Weird Scenes Beside the Chevron


The two next to

the blue dumpster

cradling drums

of Steel Reserve,

greasy with worry

– you’ll find them anywhere



When we slow down for gas and caffeine

It’s the defiant palms I’m looking at

a second time, in towns

with names I’ll never know, settled

around redundant strip malls

blistering along the Pacific Coast Highway



These wild-haired beasts tower, they loom

We admire them on TV from afar

but, slashed through with their shadows,

we’re reminded of sands

slipping quickly through an hourglass

of some Endless Summer’s possibility



This holdover Boomer hokum persists, somehow

even while actual people live, here,

walk to work here, buy milk, here,

guzzle malt liquor next to dumpsters, here,

give up on whatever dream we could name, here

I turn my eyes straight ahead- the road, turning the key



by Chris Middleman




Arc of Dreams


Each time I sold Donald Passman’s

All You Need to Know About the Music Business

I saw the copy as a perfect-bound totem;

Here was another set of bloodletting parents



financing their gauge-eared Meredith’s

vague Vans-sponsored notion

of graduating to a stage where action

burns brightly; a stage shared by heroes

where she could act out her love



The love, of course,

never turned out to be creating, or

even helping finance good art;

nor was it a taste for dismantling a system

stacked so stupidly against vision



One way or another, at rainbow’s end

was typing mass PR emails,

answering phones for deceiving dinosaurs

wearing t-shirts instead of suits,

sitting in on “rap sessions” discussing the

optimization of monetization of YouTube clicks



While never having listened to Television

Never having heard Cybotron

Never getting played on freeform FM

Never getting crowned a hero by some kid

after a show, in a parking lot, at the bar



And one day, she’ll have to bow out

of the all the excitement of free merch,

festival passes and promos

for the birth of her little Emma, whom

one day, shall be enrolled in the School of Rock



by Chris Middleman




And in NPR, We Are Redeemed


A sheep rancher whispers into a

microphone held out in some dappled pasture

that the United States lost its taste for mutton



after so many canned rations were slavishly

gobbled during World War II; we dress ourselves

in December with a mess of shredded Sprite bottles



Though the market seems to have

bottomed out for this man whom the mind’s

director casts as an epileptic caterpillar of a

moustache wriggling beneath a brown-brimmed hat,



the hope is that immigrants and parents

in poorer neighborhoods that can’t afford

the food they prepare at work could be enticed

to make mutton a staple of their diets



With parting clouds, the dollar value of

this potential market is recognized

and we finally understand them as human



by Chris Middleman

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