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No Brainer Variations
by Jim Cory

Walden

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, wrote
Thoreau. On target, as per usual. Not that mute

despair is there all the time. It just kind of
hangs around, waiting to deflate whatever love

ly memory recently seeped from the neocortex. To throttle the festive
occasion. In our epoch the desperation

seems anything but quiet. A crime
the way people talk about their uglies on TV & meet at slimy

conventions of the similarly afflicted. Hawking bad luck.
(Commodity or contagion?) Chuck

ing it up to weighted odds. Disappointment
is how things are, were, will be. Car won’t start.

Tooth torn away. A sharp
pain in the colo-rectal that may (& likely will) come back. The burp

that brought up blood. And friends.
Of all them you lended

money to
how many ever paid you

back? Gratitude’s consistently in short supply.
Help some guy

find a job, & watch how fast he comes to believe
he got you yours. So relieved

not to be bothered sometimes. Tolstoy’s Father Sergius took
to a cave when the emperor hit on his fiance. He was only looking

for a place to stick the Band Aid on internal bleeding. Thoreau, too, sought
the blue silence of uninterrupted solitude, & bought

peace of mind by relocating beside a pond w/cattails
frogs & cinnamon-winged teals.

Now there are parking lots
& lots & lots

of tourists.
Outboard motors roaring

by. Some stay home & draw the shades. Taxis fetch
them what they need. Gin, for instance. How wretchedly

necessary. V. Horowitz, quizzed on why he refused to leave his apartment
for several years, gestured around the living room and said: Nice apartment!

Unpleasantness was something the parents never
warned about. Not that they weren’t clever

people but what’s to say? That expectations are by their nature
regularly to be trampled on? No manual came w/this creature

to tell you that after 45 or 50 things not only slow
but fray, leak, snap, thicken, or quit altogether. Oatmeal flows

where blood ran. So it seems
like everything else moves that much quicker. Hon, you want ice cream

w/that? Huh? Who? With what? Dad
had

it right. Toward the end he
sat in an easy chair staring at nothing. We

nt to bed & stayed til the appointment made w/death
‘s secretary came thru. His skin: taxidermy w/o the fur. That last breath

a soundless gasp.
You never heard such satisfaction.

 
 
 
 

 

 
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