The November 3rd Club
Home Page Links
Submission Guidelines Contact Us
Staff Bios
November 3rd Blog

Winter
2008

Poetry

Fiction

Columns

Non-Fiction

Contributors

Editorial

Conversations

Archives:

08/2007

03/2007

11/2006

07/2006

01/2006

09/2005

 

Parables
Frank Sloan

Golden Twinkies…..One day, a posse of neo-con union bashers crashed their jeep into a Colorado mountain and a rainbow appeared over Kansas .  The accident investigator on scene noted the smell of rotten self-complacency in the vehicle but let the posse escape.  The regimented people of Kansas thought the rainbow resembled a potential child molester and blasted it out of the sky with a raucous volley from their extensive private arsenal.  They posed for pictures with the corpse after it plunged into a field of golden wheat.

Time passed.  The union bashers zoomed up the food chain into international marketing.  A developer sold the mountain to a consortium of New Jersey elk hunters.  The golden wheat reinvented itself as Golden Twinkies and for those with family values to uphold, the “perception” of peace reigned across the earth.

sunflowers …. A small porcelain Chinese poet squats near a rusted guardrail.  His long gray hair and wispy gray beard remain unruffled in the stiff wind.  His glazed eyes probe blankly at the wildfires raging across the land.  The entire prairie burns with a ferocity unseen in many lifetimes.  In his twelve hundred years on earth, the poet has witnessed much, but never a fire of this magnitude yet he takes in the conflagration without emotion.

 From the west, a snarling prairie dog scampers up to the poet as it flees the flames.  “You better run, you dumb old fuck!  This is the end of our world!”

“Of course it is,” answers the poet.  “We knewn this day was coming in the age of my infancy.”

“Well run, dummy!  Everybody’s running,” screams the prairie dog.

“My legs are nothing but baked clay,” says the poet.  “I can’t run.  I can’t even walk.”

And with that, a news truck racing to cover the fire kicks up a stone which cracks the poet in the belly and knocks him into a clump of withered sunflowers.

sorting machine …. Another miniature Buddha found his way to the house.   The silly thing traveled all the way from a Wichita trinket shop wrapped in a popcorn bag.  We held a ceremony to welcome him, chanted a few words, downed some bargain brand soda pop and named him Clyde .  We couldn’t wait to see if he glowed in the dark.  He did and we were delighted.

Less than a month later we both got laid off.  Our insurance company pulled out of the state and we lost the coverage on our home and our cars and our health.  All three of our children were stricken with appendicitis in the same week and the emergency room balked at treating them.  Her mother passed away leaving behind a tangled mass of debts.  My brother falsely implicated me in his imaginary drug ring after extensive and harrowing questioning by Federal agents and two drunken cowboys stole our pick-up, wrecked it, then sued us because the tires were bald and may have contributed to the crash and their injuries.

We turned to Clyde and asked, “Why is all this shit rolling down on our heads all at once?”

Clyde winked at her, flipped me off, hopped down from the small shrine we’d built around him and strode toward the door.   “You people are losers!  I need to find myself a stable gig before they hand your house over to a theme park developer under the rules of eminent domain!”

When he reached the door he discovered he was much too short to open it.  He turned to us and gave us one of his broadest beaming grins.  We picked him up, put him back in his shrine, emptied our change jar into a paper bag and headed for the sorting machine at the local grocer.

ring of keys …. Listen, pilgrim, that cash you planned to spend in your golden years, it’s whirling away on one of those fancy helicopters headed into the sunset.

Run, pilgrim, as fast as you can, after that jet powered bird.  Those self-satisfied pilots anticipate your head-long rush.  They find your panic amusing.  They find your bewildered tears and incoherent raving a hilarious commentary on all the earth bound classes.

Remember, pilgrim, you’ve never been more than a cheap fuel for their personal sense of validation.  They only handed you that ring of keys so you’d be saddled with the blame when the vault turned up empty.

my fat moon …. Look at that fat moon, pale white, eerily luminous, hanging low over a row of hedge trees.  My idiot neighbor aims a .22 Ruger at a crater.  He probably believes he can hit it from here.  He’s very fond of his delusions.  He buys them direct from TV and he buys them in bulk.

I’m told by neighborhood gossips that he draws disability for a weak heart.  That he religiously votes a republican slate and he constantly lectures his third wife about her appearance and her cooking. 

When he pulls the trigger nothing happens.  The gun’s not loaded.  He bought it this afternoon at a garage sale and proudly informs me he paid less than thirty dollars for it.

I live in a pro-gun state.  I live in a pro-gun country.  My neighbor feels comfortable in a pro-gun world.  I feel like a wounded moon.  I feel like I’m leaking my heart into a vast bowl of gunpowder and people like my neighbor can’t wait to cram my vital fluids into a brass cartridge.

sloppy seconds …. Free tickets here!  Get your free tickets here!  Forget your miseries!  Forget your obligations and your loves and your precious citizenship! Get your free tickets here, at this grimy window, from these battered hands.  Get your free tickets to sloppy seconds in the treacherous fantasy the history makers created on your dime!

white hair …. Go home, white-hair, with your weak knees and your weak eyes.  Go home, white-hair, to your television and your microwave and your denture adhesive.

Go home, you unpromising bastard and stay there.  We can’t afford to pay you anymore.

Stay home, white-hair, and breathe the expensive bottled air we prescribed for you.  Pollution from China reached the USA this week and it’s bound to aggravate your CPOD.  Stay home and cry on the shoulder of your scruffy spiritual advisers.  We can’t abide the look of your decay. We question our survival with you dragging us down.

Die at home white-hair.  Don’t trouble our pretty sense of self-possession. We paid dearly for this tranquil campus like setting.  We earned the right to enjoy it in breakneck peace.

in line for a free blood pressure check …. I told him “those dollars in your pocket might as well be squirrel shit.”  He didn’t take offense.  He thought I was joking.  As he turned away from me, he squeezed his wife’s hand.

I told her, “that bright green Bug you drive might as well be a lawn troll.”  She waved her lawyer’s business card in my face.  I didn’t take offense.  As I turned away from her, she jammed her camera phone to her ear.

I told myself, “this great big world once boasted the room to accommodate all of us.”  As the world turned away from me, I tried to kiss her ass.

bewilderment …. Nicanor Parra told you “in poetry everything is permitted.  All that’s required is that you improve upon the blank page.”  Let’s look at that.

A stamp appears on the packaging around every ream of blank pages and it reads,

PROPERTY OF THE SHAREHOLDERS!

How do you propose we improve the page without endorsing the chains?

Watermarks woven into the fabric of every blank page read,

FOR AUTHORIZED DOCUMENTS ONLY!

   INAPPROPRIATE USE MAY RESULT IN LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT, HEFTY FINES, EXILE FROM THE RANKS OF THE PAMPERED, HUMILIATION, AND, IN EGREGIOUS CASES, HOMELESSNESS, BEWILDERMENT AND PARANOIA.

Let the rest of us in on your brilliant strategy for undermining that stranglehold!

Forget the blank page.  We can’t improve on it.  We’ll only abet the cause of control and standardization.  If you hold a blank page in front of you right now, don’t write on it, don’t scribble a single syllable.  Fold that page into a paper airplane and waft yourself into the highest Andes  before the thugs from ASSET PROTECTION confine you in secret a re-education retreat.

I deliver this message to you on the remains of a blank page.  All that’s required is that you ask yourself, “is it hyperbole, or is it MEMOREX?”