’re your average nightcrawler, earthen variety or some more specialized, hybrid species, like the type typically nabbed only by those Early Birds we’ve all heard about.
I only know this: If Mr. Bird is meant to illustrate the fate of said early risers, I truly want no part. And if that bird is merely playing possum–which is dubious, at best–but if indeed that was his gambit, I expect there’s only one place such photographic evidence will likely turn up, especially one that so clearly illustrates how out of it Mr. Bird was, how utterly dead to the world he had to be. So much so, in fact, that Mr. Worm had enough time gather up a dozen or so of his closest friends and relatives to spell words out words over his fine feathered ass (in which case, I’m sure Alchemy is probably the least of his worries from that particular photo shoot).
Where, you may ask, might such a magical place exist for the proper display of said art? Right next to the timeclock at work, of course, taped in place with industritrial strength adhesives sometime mid-morning after duplicates now decorate every doorway, every urinal stall and crapper, and every possible place someone might clock in or out.
Then, and only then, will the likelihood of every wiseass you might come across in any given day get a good eyeful of it before you run around, frantic, trying to think up every possible place these maniacal bastards might’ve posted said picture with their industrial-grade tape. (Under the toilet lid, REALLY? You sorry mother… Holy Crap! How the hell did they get that one up there? That’s a good thirty feet off the ground…) Why? Everybody has to clock out for lunch, and because you’re probably tied up and running late–they’ll see to that–everybody on the entire property will have opportunity to click tongue to toothback and shake his head, woeful, in much the same disappointed way you might look at the village idot, headed home to change pants after he mistook that suddening tightening of gut for a common everyday fart instead of the bad breakfast burrito it actually was. Plus, they all now have the entire lunch hour at their liesure to come with every clever, pun-filled putdown possible that might apply in said situation.
You’ll know this because every yahoo in the building will stop by over the next week or so to repeat the same five phrases you heard from the first chorus of assholes minutes after lunch on Day 1. At least now, maybe, they’ll finally stop regaling perfect strangers with that tale about the time they talked you into asking that fiesty Latina shipping clerk to help you doctor your wounded wing by “soaking it in cider.”
That story still kills at parties. It’ll probably get told at your funeral.
But there’s always a chance they come up with something even better (i.e. more embarassing), especially given a whole hour to dream up possibilities. Best of luck, I suppose. You’re going to need it. That whole “in cider” bit still makes me laugh…