The Spoken Word

April 2018

Contributor

       Al Simmons

 

 Al  Simmons

 

The Change at the End of the Day

 At The Market, Health Food Store, downtown, the checkout girl only charged me for one of my six items purchased; four separate 1lb. bags of organic Scottish style oatmeal, gluten free, special order, and a loose couple pounds each of raw split peas and green lentils.  She bagged them up and I paid her cash, $6 and change, and said, thanks.  I’d never seen her before but I liked her act, her dark trancelike movements behind the counter working her register enchanted me.  I wondered, did she like me or was this her first day on the job?  Then, how vane of me to think.  She asked if I wanted a receipt.  The shops in town have a new policy making receipts optional---for the good of the environment.  I smiled and said no need, thanked her again, and left the shop as if walking in my sleep during a dream about food purchasing. 

 

I drove home, went upstairs and put my groceries away, and then walked over to Safeway in the Mall for some berries for breakfast cereal, and also picked up half a dozen peaches and a pint of agave sweetened chocolate ice cream for desert.  The cashier rung me up and gave me an extra $4 discount for no reason.  “Wow,” I said.  “Must be my lucky day.  Thanks.” 

 

I put the money in my pocket and walked next door in the mall to Trader Joe’s for a quart of plain goat milk yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, half a pound of lightly salted cultured butter from France, and a cantaloupe from Colorado.  The bill came to $16.41.  I handed the cashier $17.01, and she gave me back $11.40 change.  “I don’t understand it,” I said, “but there is something funny going on today, don’t you think?” I smiled, adding, “Thank you.”  She smiled back, a sly insider smile and nodded like she knew just what I was talking about.  So, I left it there, put the change in my pocket and went home. 

 

Today is Monday, October 13, 2015, a curious day to shop for food.  No receipts.  Almost, as if I were being paid to shop.  Made me think, if I were me?

 

Black Market Genesis

On the 8th day God returned to earth because He decided to cover man with hair. 

So, what did man do?  He shaved it off.  

 

On the 9th day God checked into a psycho ward because the way He saw it,

If He bore witness then it must be true. 

 

By the time God let himself out He forgot what He was in for. 

Whatever happened to those days?  Not even God knows for sure, so don’t feel bad. 

 

 

 

 

Who Would Have Shrunk It?             

                                              

My brother, Carl, bowls in a league Tuesday nights 30 minutes from his house, and often calls me enroute to talk.   He was telling me he recently had to change doctors.  “My old doctor retired so I had to choose a new one.  I made an appointment and went in yesterday to get acquainted, and when the nurse took my vitals it turns out I’m 5’3 1/2”, which means I shrunk an inch and a half!  I don’t get it.  How can I shrink with all the yoga stretching I do?” 

A couple of weeks earlier he was telling me his buddy, Ron, who he’s been bowling with on the same team for 30 years, complained he shrunk 2 inches, and now none of his clothes fit him anymore.  But, my brother didn’t think so, and made the point with his friend, offering, “You look the same to me.” 

I had a hard time understanding that and argued, “How can Ron shrink 2 inches and you not notice?  People don’t shrink.  If someone shrinks 2 inches you’d notice because that’s not normal.  People grow tall.  They can get fat or thin, but people don’t modulate between short and tall.” 

“I don’t know,” Carl insisted, “he looks the same to me.  Maybe I didn’t notice because I shrunk, too, so from my perspective nothing changed.  Still, I don’t like the idea of shrinking,” he complained.  “Smaller ain’t better, especially when you’re only 5’5” to begin with.”  

I told my brother, “It’s because you’re too cheap to buy HDTV,” I said, continuing a long time jab.  My brother will spend money for cable TV and HBO, but not HD.  And, without high definition his picture is distorted and stretched wide leaving the broadcast images he sees shorter and wider than normal.  “You are what you eat, as they say.  Staring at wide short people all day on TV made you shorter and wider.  Upgrade to HD and see if that helps,” I offered. 

“Maybe,” Carl said.  “I’m thinking, I might get a second opinion.”

 Al  Simmons

 

Who Would Have Shrunk It?                                             

My brother, Carl, bowls in a league Tuesday nights 30 minutes from his house, and often calls me enroute to talk.   He was telling me he recently had to change doctors.  “My old doctor retired so I had to choose a new one.  I made an appointment and went in yesterday to get acquainted, and when the nurse took my vitals it turns out I’m 5’3 1/2”, which means I shrunk an inch and a half!  I don’t get it.  How can I shrink with all the yoga stretching I do?” 

A couple of weeks earlier he was telling me his buddy, Ron, who he’s been bowling with on the same team for 30 years, complained he shrunk 2 inches, and now none of his clothes fit him anymore.  But, my brother didn’t think so, and made the point with his friend, offering, “You look the same to me.” 

I had a hard time understanding that and argued, “How can Ron shrink 2 inches and you not notice?  People don’t shrink.  If someone shrinks 2 inches you’d notice because that’s not normal.  People grow tall.  They can get fat or thin, but people don’t modulate between short and tall.” 

“I don’t know,” Carl insisted, “he looks the same to me.  Maybe I didn’t notice because I shrunk, too, so from my perspective nothing changed.  Still, I don’t like the idea of shrinking,” he complained.  “Smaller ain’t better, especially when you’re only 5’5” to begin with.”  

I told my brother, “It’s because you’re too cheap to buy HDTV,” I said, continuing a long time jab.  My brother will spend money for cable TV and HBO, but not HD.  And, without high definition his picture is distorted and stretched wide leaving the broadcast images he sees shorter and wider than normal.  “You are what you eat, as they say.  Staring at wide short people all day on TV made you shorter and wider.  Upgrade to HD and see if that helps,” I offered. 

“Maybe,” Carl said.  “I’m thinking, I might get a second opinion.”

~ Alan Ray Simmons was born in Chicago on December 21, 1948.  He attended Northeastern Illinois University, in Chicago, and won two Illinois Arts Council Awards as editor of Stone Wind Magazine, Northeastern Illinois University Press.  Poet-In-Residence, City of Chicago Council on Fine Arts, 1979-80.  Founder of the Blue Store Readings, Home of the Spoken Word Movement, and creator of the Main Event, the World Heavyweight Poetry Championship Fights, and The World Poetry Association, (WPA).  He was Commissioner of the WPA and the World Poetry Bout Association, (WPBA), Chicago, Taos, New Mexico, 1979 - 2002.  He has two books, Care Free, poems, Smithereens Press, Bolinas, California, 1982, and King Blue, a memoir, Stone Wind Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1992.  He has been published in The Chicago Reader, Strong Coffee, Exquisite Corpse, Queen City Review, Blue Collar Review, WORK, Out of Our, Horus-Hi Road Glyphics, Green Panda Anthologies The Next, Forage, Your Impossible Voice, and Peacock Review.  He lives in Alameda, California.  

 

April 2018

      Michael Lee Johnson

March 2018

      Elizabeth Beck

       Ed Werstein

 

February 2018

      Victoria Anne Williams

       Jonathan Travelstead

       Marilyn Zelke Windaw

 

August 2017

      Jocelyn Moore

      Al Simmons

      Michael Lee Johnson

     

July 2017

   Contributors

       Dan Abernathy

       Jocelyn Moore

       Dr. Blaise Allen

       Tim Kahl

 

June, 2017

    Contributors:

              Dan Abernathy

              Carman Hittle

              Mya Swain

              Jocelyn Moore

 

April 2017

   Contributors:

              Todd Moore

              Dan Abernathy

              Donal Mahoney

              A.D. Whans

 

March 2017

   Contributors:

             Dan Abernathy

              Katie Ernst

              Jocelyn Moore

              Shayla Peredies

 

February 2017

   Contributors:

              Dan Abernathy

              Katie Ernst

              Bonnie McDonnall

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