Fat Jeff

Jeff was the fattest

Kid at St. Mary’s

Elementary, and we

Teased him mercilessly.

We didn’t mean to be

Mean. We didn’t plan

Our taunts and jibes.

Our cruelty came as

Naturally as the rain

And lightning. It went

On for years, while Jeff

Started jogging, first

Just down his street

At night, then all the

Way to the mall and

Back. By seventh grade

He ran track, lifted

Weights, played quarter-

back, and was making it

With one sweet cheerleader,

While we, his former

Tormentors spent

Most nights with Ms.

January. Fat Jeff had

chisled himself

Into a lean, mean, sex

Machine. Of course, we

Had something to do with

His transformation. He told

Me as much years after. I’m

Not proud of my former

Cruelty, I told him, one

Day at my house as I

Showed him the riff

To “Day Tripper” on

my Korean guitar.

“Don’t worry ’bout it,”

He said, flashing a

James Dean grin. And

To tell the truth, I don’t.

Our jibes and fat jokes

Made Jeff a better man.

But I’m not too proud of

That either. Had he been

Made of softer stuff, he

Might have killed himself,

And I would have had a

Tough time with that. So

While the past was

Too cruel, the present

May be too kind. How

Many Fat Jeffs today

Lose out on Cheerleader

Booty because

Fat-shaming is uncool

These days? Today’s

Kids fail to comprehend

The meaning behind

Nature’s harsh ways.

Mother Nature is

Cruel, but beautiful

Too.

— F.B.

 

 

 

 

The Shudder

There have been signs

As of late, impossible

Situations, intractable

Problems, strange bumps

On the skin, headaches

That take days to die,

and the Shudder that sizzles

Up the spine whenever

It slugs me that my best

Days have run away

Like slaves only to

Be brought down

By the laughing

Dogs of time.

So many signs,

Like the song

That sings

I’ll never

Feel the love of

A lovely woman

Again. Signs screaming

My name in the dead

Of day as the

Sun crucifies me

Yet again. Signs

Tapping signals

Into my brain,

Telling me that

If I have anything

Left to say I should

Say it soon, and that

If there’s anything

Left to slay I should

Slay it soon, and

That if I have any

sacrifices left

To make, I should

Make them soon,

Soon,

Soon,

Soon

 

— FB

 

Pain Management

So much of life

for many

boils down to

mostly pain-

management.

I remember

grandma, who’d

escaped commies

during WW2, but

just barely, and

with my five-year-

old, starving future

father in tow. After

that she smiled and

drank her way

through the

decades; but

then one night,

when she didn’t

know I was still

awake, I saw her

shaking on the

couch, her face

contorted into

one I couldn’t

recognize.

Later I found out

it was bone

cancer. Then I heard

her yelling at my father

because he’d been

praying to keep her

alive.

The other day a

pain like a switchblade

struck the back of my

knee and kept striking

for several days and nights–

right past the pain meds.

At first I could hardly believe

it when I heard the doctor

say it was just a sprain, but

then he added it was

pinching a nerve that was

setting off others.

And then there was

Larry, my fat, furry cat

and adopted son, whose

tumor grew back after a

costly operation; and the

cries and moans he made

finished off what was left

of my heart. Well, if you’re

reading this, you’re alive,

and you already know

(or soon will) that

much of life is pain.

And that pain is often

too much, despite those

who say that the “Good

Lord, never gives us

pain that we can’t bear”

and those who maintain

that pain teaches us

lessons we wouldn’t

otherwise hear.

Now, I find that an

internet friend, a lovely

soul, suffers constant

headaches, and I wish

that I could cure those,

don’t you know, and I

do have hope for her;

but when it comes to

pain in gneral, I’m

haunted by the words

of a buddhist monk,

who said that if the

Buddha could have

eliminated suffering

once and for all,

he would have.

Wouldn’t you?

 

— Fyodor Bukowski, author of Mail-Order Annie

The Consequences of Not Winning the Lottery

The consequences of not winning

the lottery can be severe. There are

as many kinds of lotteries as there

are people, heavens or hells: the Good-

Looks lottery, the Silver Spoon Lottery,

and who could forget The-Being-in-the-

Right-Time-and-Place Lottery.

A player can win or lose as many

lotteries as that fickle wheel of Fortune

dictates. Some win them all; some none.

While some win some: take Lord Byron

for example: he won all three of those

mentioned already, but he lost The-4-

Sound-and-Healthy-Limbs Lottery…

by one. And then there other cases:

say, for example, the lame and ugly

sonneteer haunting the 21st Century

bus stop at the corner of Bad Genes

Street and Terrible Timing Avenue.

Needless to say, the consequences of

losing all three of the aforementioned

lotteries are dire indeed, while the player

who wins even one might have a

chance. Good looks, riches, or even

just four sound and healthy limbs,

with a little luck, could lead a player

to the promised land. But even one

mistep could bring the winner of just

one lottery down, causing that player

to slip into one of the many hells

that lie languidly yawning

for players like you

and me.

 

— Fyodor Bukowski, author of MAIL-ORDER ANNIE (A Story of Passion and Compassion)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dumb-Ass Cowboy Hat

How can cowboy hats

look so good in the old

Westerns, when they look

so dumb in real life these

days?

 

Saw this guy striding

across the lot today, a

pristine snow-white

cowboy hat squatting atop

his bovine head. Could

hardly keep my soy burger

in.

 

Sad truth is we just can’t

transcend this sad unromantic

reality the big bad director

in the sky has miscast us in–

not by wearing some too-clean,

well-kept “cowboy” hat that no

desperado would ever be caught

dead-or-alive in.