Two Thirty on a Tuesday in December

Five feet toe-tapping quarter notes beneath their seats. A kid in the crowd meows like a kitten and the audience howls. Some poor kid tried to clap between medleys. A teacher with a salt and pepper goatee and a baggy school hoodie on has four different smartphones in his palm. The lights are all up front. When anyone chirps into the microphone the whole system hums. Girlfriend leans on Boyfriend’s shoulder and the teacher sees and says nothing to her. Christmas music for high school students on a Tuesday afternoon in December. The Chorus dismembers and takes up instruments in their hands. They play Rudolph the Red Nosed Flat Note and We Wish You a Merry Solo. They sound perfect for what they are, as does the audience they play for. High School kids who bought two dollar tickets to get out of fourth period had no intention of paying attention to the show. Teachers with fourth period planning impressed into chaperones. The energy is palpable as kids cram together row by row, they know, there aren’t enough teachers to see all the hands. There isn’t enough light to see which mouth threw which knife. That’s what makes it a reward. And for the kids in the choir and band, they’re playing for the toughest audience of their careers: their adolescent peers. Every song speeds up from the start, from the nerves. Each shy note or apprehensive solo is heard. The kids in the crowd are distracted and loud but on the inside they could never do what they heckle. Imaginations set only to meddle. While those kids on the stage cling to metal, and do something with their breath akin to life after death, resuscitating inanimate objects into music.

The man with his back to the crowd shows them how every single day. The band director. The chorus teacher. Two English, two math, one science, all playing usher. It is for them, and they truly, shamelessly, despise us for it. Traps aren’t meant for the masses, but only the one. One animal in a trap could chew off a paw and get out. But three hundred kids, maybe twelve adults in the room, and the lights all turned down and the blinds all closed too, there’s no chewing off a limb. Two thirty on a Tuesday, last week of school, there’s no escape. It’s us or them.

Full On Thanks

What are we supposed to think.
Freedom spread like pink frosting.
Hope dropped like a cherry
on top of Sunday morning.

Life. Religion. Self-perception.
A sunday morning world.
Slicked back hair and shoes
for no other day of the week
tied like the ocean to coral feet.

Dying and we don’t know why.
Just how, and what from, and how soon.
No idea why. At least on paper.
What were we supposed to think.

Watching neighbors across the street.
Carrying grocery bags inside the house,
two days past Thanksgiving. Family living.
Spread out across the state and states and states
of living and being and identities unknown. Finally home.

To make a meal out of life.
And get sick filling up on it.
A dessert desert devoid of the various instances
that make sense of all this, instead of just shit.

Asleep on the couch in front of sharks who hunt
each others balls for a living, slews of parasitic fish
that chase confused, concussed, weeping uncontrollably
offshoots and byproducts. The easy game.

To sit in front of and blink your full tired self away.
Hope full. Food full. Full spoiled.
Not a thought in mind. Besides,
what are we supposed to think,
so full on thanks,
and food,
and drinks.