Friday, January 5, 2018

Like, What If, Man

A long time ago,
There was a dude
Who got to be king
But not THE king.

Just a run of the mill kind of king:
A Best Western king,
As opposed to a
Marriott Resort king.

Of course it’s all perspective.
He might have been a Motel 8 king,
There are no kings or queens at Motel 8.
Well, other than a few hyper dudes in costumes.
So it could have been worse.

But that’s par.
It usually can be worse.
And it could always be better.

Maybe that’s why some
Folks spend a lot of time
Wishing they were someplace else,
Or at the very least,
a different season.

“Man, I’m ill with winter.”


Will this summer ever end?”

Most folks, though,
Are pretty good
With autumn and spring.
You got colors in the fall
And April showers
Do their thing for May.

 I’ve never heard,
“Wish spring would just pack up and go.”

A long time ago, 
The dude
We’re discussing today
Pissed off a couple of
Powerful guys.

More powerful than any level of king.

Those guys were actually gods and
Had plenty of clout
With how things are
And even more important,
How things are going to be.

The Best Western king,
Sisyphus … don’t ask …
Have no idea how or why
This dude was named Sisyphus
But he was. Deal with it.

Anyway, Sisyphus
Had a bunch of bad habits.
He lied, cheated, and fucked around, too.
More of a thug with clean fingernails
Than a king, if you ask me.

So Sisyphus —
(Sounds like a social disease, doesn’t it)
And to a degree
The name was karma’s way
Of saying,
“Watch out.
Shit’s going to happen.”

Karma tosses hints
The way folks in a Mardi Gras parade
Throw trinkets to the crowd.
Some people get a prize;
Some don’t.
That’s the way it is.
Everybody has karma,
But not everyone realizes it.
Kind of like voting.

It’s certain, though,
That those who need to hear
What karma whispers
Don’t bother to listen.
And, bam.
Maxwell’s silver hammer.

Did all sorts
Of shit, and regardless
On which news service you read,
The gist is that the gods were pissed,
And that Sisyphus was going to get whacked.

About the same time
The Sisyphus shit went down,
A brief romance bloomed
In Supreme Deity Land.
Grudge God had a fling,
With Garbo God, a real stunner,
And figured she’d be up for
A true and infinite 
Happily Ever After.

But Garbo God
Tangoed to the beat
Of a different drum.
Sure, she liked to have a good time
Now and then,
But she also loved her privacy.
So she told Grudge God
That — you probably saw this coming —
She wanted to be alone.

And that sent Grudge God into fits of angst
That shoved him into a bad mood.
A real BAD mood, actually.

As it happened
Sisyphus had fucked up at a terrible time,
Right before the annual deity retreat.
Very bad timing.

Meanwhile Grudge God
found a bottle
Of Icon Only Valium
And swallowed a handful of pills
Just before going to the meeting.
He arrived, dazed, and drifting toward confused.
In fact, a checkered flag of a lopsided grin 
Erupted as he trudged to the podium.

“Boys, let’s not kill the mofo.
Let’s give him an eternal punishment.”

The other gods murmured
Among themselves
And after a lengthy discussion asked,
But what is the eternal punishment?

Grudge God stood up
And gazed through the enormous picture window
At the mountain peak
Where Garbo God
Had a residence.

In fact,
Because he had such great vision,
He could see the smoke
Spiraling from Garbo God’s chimney.
Or bong, as the case might have been.

Grudge God
Stared at the mountain,
Then made his decision.

“We’re gonna have
That boy roll a rock up a hill
And when he’s just about to get it to the top,
It’s going to go back down to the bottom
And he’s gonna have to roll it up again.
And again. And again. And again

This might have been
Grudge God’s
Best idea

His associates agreed.
This was a plan that was going
To put a huge dent
In the social life,
Not to mention psyche
Of that off-brand monarch,

So it came to be.

Eternity is a long time, though.

Every towel and story
Has a wrinkle.

One of Garbo God’s
Pals, Doc Omen,
a practitioner
In the healing arts,
And a voracious reader
Had a peculiar power.
He could summon wisdom
From the future,
As well as the distant past.
All he had to do was imagine.

One day on his trek up
The mountain to see Garbo God
Doc Omen happened to be mulling
About various habits
That he might like to change.
So in the mystical search engine
Of his thoughts, he imagined
Someone figuring some of that stuff out.

Suddenly, a copy of THE USE OF SELF
appeared, and Doc Omen
Couldn’t have been more pleased.
He was so engrossed in the material
That he didn’t notice the dude
Rolling a rock up the other side of the mountain.
(That’s some serious focus).

On his way home later that night, though,
Doc Omen cracked open a fifth of Irish whiskey
And managed to leave his sack of books somewhere on the trail.

The next morning, just for the heck of it,
Sisyphus chose a new route,
And came upon the sack.
Sisyphus, by then, had become pretty adept
At rolling his rock, and he was able
To use one hand for the job,
And one hand to hold a book to read.

Sisyphus finished THE USE OF SELF
In a single day, too fast for Grudge God
Or his hack squad to interfere.
And a great change happened.

Sisyphus realized many things,
One of which was that he’d been an asshole
And deserved his fate.
Just as important was that he had the option
Of how he would respond to his situation.

“I can mope about this and feel bad,
Or, I can accept the challenge of the task
As something new each time.
 I can do a good job.”

So Sisyphus began a new phase.

As it happened,
Garbo God caught wind
Of the dude rolling rocks
And she strolled down her side of the mountain
To take a peek.

“Hmmmmm,” she thought.
(This was Nordic
For “I don’t have to be alone every night.”)

Garbo God had some serious weight
With the other gods, and after a few
Soirees in her Alpine Mansion,
She was able to get Sisyphus a little time off
Every week or so.

While Sisyphus had found a clearer path,
Some habits, such as enjoying the charms of a goddess,
Were still in play.

So eventually, a part-time
Happily Ever After
Took shape.


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