Show us the wild kingdom
& let this paid king’s ransom
hold us captive one more day.
Let us be owls flying at night,
shouting judgments & formulae,
random truths of sorry subsistence.
This is the noise trees make
when no one is there to listen:
curt crunch & crackle
of solid dead fall, amazeballs
with a four-star review on
our favorite travel site.
Stone fireplace in drafty mansion
stirs the wind of ancestral doom;
we go for a stroll near sunset.
Hear our important footfall,
the approach of muffled outrage
through discarded thickets,
branches & limbs who lost
when gravity came a’callin’.
Now we all pine for fancy crafts
lost to time & tradition,
artisan carpenters of legend
who once whittled soft existence
into heirloom lives worth living.
Trick of the Lights
Watching you slowly sip espresso
is one of life’s great pleasures
in the curtained dark mahogany
of this bohemian village café,
playing out artistic cliché.
The comfortable silence
of your company
after these many years
of shared lives, jobs,
relationship problems & triumphs,
disillusion, confusion, misplaced
sarcasm as self-protection
against wry new century
is soporific balm, panacea.
You recommend a good podcast;
I write clues on napkins.
Together, we try to figure things out.
Small things are key to survival:
a dark French roast is aromatic win,
another shared victory
of time & persistence
where one plus one is much more
than a pair fighting the uncaring
bright lights of biggest city,
its urban sprawl of fear & loneliness
taking prisoners every moment,
spitting out the defeated
who caved to the struggle
without sharing the misery
in a way that doesn’t merely
love company, but also
My student reveals
some online stranger
has offered her forty dollars
for a picture of her tongue.
The screens are up,
and sorry Pandora,
but there’s no logging out,
no signing off from this
global highway where
judgments by the nanosecond.
Devices thwart agency,
glowing like sideshow mirrors,
presenting images of avatars
in forums where being liked
is the post-modern mecca.
You are whoever in
whatever way possible,
but even more so, yet
there’s no escaping you.
Genuinely modified personas
haunt this alien nation,
a unique brand of connected
isolation, where attention spans
are shrinking alongside
antiquated notions of
what once was privacy.
It’s a visual visceral
celebration of simulated shallow,
first worlders pondering problems
from skewed perspective, programmed
for individual enjoyment,
looking down at lowly collective
as mere historical footnote,
now that fame is cheap
and often inexplicable,
a host of followers
the odd as pseudo art,
never bothering to read
updated terms of agreement.
You Want Wings With That?
His guardian angel did not understand the infield fly rule.
His guardian angel was okay with his height.
His guardian angel was really great at reading maps.
His guardian angel had translation abilities, but never flaunted them.
His guardian angel had a winter home in Sedona.
His guardian angel was good with pets and children, to no one’s surprise.
His guardian angel preferred country to jazz, but asked not to be judged for it.
His guardian angel said you can never laugh too much.
His guardian angel said that carbohydrates were the real devil.
His guardian angel confided that angels get a six-pack without having to work at it.
His guardian angel reminded him that even broken clocks are right twice a day.
His guardian angel could never remember the correct set-up for long jokes.
His guardian angel had impressively wavy hair and was naturally photogenic.
His guardian angel did not understand the musical merits of the kazoo.
His guardian angel confirmed that stomachs control human brains.
His guardian angel would never buy a lottery ticket.
His guardian angel knew all the words to Don McLean’s American Pie.
His guardian angel seemed well versed in philosophy.
His guardian angel did not have wings or feathers.
His guardian angel was well traveled.
His guardian angel rooted for the underdog, almost always.
His guardian angel was a generous tipper.
His guardian angel did not think bowling was a sport.
His guardian angel denied having any political affiliation.
His guardian angel recycles.
His guardian angel encouraged an open mind.
His guardian angel was superb at playing Jeopardy.
His guardian angel was possibly a trick of virtual reality, but possibly not.
His guardian angel said to get more sleep.
His guardian angel was not licensed to offer any medical advice.
His guardian angel admitted he had never read “The Satanic Verses.”
His guardian angel was good at harmonies.
His guardian angel was the first to suggest footnotes to David Foster Wallace.
His guardian angel said Nikola Tesla was kind of a wacky genius.
His guardian angel confirmed that we are not alone in this universe.
His guardian angel said reality was less real than believed.
His guardian angel said rating things was overrated.
His guardian angel was against daylight savings time.
His guardian angel said there was always a better way.
His guardian angel would never say what it was.
Knowing full well
my outsized fear of germs,
she dares me anyway
to kiss the statue
smack dab on the lips.
Believe me I am tempted
to climb up & plant one
on that cold metal smacker,
but she knows I am shackled by
practicality, tied to common sense
& that refrigerated paradise
where cooler heads prevail.
She shoots me a withering glare,
then smirks & turns away,
strutting her chiseled superiority.
A wellspring of shame
with a soupcon of anger
boils over within,
propelling me toward
that monstrous effigy’s
She continues to walk,
indifferent, in opposite direction
& I am unsure
she even sees me
throwing caution to
winds of change,
flying in the face of
cold & flu season
without so much
as hand sanitizer
to comfort my nerves.
Tomorrow may sneeze
in beleaguered regret,
but today I pucker up,
motivated by desire
to thwart a poisonous attitude
that believes it knows better.
Rebel me makes out with statue,
as if this show of love matters,
& my touch might liberate
a shackled spirit from
its immovable evil spell.
Much later I shall learn
to laugh at what transpired
that fateful day
when proving stupidly
how I could manage to be
both happy & alone.
Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations.
His two collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) and Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press) and a chapbook Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press) are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publishers.