Orville Redenbacher’s Last Moments (a jacuzzi watercolor)

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then there was this, lunatic-happy, bow-tied to the red that dyes, well, half-so-much entirely alone, another 44-to-1 shot, so here goes this, a hot water serenade, plumbed from the shallows for the likes of some boilermaker of a hybrid-seed investigator, and fortunate in my Don-Knotts-stunt-double way, bubble-fed and going under as the jets punch, a pattering and then a puttering out, no longer to pop without shy fellows scrounging salted about in the bottom of cloudy teal Tupperware, and this “I” that’s a persistent ache that springs behind the outlandish cartoon stilt of the label, a looming doubt that smiles offhandedly and waves to the camera, then what’s to be made of this Brazilian-boy-turned-icon in the flush televised remains of outmoded ways of existing except the affectation of bonhomie and copy-cat morality, but strewn is the path’s narrowing, now, counting the ways I won’t be remembered as all Valparaisos of the imagination must falter and fall and wilt in the crowding of the years, mostly it was gourmet appetites sated with the specious charm of relevance, mostly it was grab-and-go indifference, mostly it was this now that’s halting in the tracks of occlusion and rupture for a minute here, but when ma and pop went off to the golden prairie at the same time it was fate’s crapshoot and, well, that’s out of the clear blue and not worth munching on, if only I had my sousaphone now I’d be playing taps for the rogue unpopped few, burnt hard and solemn and grieving too, yet there’s money to be made in industries of manure, I know, very much, I made mine, and so on, and so what, but all’s sunk in the suffocating gains of Lethe here, it suits well, in the silence, in the grainy mush of head swivels and tremors, in the tepid swirl of things the surface tension steams, wondering when the breaking point of this old hull will be reached, head snapped back with a toothy cracker-jack smile at the ever-doting moon, we get so involved in the tiny strains and puffed foam of our little lives and soon there becomes no room for others to budge in, saggy and cheaply drawing gulps, like spotting Clapper Rails hiding in reed beds, or guessing back to when I glided to track records as a miler, but after the legs go first, “often enough” turns into “too much,” and suspenders snap, Clark-Kent glasses break, a heart’s beating cranks and clanks into a Sisyphean task, minute explosions triggered by the thousand, sprinkled grains of indifference settling old scores, and what’s inside gets mushy and soft, and I am ready to expand, to eulogize, rocketing, a hurtle’s jarred flash, careening above butter-scuffed welts on the sky’s chute, filled with the starch of a life lived between fat dullness and flavor crazes, head slipping down, mouth agape, eyes bathed in chlorine’s tingle and sting, below, then there was this, under, then, drawing breath no more, there, leaving, was, stripped bare, seasoned to this, an unlikely legend nothing-but-gone now, spittle drips like melted oleo after the bones cease to rattle, may all my yesterdays be fluffier and lighter in the kernels of the dust that remains.

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