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In Line 

Thursday, Jul 28 2005
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Morlock Willowseed sold his nuts

to his favorite talk show for 15 bucks

and a pass to see the next show’s taping

for which, a-bleeding and a-gaping

He stood in line.

 


See, the blood ran thick

down Willowseed’s ear

from that afternoon’s trip

to the market for beer.

For a throwdown he’d had

with a beige young lad,

Part-Time Joe, a churl who’d

cut in, ever so rude.

And a fracas ensued

leaving Morlock and another dude

scratched and stabbed,

For the lad’s patience had

run out

for waiting

in that long-ass line.




The traffic outside

flowed slow, dull and wide

as the citizens adjacent

gabbed cudlike, complacent

and clogged the sidewalks

for almost six blocks.

There, everyone and Morlock stood,

waiting for something,

something good.


 

 

“You look tired,” she said. She was a movie star in a convertible with the top down. We were in gridlock on Sunset. I’d had a poster of her on my wall in junior high. Generic American fantasy product, tacked or taped above a million blossoming beds. Now I was 2,000 miles away, on my way home from work. Sitting with the windows open in my ’72 Celica. Was she hitting on me? Not impossible. I was handsome back then, and so much less empty. Tired, but what made her think I looked that way, if she’d never seen me before? Why talk to me? She looked just like her poster. No one could mistake the smile. But here with big white-framed sunglasses. “Thank you,” I said — for saying so, for saying something, saying anything. And I smiled back, and she laughed, and we both looked forward to another 20 years in this

Line, line, line, line, line, line, line
 
To another 20 years in the line.


 

 

Not everyone got 15 bucks

in trade for her ova,

in trade for his nuts.

Some got 10 and some got 20.

Some weren’t offered any money.

Not all were glad as Willowseed,

so grandly recompensed 15.

 

Some in the queue

liked to endure —

yelling at phones,

shouting couture,

screaming colognes:

entrepreneurs.

Jesus-Anne Mayflower, even she —

the high executive entity

whose company owned Earth and Venus

and everything carbon in between us —

even ancient Jesus-Anne

living on from others’ glands

liked to stand among the donors,

to give the produce a squeeze,

checking for disease

in the line.


 

When Congresswoman Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm, who died on New Year’s Day this year, got 152 delegates in her 1972 run for president, the notion of religious extremists taking over the country seemed as likely as a takeover by the KKK.


 

 

With shudders, some dropped out,

complaining

that 10 bucks wasn’t worth obtaining

for glands so few to them remaining —

dignity, to be retaining,

required abrupt Auf Wiedersehening.


 

But these were few and far between:

The majority vast,

a mesmerized mass,

gladly sold ass,

hawked hopes and dreams

to be ogled flat

upon a screen.

 


Noble it was to wait bovine

for 20 or 200 years

if destined for a fate so fine.

Snotty-nosed and bloody-eared

standing

driving

barely surviving,

without regret they passed the time

in this long-ass, motherfucking line.




Illustration by Mitch Handsone

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