I Am His Majesty’s Most Trusted Servant
On winter nights the Emperor splays out
on his favorite ruby-encrusted divan,
his slight legs propped up on an ottoman.
I, along with a cavalcade of His Lordship’s servants,
the Imperial Grape Peeler, the Toy-Winder,
the Royal Fondue Dipper, His Majesty’s Pillow Fluffer,
among others, wait for our orders.
As the Royal Sheller of Chestnuts
I am the most important of
His Distinguished Majesty’s servants.
We wait for our bell, the ding-a-ling
signaling whether we are to grace the Emperor’s
munificent presence or whether we are fated
to slink away to our quarters in shame.
I am, more often than not, the chosen one.
For His Most Virtuous Highness’s fingers
are far too delicate for menial tasks
and I am truly blessed, having been descended
from a long line of noble nut shellers.
I take great joy in guillotining the nuts with a sharp blade,
exposing the meaty brains inside.
My most favorite thing to do once they’re shelled and popped
into our August Majesty’s mouth
is crunch the shells beneath my fists.
I hereby declare that the best feeling ever.
Taking the Amtrak Vermonter on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend to Brattleboro
Trees accustomed to swaying softly
formerly anchored telephone poles
snow-dusted mountains hardened to a sedentary life
ramble past your window
as if aware of something secret
looming over the horizon
like how cows lie down
when they sense a storm
or how Lassie knew Timmy had
fallen down a ventilation shaft or wandered
into a live mine field
while you, placid in the cup-holder
spill not a drop
they clamor: enough is enough
and the man in the gray flannel suit
stands, declares his aspiration:
medieval battle recreationist!
the woman in the aisle next to you
pumps her fists in the air and chants
sommelier! sommelier! (sommelière?)
potato chip specialist, opera singer
brewmaster, action figure fashion designer
one by one dreams
crackle and bounce amid the coach cars
and even the countryside decides to dusts itself off
pack its bags and take a little ‘me’ time
for an eco-vacation to Costa Rica
leaving you flustered and wondering
why oh why
you never went to sleepaway spacecamp
and now you’ve been left in the lurch
on a stretch of frosty tracks
with nary a bag of peanuts in sight.
The Canadian beaver is known for its industriousness.
It is also known for being mild-mannered and polite.
It mates for life and is a very social animal,
living and working with others in pastoral harmony.
But be forewarned: the beaver is not to be taken lightly.
The beaver has been known to fell small trees,
creating limpid ponds, which, while ideal for reflection,
can cause dangerous flooding in low lying areas.
The beaver’s ability to change the landscape is second only to that of humans.
Recently a crudely fashioned beaver lodge
was spotted along the banks of the Bronx River…
How can we be certain that these creatures will not take over?
This new and deceptively cuddly form of eco-terrorism has no place here.
We cannot rest on our haunches until all alien beavers are rounded up.
They must be sent back up north from whence they came.
Our national security depends on it, my friends.