Richard J. Fleming

FOUR BIRDS CALLING In November there is no cure for flu shots. In a perfect world, religion would never be discussed, and politics wouldn't even bother to get dressed. Nothing can prepare you for the twelve days of Christmas. I can wash the dishes until they sparkle, but light bulbs will still burn out. Today, no one goes to jail for stealing a loaf of bread. If you cannot balance a checkbook, do not try to juggle finance. Sometimes, it's considered rude to take advantage of free offers. You cannot make an omelet without killing potential chickens. Five times out of six you win in Russian roulette. This list of exiles continues to grow on me. But I have the most difficulty with people who think they are more than they can be. Half the people I know prefer to remain anonymous. THE CHILDBEARING VELOCIPEDE None of the sacred Fu Dogs I train recognize my true responsibility to the broken mirrors of the distant past. There were good old days, many miles ago: games of pick-up sticks, periwinkle polka dots, and big parades. Balzac drank copious amounts of coffee to stay awake through page after page of peasants toiling in the field. Wine aged wise men in cellars, and the goo-goo dolls called my name in the hothouse of Calypso’s orchids. After my mechanized sedan chair departs a gala rotary, Tinhorn songs from our portable, romantic radio come to life, and bite back. April’s pitter-patter emerges from the cloister. There’s no more affordable family housing to shelter the translucent layers of our seasonal onions, much less the vapid ennui of a most dazzling underdog. I’m just skidding by, a fickle antenna for new products that hit the market with a resounding thud. The deviant fallout from flawed brainwaves drifts through viaducts on its way to the store. The snappy propwash runs over my prospective client, and a parenthetical clause opens a wide fissure within the conflicts of embattled nations. Outside that historic device lurks a venerable dark man. A hemispherical, thoroughbred sybil in an arctic, tinfoil blouse lights a candle and turns down the bed. Her face glows in an atomic mist. The horizon turns a pale shade of blue, but still manages to laugh at our indecent jokes. Man! Those rubber ducks stink if you set them on fire. FULL FRONTAL FLAPJACK That was the winter the Himalayas melted all over our rhododendrons. There wasn't much to salvage along the sanitary canal. Rain fell like a millstone, and our converted minesweeper sank at its mooring. Insurance bought with food stamps didn't cover it. To get warm, we burned the last of the diesel fuel, and it was appropriate to dress for a night of opera. It made sense, kind of. We put on pretty faces and party hats; but there was no rumble seat in the car on the lane, in the woods, before gas got rationed, and we no longer drove to work in the burbs. Then the climate healed itself, in between moments of offshore drilling for natural gas that empowered presumptions for the next century; or until time ran out of an hourglass like a jackrabbit in the grocery store. Some of that was foregone confusion straight out of the next chapter in an unfinished novel. So, our Dictaphone croaked. No one was there, but a breath of hot air from a weather balloon lost over the Arctic. In fact, there was no mention of anyone by that name, in the glut of phone books piling up at the recycling center, or at a neighborhood watch during a quilting bee. That was a big event, a smash hit on a smorgasbord. There was a sequel in the works; but it was too soon to reply whether we would attend or not. The cherry blossoms bloomed anyway.
Richard J. Fleming is a survivor of three Chicago blizzards.

He has recently had poetry published in Right Hand Pointing, The Rusty Nail, Inkwell Mag, Curio, Otoliths, Rain, Party & Disaster Society, One Sentence Poems, Unbroken, Poetry Super Highway, Rattle, Stoneboat Journal, Slipstream, Hotel Amerika & Sugar House Review.

Right Hand Pointing published his first Chap book, Aperture. White Knuckle Press published his second Chap book Give my Regards to Amway.
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