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ISBN 1-440-463441
First Edition - 01/2009
for Levittown…

…a place that made us who we are today

This page intentionally left blank*

*excluding italicized words

(Table of Contents)

Foreword by Emily Q. Taggart xi

Introduction by Boomer Wadaska xiii

A Mental Trip 1 Keyless and IDless, Pocketful of Emptiness

Introduce Yourself 2 Murphy’s Dog-Day Principles
Thoughts 3
Opening Day 4 Blues in an Empty Bed, Shaving, Autumn
T.S. Eliot 7 Leaves
Off-Kilter Poetry 8 Neglected Thoughts
Sware Words, Speech Impediment, This Word,
Front Porch 26
Writer’s Block, Directions, Ablutions, Omen
In Just a Few Hours 28
A Night in Tiananmen Square, The Following To Someone Who Doesn’t Care 31
Night in Tiananmen Square Dirk Doom 1 31
Postponing the Uninevitable, Ode to Pure O2 , Koch 32
Emergence Sea, I Stir ABOUT GEORGE 36
Three Yanks Drink
Eat Your Heart Out Tom Jones a Pint of Guinness 38
An Ethical Math Problem, Christopher Needs Shoe Store Girl 39
Help, Beauty Is Truth The Louvre 40
Christopher Gets Somewhere, Oda Daimyo, I PeopleAreAfraidToMerg e 48
Am Awake, Eva’s Gone Away, Dr. Katie's Torchlight 50
Henkeisms, As a Matter of Fact, A Bomb Impressionable Youth 51
Truth and Soul 52
Rumble Strips 14 Dumb Ass Flower 53
For the Love of Valencio 17 Addiction 54
Catholic Guilt in the Nineties 18 Future Interests 55
Sunday School 19 Every Girl Is Broken 56
High Heaven 20 DNA Mother 58
Freshman Poetry 21 Expectations 59
i ii
Dear John 60 Prose Part III 98
Low Down Man 64 The Martyr of Reality, A Warning, Notes on
Insensed 66 Traits of Japanese Politics, The Pit
Why 68 The Expense of the Y2K Bug
George's Uncle 69
Restless 70 Y2K Compliant, Limbaugh v. Machinery,
Imagine 72 Failure to Suspend Disbelief with King Lear,
Picture of Me 73 Revenge Is a Dish Best Served First, An
Prose Part I 74 Unusual Correlation, Semantics
How I Feel Today, Inevitability of Days A Man Can Dream, Why Go to Live Theater?
A Blow to the Head, The Purge, The Time Life's Collage 102
Machine Autumn Lonesome 103
Decentralization, Contagion, And Now a Word MySpace Girl 104
From Our Sponsor The Paul Bunyan Trilogy 105
Untitled 6/30/95 108
A Digression of Chronological Importance, Self- Beloved Dream 109
Criticism, The Magnanimous Salad Prose Part IV 110
Earn a Living Darkness, Nothing Is Something, The Trouble
I Shall Now Think 79 with Communication
wysiwyg 80 Quashed Hope, Rubber Band Ball, One Last
Haiku 82 Thought…
December 83
Banana Meltdown 112
Prose Part II 84 The Best of... 114
God’s Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank T.emporal V.ortex, Christopher Waiting
Brilliant Exhalation, The Sunshine Lounge, Patiently
Letter to Beethoven
The Countess Is up to Her Old Tricks, Pb→Au
Laundromat, Rehab and Dating, Trapped in a
Pieces, Route Down
Media Sensationalism, Someone Got Married on
August 21 and I Was There, The Necessity of This Oughta Be
Comprehension in Readers Digest 118
Dirk Doom 3 118
Untitled 7/5/95 88
Sophomore Poetry 119
Dirk Doom 2 89
With Your Thoughts, Absent, Was It a Cat I
Saw? What Was I Talking About? Exhausted,
I Dreamt of You Last Night 92
Get Up
Swiffertail 94
ITHINKICAN 96 Genius or Fool? Weight of Words, My Mind
part of me @ least 97 Seethes Hot Thought
I Hate Poetry, Love and Madness Between Lust
Have You Ever Seen a Fool a-Walking? and a Hard Place 159
Inspiring Words from Our Sponsor Quarter-Life Crisis 160
School for Geniuses 162
The Screaming Children, Acceptance of a Life Ode to the Paranoid Blowfish 164
Less Ordinary Dirk Doom 5 164
What Am I? Ennui Alliterature 165
Big, Big Fatty Boom-Boom 166
Wandering Soul
A Very Bad Day To Be Rich 168
INVINCIBLe 126 for you again 169
Two From Biology Class 129 When I Met O 170
Class Dreams So Why Bother? 172
The Monster That Died Junior/Senior Poetry 174
Strung Out, Somewhat Lost, A Rebus Plea for
Meaningless 131
The Smoking Monologues 132
Dating the Addiction Amity, Owwwwww!, Happenings

The Photographer Polyploidy, The End of My Rope

Not Just a Package 134 Bad, Wicked World, Your Opinion, Bad Luck,
Trixie's Trying Trick 136 Filing System, I Don't Know What to Write
Dirk Doom 4 136 My Sacrifice, 911
The Sixth Year 137
Today Is Sunday, August 5, 10:25pm
Raffles 138
So Far 140 The Old Scottish Lane, I Fall for It Every Time
Amtrak from Harrisburg 143
Beat Street 181
The Mud Slide 144
Accidental Bully 182
Greyhound to Savannah 146
I Hate Rain 184
Fruity Toot Days Dirk Doom 6 185
and the Lazy Haze 148 For Those Who Have
Blogs 151 Defied the Odds 186
Death Rattle The Legend of Wolf-Rider 190
Predictions in the Year 06 My Mind Spoken 202
Glossary/Keyword Index 205
H2O>$GAS, I Need a Better Agent, Doggy
This Time It's Personal
I Have Not a Phillips Head 155
Hocus Pocus 156

By Emily Q. Taggart

As I sit in the Philadelphia International Airport at 5:23 AM, I wonder to myself

–why would Boomer ask me to write the forward to his, Chris', Kyle's and
Mike’s forthcoming book? The answer -apparently no one else would.

I thought gracing the cover of the book with my head on fire was honor
enough, but given the chance to get some words down about these fine
gentlemen? How could I pass it up? (4th, 5th, or 28th choice, it matters not)

Back in college Chris and Boomer used to let me attend some fine music shows
with them. Christopher enlightened me to the ways of ska. (They have horns? I
love a band with horns!!) Mike and Kyle would join occasionally, but Boomer
was a staple, often jumping off something and wreaking some sort of havoc.
Eventually I came to see that not only did these lunatics know how to have fun,
but they were also ragingly creative. Creative and driven; which is rare to see in
people over the age of 25, as far as I’m concerned.

I moved to California 5 years ago and despite all the shallowness and self
importance, LA/ Hollywood aspiring people have one quality trait in common.
They are driven. Can’t stay out drinking too late –I have an audition. Can’t
jump in the car with you on an impromptu trip to Vegas – I’m working on my
script with my writing partner. They came all the way to California from every
corner of the US to make it. And god damn it they will! (-of course there are
screw ups and burn outs, but I’m speaking generally now and of my fellow
transplants good qualities)

Back to the boys, these fools didn’t need to travel to California, pay high rent,
sit in traffic and worry about earthquakes to stay driven; they did here in good
old Pennsylvania! Using what they have –and a bit of beg, borrow and steal –to
continue their creativity, and among a myriad of other things, this book of

So read on fellow fans! These boys do not disappoint, and if all else fails, ask
Christopher to make you a mix tape, they’re the best.

By Boomer Wadaska

Levittown, Pennsylvania could be awarded the distinction of once

having held the most eclectic collection of oddball characters known
in the history of suburban living. One might be so inclined to attribute
it to the heavily-chlorinated tap water, the psychological trauma
associated with being repeatedly napalmed by the molten cheese of a
Julio's Ginacotti™ or a subconscious indoctrination by the warbly-
toned O'Boyle's ice cream trucks that skulk the sections of Levittown
manned by drivers of questionable character and moral turpitude.
Whatever the actual source may be, a fact not debatable is that most
people raised in Levittown look at life through a very ripply window.
In the late eighties/early nineties, when good teen fun was summed
up by keg parties in the woods, bumper riding cars on icy streets,
kicking out light poles, not walking on the sidewalk, sorting through
the millions of CDs at Positively Records for the millionth time and
braving Calhoun Street in Trenton to see hard core shows at City
Gardens, there was quite a literary scene albeit, mostly pronounced
upon the pages of what would be known as the "Illegal Pad"
circulated throughout the halls of Harry S Truman high school. While
the bulk of the material contained within those yellow pages could
rightfully be construed as transient non-fiction graffiti, there were a
few dedicated Keepers of the Pad who took seriously the art of
bastardizing proper literary form and function in the face of academia
at the lunch table over a breadtangle of freshly-unfrozen pizza.
Whether individually influenced by the humor of Douglas Adams
and Berkeley Breathed, the social-psychology of Ian MacKaye or the
ennui of Morrissey and Robert Smith, the writing was a direct result
of a peer-based local culture that included a Chocolate Fire, a
Guisantes and a Dudeman. Though the Illegal Pad met its demise at
the hands of a flood in a Lancaster basement, many of its works (and
later influences) were rediscovered in a pile of continuous form,
green-stripey dot-matrix printouts. Once the fun of pulling apart the
perforated tabs subsided, this book was assembled.

A Mental Trip

A Mental Trip

I am consistently failing to maintain coherent thoughts within

these pages. Ideas scatter apparently mindlessly about the page with
incomprehensible chaotic wisdom and whimsy. Either it is beyond the
basic capacities of human understanding or it simply falters to be
anything useful. I have a certain conviction that by all means there
remains some uniform cohesion to it all that is not to be understood, yet
is mysteriously intriguing and enlightening. The profound definition of
the entire entity is not meant to be axiomatic, but rather to be accepted as
Bearing that in mind, a form of clarity can be achieved far greater
than simple understanding. These are not explanatory writings
(oxymoron or irony?); they are just devices to unlock those unused or
long since forgotten sections of the mind and fill the void with
something puzzling or unfinished, thusly forcing the brain to function at
far superior creative levels. I.e.: A mental trip.

C Michael 1
Introduce Yourself

Introduce Yourself

Half Polish, half German

anxiously American
white trash suburban
bar-coded by Veriscan™

Blonde-headed ambition
blue-eyed superstition
Scorpio constellation
tattooed inanimation

Five foot, twelve inches

agnostically religious
politically bitches
hypothetically curious

Locally traveled
myopically resuméd
sexually unraveled
financially dismayed

Socially abnormal
hurriedly mislabeled
casually informal
wordly capable

“So...how do you like me so far?”

2 Boomer Wadaska


As I lie here on my bed,

thoughts go racing thru my head
causing large holes as they leave
at my pain, I might bereave.
These thoughts are strange and very rude
I hope they don't settle down and start a brood.
But, alas, a thought blew out my eyes,
and with them, soared into the skies.
Oh, gasp! My teeth are gone!
A thought just threw my tongue on the lawn!
STOP! Stop, I say!
Quit knocking apart my head this way!
The thoughts laugh, then laugh some more.
Lo, I sneeze. Hark! My nose lies on the floor.
Through gaping holes I stare,
whilst thoughts rend at my hair.
Out my ear, I sense my brain drips,
spontaneously combusting, go my lips.
At last, I'm left, only to my ears,
so I'm listening to the thoughts I fear.
"Eat your eggplant!" goes one screeching.
Another yells, "Pay attention while I'm teaching!"
I'm glad I have no hair to tend
because it would be on end.
Suddenly, I awake, sweating
of the thoughts I dreamed, I am still dreading.
But, still I remember the thoughts and I feel unwell
there starts a denting in my skull...

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 3

Opening Day

Opening Day

jostled up
at the crack of dawn
because everyone knows that
fish are light sleepers
i put on all the fishing gear
i got the day before
but it didn’t seem to fit me
i went down to the creek
my grandfather
cast a line to the water
meal worm stabbed limp at the end
i sat down and

my bobber shot
red bullet in the water
so I yanked back like
i was taught
reeled & pulled
soon a fish laid by my side
down on pebbled shore

the hook stuck out

of his lipless mouth
but there was no blood
pulled out the hook
went to throw mr. fishy back

4 Michael C. Flor
Opening Day

but my grandfather told me

to keep it
and put it
in a ziploc bag
down on pebbled shore.

i slid him in as slick scales

rubbed my hand
i couldn’t help but watch him
he sucked and heaved
but his face never changed
and there was no sound
except for plastic
in & out
in & out
like a respirator.

i decided to let him go

back to the creek
and my grandfather
i ran back
grandma was drunk
she yelled
told me i was
raised wrong

Michael C. Flor 5
Opening Day

that i had no respect

we spent the rest of easter
on the slow road back to philly.

my grandfather has cancer now

his throat gets red/raw from
radioactive medicine
thick phlegm clutches the air
as he tries to breathe
in & out
in & out
and i can only
think of trout.

6 Michael C. Flor
T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

With mind askew and swollen brain,

I dance out in a hurricane;
on deluged streets I skim about
where the city lights have blackened out.

Through the storm's eye, I continue in

with an umbrella parry of a gale-force wind;
singing blissful, operatic chants,
in time with a mad Gene Kelly dance

on a night when I have lost control,

a tropical storm would stir my soul.

Boomer Wadaska 7
Off-Kilter Poetry

Off-Kilter Poetry

“Sware Words” “Writer’s Block”

Buy my heck! I would like to sever my hand.

Why be Oh No!?
Fly a Whaaaaa!
Kick the Thhhpppbbbt! “Directions”

Up↑ is that way,

“Speech Impediment” Down↓ that…
←Left that,
Linguistic change is on the tongues of Right→ This!
the young. What more do you need to know?
They’re getting the double
Of “R” pronunciation.
I am linguistically fine.
I sweat alone
on my newly sheeted mattress
“This Word”
as the cat pees on my recliner.

This word
For uh uh
An eerie sunshine
So there
Go go
my dad’s Tempo.

8 C Michael
Off-Kilter Poetry

“A Night in Tiananmen Square”

(as sent to Christian “Doc” Tatu via electonic mail)

Go on! Throw it!




“The Following Night in Tiananmen Square”

by Christian “Doc” Tatu (as sent to me via electronic mail)
(translated from the Chinese)
…all of the youths involved say they now recognize the terrible error of their
ways, and have reaffirmed their allegiance to the People’s Party… In other
news, the annual Chairman Mao look-a-like contest will be held Thursday…

C Michael 9
Off-Kilter Poetry

“Postponing the Uninevitable” “Emergence Sea”

The ti me just is n t write police help me
I cnah right it call the please
is no good dial 911
isna happnin they will be hear
maybe late r i here there sirens
their they are
“Ode to Pure O2” i sea um
He’d breathe it for a while, i’m buy the see sure officer
Happy as a bug, i should shore by a megaphone
And then BOOM! they don’t c me
He is dead. they don’t come

“I Stir”

My head itches
As my right hand falls asleep
From leaning on my elbow.
The knuckles of my fingers and toes
Beg to be cracked,
Followed by my neck,
And eyes.
An itch tickles the inside of my knee.
My head itches again.
I stir
I stir
I stir…

10 C Michael
Off-Kilter Poetry

“Eat Your Heart Out, Tom Jones”

m w
get e et!

C Michael 11
Off-Kilter Poetry

“An Ethical Math Problem”

“A negative x a negative = a positive”
2(negative) = positive
“two wrongs don’t make a right”
2(wrongs) = right
a wrong (times) a wrong
make a right

“Christopher Needs Help”

Christopher could always do anything he set his mind to,
But lately his mind has needed to be reset.
To reset Christopher’s mind,
Press this button ↓

“Beauty is Truth…”
Keats was full of it
because this book
of truth.
Its pages are soaked
with horrific accounts
of depression
and brutal demonstrations
of irate madness…
sugar-coated with just a hint of delirium…

12 C Michael
Off-Kilter Poetry

“Chapter Two”
Christopher Gets Somewhere “Eva’s Gone Away”

Here I am. Save my Ming Vase

I am here. Eva’s driving on 5th Aves. across
Am I here?
I here am.
“Dr. Henkeisms”
“Oda Daimyo”
Oda. Yu seek Oda. Big ooooooooh!
Go back to Hoboken!
Let’s bop down a little farther!
“I Am Awake”
Ugly you want, ugly I can do.

I am awake.
“As a Matter of Fact”
I am an alert and fully functional being.
My body is gelatinous;
I quiver and fall down...
Splat, I go.
I dream.
None of my poetry
I am awake.

“A Bomb”

There is a bomb on this page!

C Michael 13
Rumble Strips

Rumble Strips

i passed away
and live in a dream
where you still ride
beside me, and we
our travel route together
driving on smooth
concrete, on straightaways
and comfortable curves,
my hand on the wheel and yours
holding mine...

it's still a mystery

to me
how you strolled from the wreckage
without a scratch
into another car,
never looking back to see
my face saturated
with bloody tears
what had just happened
and how...

14 Boomer Wadaska
Rumble Strips

the turn signal still flashes in

my eyes that see
shattered blur
that i cannot poke my head through
to find where you'd gone.
the radio masticates
the cassette
playing our song
while i sit
waiting for AAA
and to have my limp body
pulled out by someone
who will cover
my totaled countenance with
a white rag
as i crumble to ash...

my body bears
slit-like scars
salted by time from
dried spit.
i am confined in
fiberglass and plastic,
too stubborn to relinquish my license
but driving without
gas money or toll cash...

Boomer Wadaska 15
Rumble Strips

my seams rip and i breathe

asphyxiate air
fighting unconsciousness
to see
if that was really you
in the hot rod that just passed by
refusing to glance at
my empty shotgun.
i flip my nitrous switch,
depress my pulse accelerator
and clutch my chest,
fainting at the wheel
and riding over
rumble strips.

16 Boomer Wadaska
For the Love of Valencio

For The Love of Valencio

Valencio was very sad- distraught in fact- for alas, his hot
tootie-frootie had left him. Or, rather, she kicked the spittoon, sang
her last ditty, bought the potato...she died. This, for some strange
reason, left Valencio feeling lost and lonely inside, for he truly liked
the little dormouse. That's what he called her. She hated it. She
hated him. He never got the hint.
Let me tell you how she died whilst we leave Valencio
blubbering away in his Sani-Fresh tissue. He first saw her when she
was driving her brand new car from the dealership. Oh, it was a
grand sight, let me tell you, but I won't. Anyway, she was cruising
down the road, doo-dopping to her most favoritist song playing on
the radio, while Valencio was out on the same road studying the
cracks in the aforementioned same road. He was doing this because
he felt that the cracks in the road had a direct link to the xerophilous
plants growing in his shower.
Now, back to the woman. She saw Valencio facing her, butt
first, and she thought, "Hmmmm, you know it would be an awful
shame to slow down about now and swerve out of this fool's way. If
I nail him just right, he probably won't leave a dent in my car."
And nail him, she did. With a great satisfying clunk,
Valencio went down as he was hit by the car's bumper and rolled up
and off the hood. Valencio's snuggly-wugglies smiled a morbid little
smirk as she glanced at the sprawled-out body in the road, but then
her eyes widened in horror as she realized the possible ramifications
of her actions. She threw the steering wheel about and returned in
for the final blow to snuff out Valencio. "After all," pondered she, "I
just can't let the poor creature suffer like that and besides, what if he
lives to sue?" This last thought encouraged her to depress the pedal
to the floor.
Just before the woman crushed Valencio's head into a big
gyrating mess, he noticed a new crack had just formed and he rolled
over to observe if this was why his moldy cheese collection failed to
bring in the chicks. Fortunately for him, it also failed to bring in the
100mph chick spinning rubber doom on asphalt.
"**!!@@," exclaimed the throb of Valencio's life, "I'll just
have to take him out with a crowbar!”

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 17

Catholic Guilt in the Nineties

Catholic Guilt in the Nineties

Hypothetically speaking, I do no drugs.

“Hi! Are names really that important…”
My mind twitches because that’s enough to stir my interest.
“…If it’s just a casual affair?”
Hey! Who said life was difficult?
“Buy me a drink, altar boy?”
Yes…I’m aware I make no sense.
“Thank you.”
“Frugal” is a good way of life if you can still get the women.
“I haven’t got all night.”
My brain is no place for impure thoughts…
“Are you from around here?”
That’s what fallacies are for.
“I live alone nearby.”
Can I buy you another drink?
“Are you trying to get me drunk?”
That’s your option, I’m only offering.
God, deliver me from temptation!
God only has one role in this.
“Oh, God!”

18 C Michael
Sunday School

Sunday School

8 years old
watching grownups watching the Super Bowl,
mature men crying hearts breaking,
"Next year's ours for the taking!"

Dad working 3 jobs & hardly sleeping,

until Sunday football he's teaching,
rules & plays segueing to my past days,
in life, work & school-
using football as our conversational tool,
related strangers connecting through,
a complex game relating to,
our own struggles and desires for our life and our team.

"What's so great about football?" Mom and Sis ask,

so Dad and I reminisce about the past
and look forward to what life will bring
with hopes our city will finally get a Super Bowl ring.

Boomer Wadaska 19
High Heaven

High Heaven

Waiting, and long weeks in anticipation

standing in line, cold and thrilled
then violated for a search of things concealed
hiding nothing, I enter High Heaven

Heaven is a pit of a less evil Hell

Smoke wafts through my nostrils
I have paid and await my cheap thrills
Hopefully, the cacophony of Hell is something I can groove to

Then, it's on, my brain clicks off

body in total control, I spin and twirl
exhaustion comes slowly, consciousness whirls
finally, with energy almost gone, so is High Heaven and I
anticipate my next chance

20 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Freshman Poetry

Freshman Poetry

“Keyless and I.D.less”

A man, with no I.D., walks alone.

Everyone knows him;
“Come on in,” they say.
He tries the door, but it is locked,
And he is without a key.
Confused, he knocks;
Is there an answer?

“Pocketful of Emptiness” or “Upon Having No Money


I reach into my pockets and turn them out.

My hands grasp onto lint.
I push my pockets back into place.
Now they’re just empty;
My checkbook is blank,
Yet my bank account is dry;
Somehow I get by,
Without a penny.

C Michael 21
Freshman Poetry

“Murphy’s Dog-Day Principle, Chapter I”

Grand inhalation this morning,

But all for naught;
My shower water wasn’t even close to hot.
Nothing like the feel of ice water on my personals
After a long three-hour sleepless night
To wake me up,
And slow my heartbeat to a crawl.
Snow falls on my bare rump.
Today is going to be grand!

“Murphy’s Dog-Day Principle, Chapter II”

Coffee’s like mud percolating down,

I spilled it on my fresh-pressed trousers, brown.
The hot sloppy glop makes me hop.
Scalded I skip to the dryer,
I know I’ll be late for work!

22 C Michael
Freshman Poetry

“Murphy’s Dog-Day Principle, Chapter III

Disheveled as I run out the door,

I jump in my County Squire by Ford.
Fumbling with my keys,
I fire her up.
This damned old piece of junk!
I guess I’ll just call a friggin’ cab.

“Murphy’s Dog-Day Principle, Chapter IV”

I got hit by a big ol’ Cadillac;
Nothing like a big black sunuvafockingbitch
That guzzle gas like an alcoholic guzzle whiskey,
And takes up two
Parking spaces,
Colliding with my entire body cavity.
The pain just feels like hurt,
But nobody feels it like me,
Because I’m the guy who got killed by the over-sized bastard.
I’m dead. How could you possibly know how I feel?
Butcha wanna know what really pisses me off?
The Goddamned bastard of a driver didn’t even honk!
What a prick!

C Michael 23
Freshman Poetry

“Blues in an Empty Bed”

Needed you so bad last night,
But settled for my pillow instead;
Half of it your body,
The other half your head,
But baby that don’t satisfy;
Got the blues in an empty bed…

does a number on my face
my electric butcher
burning my skin with a splash
of aftershave
obviously not
no way

“Autumn Leaves”
I wish I could paint…
leaves of autumn,
but patience has no place on the end of my brush.
“A picture is worth a thousand words…”
Better for me to write a thousand.
My picture lacks visual perception—only words…
My pen is my brush; my ink, my paint.
I paint,
but not autumn leaves.

24 C Michael
Freshman Poetry

“Neglected Thoughts”

Stunted thoughts
Trapped in my head,
Prisoners of war
Held hostage by my despot mind;
The thoughts that didn’t escape,
Those thoughts nobody hears.
Send in the Green Beret,
My thinking cap;
Rescue these thoughts
And bring them safely home,
Free at last,
Soldiers on file,
But now shunned from the world…
Scoundrels, these thoughts,
Except to a brave few…
To them these thoughts are heroes,
Suffering for their nation,
Their United States of Being,
And finally understood,
Now their work is done;
What is left for them?
These poor neglected thoughts,
These thoughts nobody hears…

C Michael 25
Front Porch

Front Porch

I was standing outside on my front porch smoking a god-

awful USA Full-shit-flavor cigarette (how patriotic) in the frigid night
air. Here it is, the end of March and it is 18 degrees outside. When
that rat in Punxsutawney saw his shadow, did that mean six more
weeks of winter from February 2nd or six weeks beginning the first
day of spring which was just a few days ago? Weather like this has
me missing our balmy winter.

When the hell will all of our vain efforts for global warming finally
bless us with Los Angeles weather and flood Jersey into the Atlantic
giving Levittown prime beach-front property? It has been snowing
for the past few days and is supposed to continue for Lord knows
how much longer. It seems as though State College has some sort of
precipitation every day throughout the year. Now, even though we
have these spells of incessant flurries, we have no accumulation to
snowboard on, just enough to cause bumper car pileups on route 80.
Tussey mountain was open a whole three weeks before someone
declared a drought and they stopped making snow. How on earth
could we possibly have a drought when every time I take off my
boots, my toes have transformed into pale, soggy prunes?
I don’t really mind so much wet weather as much as I do the arctic
State College temperatures. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could escape it
by hibernating indoors in my apartment, but the antique radiators in
this place, which are strategically placed under every single-paned
sieve for a window, have the heat sucked straight to the outdoors. I
am even more disturbed by the fact that three tankfuls of oil since
December hasn’t made a dent in the temperature of the

If anything positive does come out of this frozen season it would have
all of us truly appreciate clement weather much more than all of the
idiots in Orange County whose biggest weather gripes are
precipitated by frizzy hair.

26 Boomer Wadaska
Front Porch
So as I am standing on my porch, I take notice to cars approaching the
intersection of Sparks and Beaver. Every car that arrives at the
intersection draws a red light. I then begin to witness a sociological
phenomenon concerning how impatient drivers can become when
they are the only car stopped at a light, not waiting for opposing
traffic, but for a stupid light to register a different color. This has
obviously irked the woman sitting in the Suburban who wants to turn
left onto Beaver. She hasn’t even been stopped for ten seconds when
she honks her horn at the light. This is a practice I somehow missed
when studying for my permit test. Does this woman think that there
is some kind of audio sensor in the traffic light that recognizes the
sound of two short Chevy beeps which translates to a switch to
green? As I ignorantly find this amusing, sure enough, fifteen or so
seconds later the light changes and the disgruntled motorist is on her
way. Shows you what I know! Is this a universal practice that I have
been oblivious to all these years of driving? Just think, all of those
precious seconds wasted, spent needlessly waiting for a green light I
could have summoned at will! Wasted time I could have otherwise
purposefully spent with loved ones or doing sudoku.

At this juncture, I light another cigarette and wait for another vehicle
to see if I could possibly witness a repeat of this fantastic modus
operandi. The suspense builds and, three cars later, approaches a
Civic hatchback that has a slightly different interpretation to the
governing rules concerning intersection signals. The driver of the
Honda seems to believe that the light also operates in conjunction
with a sensor implanted under the stop line on the road. The Civic
rolls over the line back and forth a few times to get it going and, again
to my surprise, this also changes the light. Some time later, a guy on a
motorcycle under the impression that a video camera hidden inside
the light light monitored by a guy off in a booth somewhere can be
triggered by waving one's arms above said one's head can attract
attention enough to motivate a signal change. The subsequent
automobiles that don’t display any visible strategies for traffic light
changeability I can only deduce that telekinesis is involved. From this
night on, my world of traffic light demeanor has many options from
which to choose.

Boomer Wadaska 27
In Just a Few Hours

In Just a Few Hours

It always ended the same way. It always started the same way as
well. He always felt the same way afterwards. No matter how bad he felt, he
found some comfort in his misery. There is always comfort in the familiar.
A known pain is always preferable to the unknown, the unexpected, the
different—where all things become possible.

Perhaps it was karma. Or more likely, some flaw in the

programming of karma that led to this. The very idea that some conscious
intent was directing this was way too much for a mind to grasp-to grasp and
keep working, that is. He knew he didn't deserve this; but does anyone truly
get what they deserve? The happiness, the sadness—life and its attendant
frustration. He used to think about these things often; there was really
nothing else to do but think about things-these or others. But now, these
thoughts, all thoughts really held nothing for him. All thoughts save one.

The sun rose like it always does—the first soft rays of light give
shape to the darkness. Objects appear out of nothing; they do it all the time
really. The conservation of matter and energy is a myth. It was a construct
of old science to keep the sheep thinking they were sane. A joke of meta-
cognition, nothing more. The sun rose, the pigeons sang the only song they
knew-the only real song left. The call for food, the call for sex, the call for

The alley looked the same as it had for years. If possible, the only
difference was the smell; it might have gotten worse. But that really wasn't
possible. His head hurt in the way that could only mean that it was Saturday.
The film on his tongue and teeth felt alive, like a separate entity from his
body, or consciousness, or whatever he is/was. It hurt to move, the left arm
more than anything else, and the blood, once warm was now hard and sharp
below his eye. He couldn't remember who exactly punched him. Most times
he fought his memory, never seemed to want to remember the specifics; in
many ways he thought, it wasn't a bad thing—forgetting.

He checked his pocket for cigarettes. He knew he wouldn't find any.

Saturday, any day really, it didn't matter; he always ran out the night before.
It was a problem he just couldn't seem to get his head around. Not that he
really tried anymore. He knew it was only a matter of a few steps, out into
the light of the city, the light of the world, and he would find someone that he
could make uncomfortable enough to give him a square, but not so freaked
out that they called the codex authorities. He knew the light would sting his

28 Michael C. Flor
In Just a Few Hours
eyes. He knew he would not fit in. He knew where he had to go. He knew
very many things. His job was to take it to her. The cure.

In the street, the sounds of life marched on. Progress and so forth. It
was a sound that always sounded alien. The smell of food passed his nose:
pizza, spring rolls, samosa, wonton. The cars hummed past. The lights
flashed on and off. People avoided the eyes of other people. The beep and
pop of credit continued undaunted. The trash was always kept out of sight.
Out of sight, out of mind, out of time. The robed people danced in the street.
The saffron colors twirled like rainbows. Soon they would distribute books,
flowers, food; in another life, their food was delicious. In movies of the
future, he always saw them and wondered what it all meant. And then he
remembered that there was little room for wonder in this, his world. One of
the dancing preachers missed a beat, a slight forgetting of the call-response
pattern hard wired into the human race. It was these little changes,
something different, that made him almost feel what we, collectively might
call hope.

Although anyone would be pressed for time to make it to the station

by noon, he wasn't too worried. The traffic wouldn't slow him much, and
what slowing it did, he knew wouldn't matter.

By now, his cigarette problem was long since solved. The hover
cab's low drone, continuous like a heart beat, was almost able to make him
forget the mechanized world around him. He was on his way to meet her—
again. Every time they got together, it didn't end well. Things that start great
have only one direction they can go. It had only been, in a way, a few hours
since he had last seen her, last held her—but it had also been, in a way, a
lifetime. Whole life cycles have come and gone since their last meeting.
Fruit flies only live 24 hours. How much living can you cram into one day?
Or and endless string of one-days?

The sun was starting to set. In the dim, spreading shade, shapes
began to get fuzzy, lose their shape, and become one—one with each other in
the long dark of night. It's funny how dusk and dawn almost appear
identical; that's why he kept his watch set on military time. He checked the
time and rubbed his head absently- barely conscious of what he was doing.
Some actions become familiar that they require no thought whatsoever. You
can do things so often, like tying a shoe, they seem to happen. Auto-pilot. It
was seven o'clock again. It is always seven o'clock at this time of day.

The cure would reach her by the deadline. He would reach her by
the deadline. He always made his deadlines; he was the best. He knew what

Michael C. Flor 29
In Just a Few Hours
she wanted. He knew what she really wanted. He felt his eye throb a dull
burn. He knew what he could and could not give her; he always knew. The
hover cab had blurred into the past, the dim dark of all things—the dim dark
of himself. His hand reached up and swiped his entry card. The visor
flashed “diplomat;” he dropped something and entered.

They were on him. They punched, they kicked, they asked. She
watched. He thought the only thought worth thinking-would things be
different if I turned it over. Is his life, his many lives, worth a few ounces of
liquid? So many have died for less. So many have died already? Everything
dies. Even the phoenix.

The cure lay unconcerned among broken glass and syringes,

twinkling under the eyes of the street lamp. His thoughts were always
elsewhere when fighting. His mind was only truly awake when his flesh was
dying. What would happen if I gave them the cure? Would they stop beating
me? Would I stay alive? Could I live with myself? And all those deaths?
Would I see another tomorrow? Something, a fist, a foot maybe, struck the
back of his head. The whole of existence grew warm and silent. He saw her
lips-smile maybe. The world grew dim, and everything became everything

It always ended the same way. It always started the same way as
well. He always felt the same way afterwards. No matter how bad he felt, he
found some comfort in his misery. There is always comfort in the familiar.
A known pain is always preferable to the unknown, the unexpected, the
different—where all things become possible.

30 Michael C. Flor
To Someone Who Doesn't Care

To Someone Who Doesn't Care

I'm fun to be around.

I make the time fly by
with crazy words and deeds.
Now that I'm not around,
do you feel any loss?
It kills me thinking that
I'm just a passing whim.
Hopefully, it will kill you more
When I chase you with a hatchet!
To the person who's driven me insane...
To someone who crushes my soul...
To someone who doesn't care...

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 31



Kenneth Koch was a silly writer

Most of his poetry is just rambling nonsense
about things
that don’t necessarily have to do
with other things
and putting words where they don’t belong
even though they are together on the same page
in the same poem
in the same sentence, and
sometimes right smack-dab next to each other
for Christ’s sake.
He’s another esteemed writer who didn’t believe in
revision or editing and caution and it’s painfully
even though he was a critic on other people’s work
while professing his teachings and ramblings and things
of that nature
at columbia university
where his students may not be such free-spirited ramblers but
still encouraged toward a product
concerning and conceptualized, completely composed
of mindless drivel and run-on sentences and tongues untied,
and improper use of language and punctuation,
sans symbolism, or even anything concrete that people,
with limited neuroanatomy can comprehend
as far as a grade is concerned.

32 Boomer Wadaska

Did you talk like this in real life

Mr. Koch,
(or Dr. Koch, as it may well be)
considering you were educated
at harvard and columbia
and lived in new york city,
because I am winded just typing these sentences!
and if you did speak to others in this manner,
by the french avante-garde tradition,
especially guillaume apollinaire-
whoever the hell he is-
Do people enjoy your witty observations about
XXX’s doing this
YYY’s doing that?
that would get on my nerves
much like those
inane personal essays on
internet dating personal ads
because you know as well as I know
that those people really do talk that way
as they do using
AOL™ instant messenger

Boomer Wadaska 33

So here I am
a critic much like
yourself, Mr. Koch
(or Dr. Koch, as it may well be)
when you've gone and
got me all inspired and stuff
to stop halfway through
The Circus ©1975
Selected Poems, 1950-1982
(Vintage, 1985)
Kenneth Koch
and write, myself
in a manner that isn't necessarily
of my own particular
idiom or ilk or understanding
(and it's painfully obvious)
patterned that of a
to your silly style
although I tend to
hit the return key
34 Boomer Wadaska

Of course,
this particular poem
will have to be
workshopped and critiqued and
revised with caution
concerning and
directly attributing to
a grade of
as a tribute to my own peculiar
idiom or ilk or
return-key style.
Rest in peace
Mr. Koch,
(or Dr. Koch, as it may well be)
passed away this past summer
which saddened the Blue and White
as, I am quite sure also,
the nouns
and the adjectives
and verbs and
Your words will do the living from now on
and play with us until we join you in
The dreams in our toes.
(whatever the hell that means!)

Boomer Wadaska 35



Yet, I find a rip in my shoe and I know not why.
James, who is next to me, comments on
pounding hangings over and over and over
I find a receipt.
It says, "Thank You Please Come Again"
How nice, an open invitation.
I'm handed a song that says many wise and wonderful things.
James scribbles something wise on the back.
James is neat.
I find dried spaghetti on my head.
No, wait...
I laugh!
It's just my hair.
How wise of me to realize this.
I find yet another rip in my shoe's other and I still know not
There must be some wise and awesome meaning for this.
"The rats, they kiss..."
Looking to the heavens in sorrow, I seek a balding man
He is uttering apparently wise things to me and the
enchanted throng surrounding me.
How strange.
Suddenly, this ecstasy leaves me and I slumber.
Dreaming, I think of GEORGE...

36 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy


Now I awake and find many familiar thoughts attack me.

They seem to be sights from my last waking moments.
My mind is wandering, where will it go?
I hope it finds a familiar family that will feed it.
James is writing things.
They are apparent wise sayings.
People abide near and I think they know me.
I hope they are friends and are familiar with agricultural
James stiffens and beseeches the heavens crying:
Obviously, James has just screamed something only Pueblo
Indians and pygmy feet could comprehend.
Sheepishly, James peers back and notices me
and passes a piece of paper
it says:
They are drunk.
They do not know what they are doing.
Today, bad things (evil, misfortune) will come to us."
I feel enlightened.
The sky goes black and a chill of sorrow runs down my spine
A man approaches bearing news.
He whispers in my ear.
I say:
Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 37
Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness

Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness

Tom Waits:
'Twas a dark and stormy night
in a metropolitan dive
without a woman in sight
amidst the local barflies.

The blizzard ebbs to rest

a blonde in a black dress
borne from an emerald isle
touches my lips with a smile.

Jack Kerouac:
Hells Angel biker smiles at cool poodle-skirted kitty dancing
with zoot-suited hepcat near the table of pinup Bettie, Atomic Fratboy
and El Mariachi when Rastabilly tells Dudeman to get Joe Punk
to notice that, for one second- a wrinkle in time-
everyone simultaneously sipped a pint of Guinness.

Ogden Nash:
A shamrock, what's this?
Nothing should grow in my Guinness!
I'll delight in a draught that prevails
not halved by lagers, pilsners or ales.
Take back your snakebites, your velvet, your shandy
the old Irish standard suits me just dandy.
Please don't think me impolite-
just don't intrude in my perfect pint.

38 Boomer Wadaska
Shoe Store Girl

Shoe Store Girl

Girlie, girlie, you sure are purty.

(Evidentially, I wasn't flirty)
In the shoe store you was working
tried on those shoes to get you talking.

Picked up a pair that hurt my feet

(Wanted to ask, "Let's go out, my sweet!")
Walked some, as you tried not to stare
other than shoe-time no other times we share

I asked for a bigger size

(What makes me better than other guys?)
Watched that skirt swish 'round lovely legs
so nervous then, I thought I'd lay eggs.

Back you came with the larger shoes I hate

(Will I ever ask her for a date?)
I mumbled some and told lame jokes
us together is such a hoax

No more excuses to hang about her

(Now I feel my self-esteem go under)
Thanks for your time, but the shoes sucked
at cupid's arrow, I shoulda ducked.

Gotta be more forward, take the leap

(A lesson for love I never keep)
Anyway, that's my shoe store girl,
the one that caused my heart to swirl.

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 39

The Louvre
The Louvre

Coffee Stains


40 C Michael
The Louvre

No Fishing

C Michael 41
Ahem..we interrupt this segment to bring you this important message:

Don't Panic

We now return to our regularly scheduled mayhem...

The Louvre

Life Is Oblong

C Michael 43
The Louvre

1000 Blank White Cards, Set 1

44 C Michael
The Louvre

1000 Blank White Cards, Set 2

C Michael 45
The Louvre

1000 Blank White Cards, Set 3

46 C Michael
The Louvre

Gone Fission

Cactus Man Is Dissatisfied

C Michael 47
PeopleAreAfraidToMerg e...

PeopleAreAfraidToMerg e...

The tragic traffic handicap

signals significant ignorance
with respect to the expanse
of a metropolitan map

A family of four to fit in

an intoxicated station wagon
automobiled amalgamation
on the road again

Intersection dyslexia
by rednecks rubbernecking
and bypass bottlenecking
into five points perplexia

Restricted lane accesses

to commuters unescorted
on a one-way trip aborted
display road rage distresses

Itinerary actuaries
assess without exhausting
cautioning of ghost crossings
and hitchhiking Bloody Marys

48 Boomer Wadaska
PeopleAreAfraidToMerg e...

When highways wrench awry

we handle the hullabaloo
in a punchbuggy black and blue
with a padiddle winking eye

So, someone soon will survey

alternative transportation
in a macho compensation
that looks good in the driveway

Boomer Wadaska 49
Katie's Torchlight

Katie's Torchlight

When we first met, I held a candle

It's light was faint, but I shone it at you
You snuffed it out and said, "Let's be friends."

Friends we became, but then you had changed

taking my candle, it alchemized
to a spotlight you aimed at me.

That light! So bright, it pierced my heart through.

And it broke upon pulling your plug
That light seemed to flicker and die.

That stubborn spotlight of yours still lived

yet, it again metamorphasized
becoming a torch hid in your heart.

Now and again, I would see its beam.

Hearing whispers: "She'll always bear that torch"
I would shiver, my heart breaks apart.

That was so long ago and I thought,

that obstinate fire has extinguished
Finally, no more pyrotechniques.

Then, yesterday I got your letter

One line made me see out the window
Your torch shining clear across the state

50 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Impressionable Youth

Impressionable Youth

Vale was five years old. He was watching cartoons. Some mouse
was ruthlessly pummeling a poor pussy cat with a frying pan, which
would then take the shape of the feline's head. The cat was just looking
for lunch and got more than he bargained for. Shortly after, sirens wailed
from outside. Vale, like his curious counterpart, ran out the front door.
The sirens, the lights, the ambulances, the squad cars; they were all on his
street. He hurried up past all of his neighbors just standing on their well-
manicured lawns. There, at house number forty-four, were parked all the
emergency vehicles. Chaos flung about like a flag in high wind as police
and paramedics stormed into and around the house. A gurney came
rolling out the front door. On it lay a large white shape, splattered with a
large red stain. It jumped up into the ambulance as the doors slammed
behind it. Then out rolled a second gurney, and again on it lay another
white shape, with a huge red stain, but something was different.
Dangling out of one side, from underneath the white, hung a loose, limp,
hairy arm, swaying, almost waving as it all rolled past and onto another
A police officer yelled at Vale to go home. He turned around
and started down the street, when a white police van caught his eye.
There was a dog in there; a big one. The window was cracked open just
a little and the dog was just sitting in the passenger seat. Vale walked
closer and moved his face toward the glass, his hand over his brow to
block out the glare of the morning sun. He waved tentatively with his
other hand and eked out a “Hi, puppy!” with his little voice. The dog
snapped viciously and started barking, steaming up the window and
splattering drool on the glass. Vale jumped back. Another officer yelled
at him to get away from there. The ambulances drove off, but there were
no sirens.

C Michael 51
Truth and Soul

Truth and Soul

There are too many things in this world to distract a man from
making himself a better person: television, sports, internet
pornography, beer & drugs, brooding on thoughts and memories...
I can't believe I haven't checked my Powerball lottery tickets yet!
$200some million could procure a fantastic lot of distraction! One
could piss against the wind with a wad like that! After all,
productivity is in the eye of the overbearing parent, the nagging
girlfriend, the know-it-all friends, the crusty old teacher... where's the
fun in responsibility or accountability or karma or self-respect when I
could surround myself with a posse of yesmen to validate my life!
We covet what we see and hear in movies and songs, the dream we
drone on and on about while smoking pot with the local hippie
squatters. Turn off the TV and become a drama or a sitcom or even a
CARTOON! Do I ever want to be so bored with life that I feel the
urge to take a yoga class?! Yessir, talent can be bought and sold to the
mindless. You know that because you have an extensive collection
yourself, don't deny it! Maybe the resale value of that Milli Vanilli
album at Positively Records won't exactly buy a beer but it sure has
all that intrinsic and emotional attachment to memories of once being
part of the flock of lameass sheep who also bought the religion-back-
up-plan to save their ass, you never know, just in case...
People have no value! No one loves you just because you are you!
How egotistic can you be to imagine that you aren't being used? You
are a utility service and even worse, covering the tab! Seal your heart
emotions in a tin can and join the big boys son! Do you think people
actually care what comes out of your mouth? Words have no power!
The Powers That Be laugh at their own laws! LOL!!!! ;p
Is it god's plan for you to collect garbage for employment in order to
acquire your own, personal garbage? The American Dream is all
about trash-picking and never having one original thought in that
slab of meat you think is a pretty face in the mirror. Stop looking at
yourself because you're not as unique and you've been convinced by
your mommy. You are a recycled trend that may once again be
popular with the ladies... Who lobbied for this PH-balanced world?
You make a better door than a window to conclude, in brief.

52 Boomer Wadaska
Dumb Ass Flower

Dumb Ass Flower

Oh, to be a flower!
Full of so much power!
The sun's rays, I photosynthesize,
and young lasses I mesmerize.
An easy life is mine,
being tended by grannies is fine.
In the ground, I have my roots,
...but I get trod on by boots!

Maybe I should be a bomb!

Or kill people all night long!
But not a wussy flower!
Who gets drowned in a shower.

good night and good luck

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 53



Since the first time that
I ripped my skin, I
no longer bleed; I
have the strength that
you pulse through my veins...

I breathe you in and want never to
to keep you inside forever as you exhume my
and transcend my idle mind...

I- consume [you] whole
without: calorie, belch or choke.
You- "sizzle" on [my] tongue
as I relinquish my control...

54 Boomer Wadaska
Future Interests

Future Interests

A clear, concise message

against any glimpse into
future interests...
dreams fade...
plans fail...
hope is lost...
time is nigh...
What will you do with it?

C Michael 55
Every Girl Is Broken

Every Girl Is Broken

every girl is lonely

in a salivating crowd
she looks with interest only
to where she's not allowed

every girl will groan

that all men are creeps
unless they happen to own
pecs, delts and obliques

every girl laments

about her innocence destroyed,
robbed, defiled and spent
some of which she enjoyed

every girl needs

you, when it's convenient
until someone else succeeds
to make her devotion more lenient

every girl is autophobic

day by day she grows
sterile and anaerobic
and blames you for her ego

56 Boomer Wadaska
Every Girl Is Broken

every girl is fickle

but you cannot hiccup
when your means begin to trickle
you are what she'll soon get sick of

every girl believes

her mind can't be seen into
but what is up her sleeves
she shouldn't have to tell you

every girl is a frustration

with needless drama created
making simple situations
overly complicated

every girl is broken

but pries into your biz
she offers many tokens
to what your problem is

Boomer Wadaska 57
DNA Mother

DNA Mother

sweat erupts from my face

and goes:
s s
i i
a a
i i
g g
i i
a a
i i
s s

down to the earth.

enjoy the dna mother

58 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

you ask me
how i expect you
to pay for the
rest of your life
for a mistake we made with zero provision
for the carelessness to seize the day
for making
three small words
drive us to create a world of
mysticism and lies
to please each other
as long as good feelings
to keep us happy
let's feel good together
we said
without consideration
of who we would hurt
ourselves and others
who went out the window
with my ornate principles

i ask you
how you expect me
to turn my back
and leave indiscretion
behind and
let bygones be gone
to be forgotten
with a non-revolutionary
to fix what you call
a problem
a constraint
an end to your life
and what i call
a responsibility
that we should assume
that maybelline cannot cover up

Boomer Wadaska 59
Dear John

Dear John

This is now the second poem

I’ve written for you
You never read the first

The first never mentioned how awkward

I felt when I saw you getting changed
After you went swimming in Crooked Creek
Fully clothed
Dress socks and all
The way your skin looked
Testicles like swollen raisins
The scar on your back
From when your son shot you
There was something tragic in that sight
I know that much
But the years haven’t yet chosen
To let loose that secret

It’s sad

I know that you are a better man

Than my words make you out
To be.

Instead of you
I want to write about my house:

60 Michael C. Flor
Dear John

You know
Where I grew up
(almost as many miles from you
as there are days in the year)

You know
Where you smashed out a wall
Without checking with anyone first
Because you thought we needed more space
In that back room which always flooded

You know
Where you went to the Hechenger’s
And were pissed they wouldn’t sell to you
On credit

You know
Where my mother (your daughter)
would lie to you
And tell you what you were eating
Wasn’t cheesecake
You always liked cheese
Except when you knew you were eating it
She lied to me as well

You know
Where you repeatedly
Tried to teach me the value of hard work

Michael C. Flor 61
Dear John

“if you’re going to do something

do it right”
But the bottom line is
The hedges always had leaves under them
The lawn mower spewed blue smoke
That hung like fog in the blades of grass
And the side of the house still needed to be repainted

You know
Where we once watched the Three Stooges together
(or was it Bugs Bunny?)
You laughed so hard
I thought you were crying
It is the first time you ever seemed human

You know
The place where you once danced around my bedroom
(the same room where my dad said his good byes)
I was listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Your lack of self consciousness even won me over

When I think of you

I like to picture this moment
Out of so many/so few
(Not the hard spankings or the ridicule
Not the boiling eyes that
Only softened for my sister)

62 Michael C. Flor
Dear John

This moment
One finger wagging side to side
You’re left hand on your stomach
You’re eyes half shut
In snake charmer ecstasy
And the words: “testify-testify
kick a hole right in the sky”
Sang out

And for a moment

This moment
I’d like to think
That we understood each other.

Michael C. Flor 63
Low Down Man
Low Down Man

Where should I begin? From the beginning, I guess. But where or

when is the beginning? Perhaps I will start from the end and work my way back
to the beginning. The end's not nearly as interesting as how I came to be there.
So it all ends with me listening to Squirrel Nut Zippers' “Low Down
Man.” If you haven't heard it, it's a beautiful Louisiana delta blues tune with an
easy soft swing beat and a captivating melody sung by the siren voice of
Katherine Whalen. To hear it makes me melt. Ordinarily this would be nothing
out of the ordinary, except by the end of this story (which of course will be the
beginning), it will have taken on an extraordinary meaning that has yet to be
Prior to this, the devil had just torn up our contract. Never deal with
the devil; he is a fickle being. Or maybe he was just annoyed with me by this
point. The fact is, though, that we had a deal and he broke it. He was
supposed to take my soul, but he didn't have it in him. Did I intimidate him? It
reminds of me of that dumb old joke: “Heaven doesn't want me and Hell's
afraid I'm going to take it over.” Clever cliché, but seriously, I take great
offense to the fact that I was rejected by Satan.
He had given me this gift in exchange for which he was to take my soul
when I died. Obviously I'm not dead, else I wouldn't be writing this piece right
now, but I was, briefly.
It's tough to remember such a remarkable occurrence as death when it
happens to you. The recollection gets so hazy, I'm guessing because when you
die, your brain is deprived of oxygen. I suppose that might kill a few memories,
especially the more recent ones.
I remember my life flashing before my eyes; that theory proved to be
scientifically accurate, though I'm not sure how people who never died before
came to that conclusion. It's an awful lot to speculate. But anyway, after that I
don't recall any bright light or anyone calling me; nothing like that. Instead,
there was a big red door marked “exit” in white letters. This struck me as odd
because I found myself wondering about a time before doors were invented and
thinking there most certainly could not have been a door in the afterlife then. A
caveman wouldn't know how to work a door, much less recognize what a door
was enough to identify its function. Even if the afterlife's technology was far
superior, I'm sure they would have thought that through. Unless the afterlife's
technology advanced right along side real life's technology and prior to doors
there were only caves marked “ugh.” In hindsight I realize the folly of this line
of abstract thinking as I realize that I have read Sartre's “No Exit” and I also
understand the workings of the human subconscious. The afterlife must be a
construct of our own minds.

64 C Michael
Low Down Man
So there's this door, and I opened it. I entered, or exited as the case
may be, and found myself within a void, or so it would seem, except I was
standing on solid ground. I felt around to find a light switch. Nothing. Then
suddenly, as if my thoughts were being read, the lights went on.
I was in a room with no walls; hence, no switch, and behind me was the
door. The devil stood before me, brown hair, brown eyes, friendly smile, looks
just like me. He shook my hand and said, “Sorry, pal. Deal's off!” He tore the
contract we signed into tiny little shreds and discarded them into the void. I
shrugged and turned to leave, noticing that on this side the door was marked
“no exit.” I actually quipped to the devil, “Sartre's been here,” but he was not
amused. With an unexpected full body spasm, I instantaneously awoke in a
hospital bed.
Perhaps that part was all just a dream, but the doctor assured me that I
was clinically dead for about five minutes and that a miracle had just occurred.
So all of this left me feeling a little dejected so when I got home, I put on that
song. I still don't know all the lyrics, it's just the ambiance it emits really hits

C Michael 65


I'm beginning to think you're a mirage

Because whenever we get near
things don't look so clear

Dreaming in hallucination montage

staggering in the void
of wayward lives destroyed

So when the vultures fly overhead in the daytime

you'll find me lost with my head in the sand
with you on my mind

The deafening silence gets pretty good mileage

listening for the sound
of an echo to rebound

A static reception from a bottle in a message

dissembling every word
like the bugs on a tyrant bird

66 Boomer Wadaska

When the vultures fly overhead in the eclipse

you'll find me lost with my mouth full of sand
and you on my lips

How creative the starving artist is

crawling skin and bones
stomach full of stones

The brain of the smartest whiz

hardly makes a meal
like toxic goldenseal

When the vultures fly overhead in the evening

you'll find me lost with my heart in the sand
watching you leaving

Boomer Wadaska 67


why do i have to write on this page just because someone else


68 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

George's Uncle

George's Uncle

Never start what you can't finish. George's Uncle Larry used to say that a
lot before he took his own life. After he died, he didn't say much of anything,
at least not with words.
George stood over his uncle's lifeless body and noticed there hadn't
been much change. He wondered why his uncle never lived up to that motto
when he preached it so vehemently. His uncle never finished anything, much
less started anything. Guess he finished this. George's thoughts were always
cruelly amusing to himself. He couldn't help but crack a smile, which he quickly
covered with a cough.
On a whim his mind eased away, observing the wake from afar, looking
at all the weeping people standing around miserable. He saw voluminous
amounts of mucous spewing forth into forests of tissue paper. A smile forced
itself upon him in light of this grotesque farce. The thought of a self-mutilated
corpse and viscous liquids crossed the boundaries of Chekhovian tragedy and
made him laugh past the threshold of restraint. This caused an astonishing
silence that marked the end of any emotion other than abashment; all of it for
George. George found this even funnier as he thought of his uncle's motto.
He let it out. He cackled as a general aversion to snot would most likely cause
Uncle Larry to take offense to this funeral fiasco. Then he stopped. The clock
on the wall ticked the seconds off aimlessly at the end of which everyone in the
room lost a minute of their lives in what seemed a lifetime. George walked out
as his audience was left riveted. That was the last he spoke to any of his family.
He drove four hours back to his apartment, crying, not over his uncle's
death, but just in general. He was enlightened that day. Uncle Larry committed
suicide because he knew he was a liar. This was his way of finally living up to
his truth. George didn't want that for himself. From that day on, every day was
to be full of truth. The hard part was facing it.

C Michael 69


The thirtysomethings are getting restless...

All of my life-long friends seem to be suffering from a dreaded
neurosis of becoming festered and funkified. They are buying Jags,
Harleys and summer homes, quitting jobs and moving, and
predominantly brooding over the day they relinquished
bachelorhood. I also know this for a fact because after five years of
bitching at everyone for not visiting me here in State College, I have
been inundated with friends every other weekend for about three
months straight now.
It was my assumption that mid-life crisis happens in a person's
forties. Did something in the scheme of the universe skew to
accelerate the process by ten years? Could it be..."The Greenhouse
Effect" or something in the Levittown drinking water? The rapid
reciprocation of the Earth's atmosphere due to the condensation on
the molecular plane? Or, perhaps, lupus? My landlord, (who also
happens to be a full time psychiatrist / psychologist / shaman and a
part-time peculiar individual) informed me that it has to do with
Saturn's second cycle within one's lifespan. Frankly, I believe it is
simply the stark realization that the Biography Channel has no plans
to document any of our "True Life Stories." We're despondent that we
haven't become rock stars and are inevitably transmogrifying into our
parents. We're dismayed that our best stories are rehashed tales from
college and high school. We're pissed that we didn't think of the
"Girls Gone Wild" idea first.
The other day at work, a passerby remarked to me, "Man, I'm glad I
don't have your job!" This statement didn't bother me at the time, for
the only reason that, how could I possibly debate that my job was
better than one which apparently comprised of walking around the
neighborhood critiquing other people's professions? This type of
sentiment really affected me once, in June of 2000. I was working in
the deli of a Giant supermarket and some guy who I didn't recognize
said he remembered me from junior high school. He said out of all
the people from back in school he always thought that I would be the
one to go on to do great things in life and that "the last place [he]
would expect to find [me] was working at the Giant deli." That
weekend, I drove up to State College and enrolled back in school.

70 Boomer Wadaska
Somehow, at the time, I thought that would be the way to get into the
groove of the livelihood of "doing great things in life." $44,000 in
student loans later, I realize now that I could have purchased a really
boss car instead and just threw a slice or two of Healthy Choice spiced
ham at that kid and told him to shut the hell up and mind his own
Along with all of the agita that everyone is feeling, I recently got back
in touch with an ex-girlfriend. Last week, I found out that she
committed suicide. That really shocked me because I always thought
that she took life less seriously than me. She was quite an amazing
girl and I always thought that she was more cartoon character than
human. She was the only person who I have ever met who said and
did the things that even I wouldn't attempt, but secretly wanted to.
Maybe a bipolar disorder would have kicked me up to that notch too.
I will always remember one of the last things she said to me the last
time I saw her: "Out of all the people who I have met, you're the only
one who never tried to fix me." In the light of recent events, it may
take me a while to gauge that remark and find its true context.

Boomer Wadaska 71

Imagine. Dream. Wish. Hope. Yearn. Pray. Beg. Plead.


Imagine. Dream. Wish. Hope. When you first encounter these words you
think they're all synonymous, then you check again and realize they're all
different levels on a scale of desperation, in descending order. First you have an
idea. It starts as an inkling of a notion in the back of your mind, or maybe you
borrowed from something else and changed it to make it your own. Soon it
becomes somewhat of an obsession. You like your idea so much, you begin to
grow it like a garden, adding the right nutrients, removing the suffocating weeds
until it blossoms into a bright big beautiful dream, and a conceivable one at
that. So you go about making your dream a reality, the whole time wishing it
would happen easier than you know it's going to happen. This can be a long
phase, depending on your patience of course. After all of this, you have hope,
which is not to be confused with any of the others. You can genuinely say that
you always have hope for something, but by this time you're just hoping your
wish will come true. And, as you keep failing, the scale gets longer, but we'll
just save that for later.

72 C Michael
Picture of Me

Picture of Me


^ ^ ^ ^ ^
OUT \ \ | / /
/ / | \ \
v v v v v




i want it back!

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 73

Prose Part I
Prose Part I

“How I Feel Today”

Better than yesterday, I guess.
I hate it when I get that feeling in my chest and I have to take a deep
breath that cracks my back, but I still don’t feel any better. I get anxious, and I
try to relax, but it takes more effort to do that than I see any point to, so I just
end up lying down and twitching.
I can’t stay in bed in the morning because of this condition I have
where I can’t sleep past nine no matter what time I went to bed the night prior
and my foot doesn’t stop rubbing the other one. It says, “Get up and do
So I get up and I do something and within a few short hours, I’ve
forgotten what’s left to do and nothing gets done.
I’m not busy enough. I have no creative outlets, so now I brave this
typewriter, hoping that something will emerge.
So I type something and nothing comes out. Yesterday, I went
nowhere and had a hard time getting there. I got in my van and drove without
destination and got very frustrated. So I turned around and it was twice as hard
to get back. How symbolic.
So how do I feel today? Anxious to get to a better day. It’s tough to
live one day at a time when you think there’s something better later on.
These days I should be resting; I’m too eager to get my hands on the
days I can’t be resting. So how do I rest? How do I get rest?

“Inevitability of Days”
You can’t define a linear existence by giving it a name. What day it is
doesn’t matter. It’s still a part of my life. The events in my life are going to
happen in order no matter what I label them.

74 C Michael
Prose Part I

“A Blow to the Head”

With ferocious zeal and intense vigor, he brutally assaulted the
unsuspecting victim, repeatedly pummeling him with his bloody truncheon.
The unfortunate man dropped to his knees in horror and severe discomfort.
He felt the club crack open his skull. He felt the blood pour from his head. He
felt everything and all he could do was wait until he felt nothing. The blunt
weapon crashed harder and harder as it slowly drained his helpless essence.
Blood flew, staining the snow and the assailant’s wear. Then with a final solid
blow, the victim’s skull collapsed and mangled the brain tissue indiscriminately.

“The Purge”
The pencil scratched its way across the page leaving the unsolicited
mark of the damned as the cursed demons within the bearer’s tortured soul
released all of his pent up fury and wisdom in what seemed to be an
unconscious and unbroken flow of indescribable madness.

“The Time Machine”

He sat there motionless, staring blankly into his own empty void.
Visions ignored his world and thoughts remained vague and untouched,
blanketing his mind with unfulfilled destinies. He rocked in his chair as his
surroundings gradually affixed themselves within his peripheral boundaries,
explaining in steps how his life had progressed. The only other movement in
the world was the wind; the rest was frozen, dead to him.
He noticed individual items as they were: A baby’s stroller, old and
worn, refusing to tote another child; a busted red wagon, axels bent, weeping
for its care-free days of use and fearing it had become obsolete in a child’s life; a
bicycle, rained on and rusted, begging for the solace of an oil can; and the car
just glaring at him as he sat and rocked. The car did not care about anything
because it still ran and knew it would travel again one day soon.
Only old junk and memories remained, except this one brand new item
upon which he sat and rocked. This squeaky rocking chair was a new vehicle
for him in which he would spend the rest of his days growing older than his
memories. This was his time machine.

C Michael 75
Prose Part I
I have arranged it so I can’t be hurt so easily. The last time it broke, I
decentralized my heart. A ventricle here, an aorta there. You see, I figure when
your heart is in one place and it breaks, the whole factory has to shut down for
repairs because everything is linked tightly together. But by separating the
different chambers and placing them strategically throughout my body, I found
that the pain is easier to manage and heals a lot quicker. Now instead of the
whole thing breaking, just one portion of it does, and the others can keep
functioning throughout the healing process.

When I think about what my life has been reduced to, I can do nothing
else but laugh; however, if laughter is a finite commodity, then I’m afraid my
supply has been exhausted by this moment. I wish I knew where I could get
more. If only I could borrow someone else’s laughter, just for a little while, I
could break it down into the sum of its parts, examine the chemical properties
and synthesize it. I’d have laughter again, but only externally. However, if
laughter is an internal entity, I’m afraid there’s no way to mimic it that would
convince me I’m actually laughing. It might fool others, but not me. Perhaps if
laughing is contagious, I could fake it long enough to make someone else do it
for real and maybe then I could catch it.

“And Now a Word from Our Sponsor...”

Did you ever get the feeling that everything you did or didn’t do just
didn’t matter in the grand scheme of life? Like you have all this ability and you
just can’t seem to tap into to it to make it useful for anything in particular, so
you just give up instead? Well, try Creatia! Creatia is the answer for all
mediocre writers, musicians and artists out there. People who take Creatia are
not afraid to put forth their worst effort and sell it for way more than it’s worth.
People who take Creatia will increase their output tenfold without risk of doing
anything truly spectacular and then actually having to back it up with some
more. Side effects include a heightened sense of fraudulent self-esteem, greed,
gluttony, a guaranteed return to obscurity, itching and redness, and chronic
diarrhea. People with self-respect and common sense should avoid taking
Creatia, as it may cause mediocrity. Ask your doctor if Creatia is right for you.
If he says “no,” ask more doctors until you find the unethical doctor who says
“yes,” so he can receive kickbacks from our mega-corporation that in turn
funds political parties to ensure laws protecting our right to profit from the
financial rape of your wanton success.

76 C Michael
Prose Part I
“A Digression of Chronological Importance”
And then the writing stopped…again…and it didn’t start…again…not for a
long, long time…and it wouldn’t…again…not for an even longer time than it
didn’t…which, incidentally, is more impossible than it is improbable…which is
possible because mentally time is intangible and therefore a perception
translated by personality and activity…even though it is also a measurement of
physical existence…and it happens to be consistently happening at precisely
regular intervals…even though it can seem (a remarkably vague word) and also
be infinitely varied…i.e. second to minute to hour to day to etc…but seconds
can seem like minutes, just as hours can seem like days and days, weeks…even
though they are exactly the same every single time (there’s that word again, this
time referring to any given moment as opposed to an actual measurement)
without fail…and time is always going…even though it doesn’t go anywhere…
yet we can still feel like it stands still…and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good
(even though it hasn’t gone anywhere)…and there’s always more of it, but less
or none when we’re late or in a rush…and it never stops…even when it stops
for you…but I digress…again…the writing stopped.
This was written when it was written…not a moment too soon…not a
moment too late.

The knack for writing I once possessed has deteriorated into a
disjointed series of words clumsily strung together into semi-coherent
expressions of useless rhetoric.

“The Magnanimous Salad”

I mince words into a delicious salad of sentences with a smooth and
creamy verbal dressing that pours from my pencil, but a little too much seeps
out and I get this overwhelming flavor as I chew this cud designed for human
consumption. It tastes sour and sweet.
There are no croutoneous words I could add to give it that frivolous
crunch. They have become sogged with the artistry of the calories dumped
upon it with zealous flavor.
This tossed salad of nonsense makes a lettucy noise as I swallow. It
kerplunks and pudribbles through my insides satisfying my mental craving for
brain-food fodder. Chlorophyll flavor bursts in my mouth as I find a plain,
undressed shred of greenery. “Gulp,” I swallow and say to myself “Mmm!
That’s what I love!” Food for thought as it indigests throughout me. I let out a
soft gaseous murmur developed within the depths of my gastrovascular cavity.
Relief is fine.

C Michael 77
Prose Part I
“Earn a Living”
I didn’t choose to be born into this world, but for some reason I have
to earn the privilege of being here. I have to go through my measured paces,
suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in order to gain some kind
of respect from the great beyond…
I got myself to the point where survival has become more important
than being. Responsibilities keep me from my dreams; responsibilities I took
out of necessity. Now I have something to lose. That actually causes “fear and
I fear financial destitution; therefore, I loathe my job. I fear the loss of
my significant other; therefore, I loathe her absence. You can’t have fear
without loathing.
So now I am stuck, and with it comes this heinous, crippling disease: a
lack of imagination, loss of creativity. The spark of invention has long since
turned to wasted carbon. I need a venue, a palate, a media to once again
stimulate ideas. I need to be doing, not talking. I must implement the stunted
ideas and allow them to flourish. Stop talking.
“Just Do It.”
Ignite the passion again.
Don’t question who you are.
The road is clear.
Drive on it fast and furiously.
Find what you’re looking for.
Boredom is past.
The future is now.
You are Go!den!

78 C Michael
I Shall Now Think

I Shall Now Think

think think think think think think think think think

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
“ “ “ “ “(yawn)” “ “ “
“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “

Whew! That was tough.

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 79



I was just going to say
I mean, uh
In any case
It would be like
Yeah, um
I don't know, but
On the other hand
I think...
Just so you know
As a matter of fact
For what it's worth
As far as I know

80 Boomer Wadaska

You know
To be honest
It's like
Something, something
If I'm not mistaken
In other words
Don't get me wrong,
You know what I'm saying?

Boomer Wadaska 81


Limit, please, seven

syllables for this one line
and five for this one.

I don’t like lifting

objects that weigh very much
because they’re heavy.

Writing a haiku
is a tricky thing to do
when you’re not sober.

A soft breeze whispers

sending shivers down my spine
as I think of you.

82 C Michael


a beautiful scare
crow. fragile & cold, dropping
pennies in the snow

Michael C. Flor 83
Prose Part II
Prose Part II

“God’s Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank”

One day a long time ago, I believed I was my own god. I was full of
passion and ambitious. My hopes and dreams were clear as crystal and on a day
by day basis. Everyday was fulfilling and…wait a minute. This is hogwash….I
remember sitting in my room at night, lonesome as a shark with my mouth
agape, ready to sink my razor sharp teeth into the marrow of life whenever it
happened by. I was a hunter, a predator with the extraordinary ability to stalk
my prey and devour it in a ferocious feeding frenzy. And I did so every time it
swam in front of me.
My tail fin was broken, or maybe I was stuck in my cave, or any other
number of excuses I could come up with to justify my sedimentary approach to
living life to the fullest. That’s when I became aware that God was within me,
when I finally realized those feedings were rarely circumstantial. Then I became
a hunter. I sought it all out until I grew tired. My muscles had atrophied during
their stasis, so it didn’t take too long to become exhausted.
Through the years I would come out for more attacks, but eventually I
would be worn down by the toils of the predatory lifestyle. Somewhere in the
midst of all that push and pull, the unfathomable grip of ennui began to take its
toll on this lone hunter, and as a result, I became lost. I was pulled into a
maelstrom and couldn’t swim against the torrents and ultimately drowned myself
into oblivion, forgetting who I was.
Once fully grounded on the ocean floor, in the darkest abyss
imaginable, I had nowhere else to go but up, so I turned to desperation. That’s
right; I prayed. I became a querulous wimp and sustained myself in the salt
water of my very own tears.
I prayed relentlessly until God finally answered…or I thought He did.
What you believe to be true becomes true for you and things started coming
true for me. My prayers became requests, and God became mystical. He was
no longer inside me. He became an omnipresent force within the universe;
without me. This is a flaw in many religions.
Now that God was released and running around the universe
somewhere, like a genie released from a bottle, granting me wishes, inside, I
died. All my passion left with Him, I guess to be ubiquitous; meanwhile, I was
still stuck in this trench, a tremendous wreck of a frame, wondering who in the
hell I was. Then this same God who I released from his prison over a year ago,
one day grew weary of fulfilling my desires, got fed up with my incessant
bitching and moaning and constant demanding of Him to perform his lovely
magic tricks at my whimsy. So he shit on my head.

84 C Michael
Prose Part II
Feeling wretched and unable to sleep, I ran around the block. I was
angry. When I finished running, I climbed my sacred tree, as I always did, and I
proceeded to yell at Him, in the middle of the night. I probably woke him up.
My next mistake was so tremendous, who could blame God for shitting
on my head? I said, “I love you, but…” Now, do I need to explain how this
statement is an oxymoron? So it was at this moment that I heard a little squeak
and some bat guano dropped right onto my head, and just like a cartoon
character’s memory is jogged when a flower pot strikes his cranium, so too was
mine and the light bulb lit up bright as Einstein as I realized I had to put God
back inside of me. If only I could find Him.
Strength comes from within. If you pray to God for strength, and He’s
somewhere else, you’re not going to get it. If you try to find it yourself, and
He’s not there, you’re going to grow weary and frustrated. But, if He is inside
of you, He’s got to live there, so He’s going to give you everything you need.
After all, I imagine He wants a nice house.

“Brilliant Exhalation”
The phone rang and I spoke sheer brilliance and expressed proverbial
wisdom for the ages…and now all that wistful poignancy has aspirated into
carbon dioxide and either bonded with the atmosphere or entered the life cycle
of existing greenery. Where do the words go? We know they exist, but only for
a moment in time—then they’re gone forever, a very short life span. I’ll never
be able to recapture those thoughts the same way again, worded to perfection.
Oh, well…

“The Sunshine Lounge”

He walked over to the Sunshine Lounge, open 7pm-4am, and went in,
looking for new faces… There were none. Just the same old sad, lonely,
confused grimaces as before, including his own reflected in the looking glass
behind the bar.

“Letter to Beethoven”
Dear Ludwig,
You have a very silly name. I think changing it would be a bad idea
though, because the world needs silliness. Try buying a funny hat and a name
Truly yours,

C Michael 85
Prose Part II
I’m sitting at the laundromat rereading the contents of my journal as
my rump is being massaged by the gentle pulsations of a General Electric 2
speed commercial washing machine. I’m tired and hungry and In the Heat of the
Night is on the television. Mr. Tibbs. Gillespie. Images of a new dead-by-his-
own-hand son of an acting legend. Simple diversions of what I really want to
write about, but there are too many strange folk milling about to truly get
personal. Or am I being lazy?
For a moment I was disturbed by something…I’m a bit restless and
The pen is doing strange things. How do I stop it? What can I do?
This woman keeps looking at me like there’s something unusual about
what I’m doing. What am I doing? I’m shaking…oh, the machine, the
machine. That’s nice. The detergent bottle dances and I have a listless grimace
upon my face. Am I doing well? Does the woman know?
No. Paranoia.
What? What?
I’m losing track here.
Hello. I’m coming back or I’m trying
or I can’t…
Washer’s done.

“Rehab and Dating”

Crushed, our intrepid hero trudges back to his empty, sheetless bed,
accepting yet another defeat, and places the pain of “what could have been” in
another empty coffee can on the shelf of sobriety and wakes up to wishes and
dreams that he will never touch in the physical world…
and it goes on like this…a little while longer because
he doesn’t know when or if it will ever end…

“Trapped in a Box”
The moon was so bright, as if someone punched a hole in the night
sky, leaving an opening just large enough to crawl through and escape the
darkness… Now, if only there was some way to get there…

86 C Michael
Prose Part II
“Media Sensationalism”
The further people take this nonsense, the more we enter the extreme.
This is the “Extreme Age.” There is no more middle ground. We are traveling
towards a black and white world under the guise of a rainbow. Nothing is
sacred anymore, especially not religion.
We glorify killers and criticize heroes. We treat celebrities like gods and
goddesses. Less than ordinary people smile in the camera light, blinded by their
own cosmetically bonded teeth clenching tightly without daring to open their
mouths and question their lives, held under duress by the risk of losing all of

“Someone Got Married on August 21 and I Was There”

I went to a wedding at the end of which they made the guests read
together and aloud an old Apache song (in which I did not participate). The
voices in unison sounded like a reel-to-reel tape being played slowly backwards
and warped. sssssiiihhht ekiiiil gniiihtemooosssss ddednuoosss tiiiI, and the
only word I can remember, the only word I heard was “loneliness.”
Meanwhile, I was gazing at the church’s carpet when its appalling
pattern slowly began to dance and display symbols. The first and only symbol I
can recall seeing was a swastika. This hideous symbol once meant “power” a
long time ago as some ancient rune until Hitler tilted it into an icon of malaise.
Oddly enough many Native Americans used that very symbol (the older one) in
a lot of their art work and pottery. So what is the correlation betwixt the two?

“The Necessity of Comprehension”

Somehow I don’t think it is necessary to try to understand everything.
It is always the initial impression that affects us the most. The motive is not
important in this case. To analyze anything in great detail is like trying to
understand the mechanics of the universe. It’s too complex. At some point we
have to accept that it just works. It can not be explained like plumbing. There
are no answers, only impressions.

C Michael 87
Untitled 7/5/95

Untitled 7/5/95

Saw this movie

that made me feel
like those dreams of mine.

Felt this love

from me to you
you to me.

A holy circle.

When I try to remember you

I realize
you don't really exist.

Just a dream
a vapor
a movie story.

Can't remember your name

or face
outside of slumber.

One thing remains

inside my head
is the intense dance we had.

Wish your void

could be filled
outside my dreams.

88 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Untitled 7/5/95

One day she'll come

and fill up

'til that day, I'll always have

my dreams
my sleep
that movie story.

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 89



Grant holy crusade begin

for sacrosanct grail overflow
anthropomorphic ejaculation
absorbed by body and soul

and resurrected trespasses

pleading remission absolute
at frequented intercess
erected by man upon rood

Colonnade scaffold deity

incarcerate incarnate embodiment
where spire ascends to divinity
impales grace-fallen figurehead

From core lustrous aurora eject

borne by trickled liquescence
discharged unrefined holophrastic
violated with threshold admissions

90 Boomer Wadaska

Summons to ingest the bread

knelt submission for sacrament
reverence for ministering facade
ecclesiastical figurement

Convey the crux and body consume

behold soft palate, the entity
cradling humble cranium
braced visage deficient itinerary

Ebullient throes, belly convulse

intonate falsetto requiem
imbibe life's cupping pulse
choking fertile diapendion

Pure white heat perorate

gained composure and tempered haste
faith collapsing devaluate
the ill effects of aftertaste.

Boomer Wadaska 91
I Dreamt of You Last Night
I Dreamt of You Last Night

A naked woman beckons on a bench in the park. She is not you. My

friend approaches from down the path. He is no one I recognize, but I have
known him for years. A body stirs.
We walk down the path, my friend and I, singing Louis Armstrong’s
version of the theme from Threepenny Opera. We know the words better than
when I am awake.
“Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear…”
The sidewalk beneath our feet breaks apart and a gazelle gallops across
our path. We follow it, still singing.
“…and he shows them pearly whites…”
A forest opens into the mall. We walk from store to store, but we only
look in. Lines of clothes and dental chairs. Neon tubes and red pipes run along
the ceiling, but not in my mall; just this one.
“…Just a jack-knife has MacHeath, dear…”
We are stalked by a maniac and move quickly through the crowd. We
hear the mall music in the background.
“…and he keeps his out of sight…”
There are no floors or walls, only suggestions of them. We run past all
of the stores without looking now.
“…When the shark bites with his teeth, dear…”
My teeth start to chip and crack apart painlessly as blood flows
smoothly out and drips off my chin.
“…scarlet pillows start to spray…”
My front tooth cracks in half and breaks. My friend, who is someone
else now, but I do not realize it, though I know him, laughs at this. I spit the
pieces, which feel like gravel in my mouth, onto the deck of a ship, but I don’t
wipe my chin. The air smells of salt, of course, like it’s supposed to smell. A
shark is swimming in the pool on deck and the passengers are panicking. An
Asian friend of mine is singing karaoke on the bar.
“…Fancy gloves, though, wears MacHeath, dear…”
His dialect is normal. My friend and I try to think of a way to get rid of
that shark while a little girl falls into the pool. “Look, Mommy! I can swim!”
she says.
“…so there’s not a trace of red...”

92 C Michael
I Dreamt of You Last Night
I have to rescue her. I dive in and grab her as my friend vanishes. The
girl and I are now in the ocean. She is no longer a little girl, but someone very
special to me. Someone I love more than anything in the world.
“…On a sidewalk Sunday morning…”
I take her arm and bite it. We are now holding each other comfortably,
sitting in bed, naked. I nibble lovingly on her arm. She laughs and giggles. We
are perfect, happy. We love each other.
A body startles. I sit up, suddenly alone. I shout her name. I am
sweating profusely. The only light in the room is emitted from the red numbers
on my clock-radio as it plays.
“…lies a body oozing life…”

C Michael 93


It becomes almost near impossible to find myself inspired within the

realm of any creative sense when I find that my own personal life has
lost its ironies, coincidences and spontaneities. Those ingredients that
keep a person's balance unstable, sight askew and sensibilities
unmarbled make for some fantastical juices. Without them, I find
myself where I am today, which is of no surprise to anyone who is
intimately associated with the narrative of my life however much they
hope and wish for an unfunkified and dramatically compelling
modern folktale. The only contradictions I can ever possibly muster
nowadays are wholly contained within the grammatically incorrect
and brain-exhausting run-on sentences that I make my readers
stumble and trip across....
The most ironic thing in my current chapter is a cat named Setzer
Whoodini Skulking Swiffertail. This biologically purebred Turkish
Van gave up his vagabond life on the mean streets of State College,
Pennsylvania to enter mine. Having been raised alongside an
incalculable number of animals during my suburban upbringing, I
can rightfully say, for the most part, I had only connected to most of
them by some means of toleration and by no means mutual respect of
any sort. The aforementioned Mr. Swiffertail (a title with which he no
doubt regards with textbook feline apathy) has capacitated a
condition I haven't known but once before, back when I was a little
Long ago before the punkass began to develop his full degradation, I
had a pet hamster named Ben. Ben was the first friend I ever had in
my life and my life ambition was to become an ordained minister. By
the second grade I had read the bibles NIV and KJV cover to cover
and had much of it committed to memory. I remember spending
many hours upon hours reading verse aloud to Ben as he sat on my
chest or shoulder listening to my voice (and he never pooped on me
One day when I had come home from school, I couldn't find Ben and I
tore my room apart looking for him. I discovered that he had
somehow fallen behind my toybox and, although breathing, he was
completely unconscious. I held him in my hands close to my chest
and prayed to God to perform a miracle and help my poor friend. I

94 Boomer Wadaska
begged and promised to do anything God would ever ask of me if he
could grant me that one favor. Within a minute Ben stopped
breathing and he was gone forever. I could not comprehend how the
Alpha and Omega of the Universe could not grant the tiny favor to a
most faithful kid to keep his simple pet hamster alive. I was pretty
convinced at that moment that there was no power in prayer at all
and, even though I continued to attend church every Sunday up until
I graduated high school, I never really regained any faith or pastoral
career aspirations...or any affections or desires toward ever owning a
pet again.
When I lived in State College, Setzer would appear at my door every
morning and follow me as I walked to work, weaving in and out of
my feet almost tripping me the entire way. I would find him again on
my return trip home and he'd follow me all the way into my
apartment where I would scavenge for something I thought might be
an appropriate snack for a homeless cat. Eventually, I started
stopping off at the convenience store and bringing home legitimate
feline fare. After his meal, he would disappear off down the street to
visit the other people in the neighborhood.
One night in late December I kept hearing a little chirping noise and
thought a baby bird somehow got caught in my outside heater
exhaust vent. I opened my front door to go outside to check and there
was Setzer, soaked and shivering with icicles hanging from his fur. I
brought him in and he's been cramping my style ever since. Now that
I've transplanted him here to Bucks County and work from home, I
pretty much spend all day with him. I've realized that when the day
comes that he passes on, I'll be pretty sad about it.
The other day Setzer brought to my attention that my studio was
being visited by a bunch of tiny ants, obviously trying to get out of
the cold and seeing if they could take me for some charitable sucker. I
tried to discern a walking path they might be following that would
lead me back to a point of entry but they were all just scattering
around in a typical ant-like fashion. Much like how I feel about
anything I attempt to write anymore. Words like wayward ants.

Boomer Wadaska 95



96 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

part of me @ least

part of me @ least

i gave you all

i have
i could
of me.
i only wish i
could have
given you more.

Michael C. Flor 97
Prose Part III
Prose Part III

“The Martyr of Reality”

I want to be comfortable. I want to be comfortable for real. I want
real friends. I want friends who aren’t afraid to be real. I am the martyr of
reality. Where are my followers? I don’t want to feel this lonely forever. There
must be some people out there who truly get it. Not those that think they get it;
those who truly get it. My mind would be clear as a bell if there was an obvious
tangible definition for it all…

“A Warning”
This at all can’t be good. Bad times are upon us, my friends. The
legions of emotional doom are striking at our hearts and minds with almighty
rage. We are at the pinnacle of desperation and the winners will come out

“Notes on Traits of Japanese Politics”

After the 1930’s, nothing happened ever on a deserted island located in
the middle of nowhere. No life was on it, not even paramecia. It never rained;
the wind didn’t even blow, nor did the sun shine. Just a whole of nothing going
on all the time. Oh, yeah; the time didn’t even pass.

“The Pit”
As the blood flows through my body, a vengeance of sound soothes
my mind so savagely it drowns out all emotion in its wake. It is a sound so
relaxing that my brain grows dull to the world and is only aware of one thing—
the sound. It embodies all that is alive inside of me. It is a part of me. It is me.
The sounds flow through my veins and distribute an adrenaline rush vicious
enough to burn out the sun. From it, I thrust myself into the pit and flail
vigorously about. Unbeknownst to me is the wall of pain that separates me
from the real world. The sweat breaks off my body and all adjacent are covered
with my ablution. The sweat christens them as they respond to my movements.
The oxygen runs out of me and I no longer need it. The pulsating sounds
crescendo and come to a swift halt. All is still and once again, I am me,
exhausted. I push my way through the mob, but I can not escape. The next
song begins and I find myself no longer me again. I wish it never had to end.

98 C Michael
Prose Part III
“The Expense of the Y2K Bug”
The quiet always disturbs my peace. How long will the quiescence of
solitude plague my weary consciousness? It agitates every moment with fear,
loathing, worry…stress…sadness, naught for me so much as it is for the rest of
The wind is a torrid gale right now and it lurks outside my window like
a succubus poised to drain what is left of my precious essence, my creativity. I
have been stunted by perpetual ennui. The worst thing is that most of it seems
to stem from financial woes. In a country where money is God…
$In God We Trust$
What happened to separation of church and state? That phrase was put on our
money by an act of congress in 1955. And now, go to prison for assault, rape…
8-10 years maybe. Rob a bank, 10-20 years? How dare you steal God? And
here I am attempting to be my own God, not for worship (another form of
idolatry), but for guidance. I try to find the strength within me and I often feel
like I am cast out of the rest of the world (living in Lancaster County doesn’t
So I am currently in debtor’s prison and it’s worse than what I imagine
Hell to be and Heaven seems to be for the wealthy that live in palatial homes
and drive ridiculous automobiles… God is money.
We have to pay for our own edumacation, our own health care; in fact,
there’s not a damned thing I can think of we don’t have to pay for.
Air: $.50 for 3 minutes
Water: $.99 for 20 ounces
Earth: $?,???/acre
Fire: $80/month for heat
These are our basic elements and we pay for them everyday. Dare I go
Time: See cell phone bill, or any phone bill for that matter
Space: $???/month rent, $???/month mortgage
Past: Income taxes
Present: Internet/TV
Future: Insurance
That’s right, we even pay for what might possibly happen! I’m sure
there are a lot more expenses I am overlooking right now. You have to pay for
your right to live! But don’t worry! God will take care of it all if you have
enough of Him!

C Michael 99
Prose Part III
“Y2K Compliant”
Here comes the ebb and flow of society. Here comes the rise and fall
of humanity. Television equals Coliseum. Sex is prohibited. Violence is
praised. Y2K destruction will come about by the hands of man based on the
notion of a computer error. The greatest conundrum of all time. Y2K
compliance is but a Pyrrhic victory.

“Limbaugh v. Machinery”
There were two sounds in the air that afternoon—Rush Limbaugh and
a high-pitched whine. There wasn’t much difference between the two, but I
chose to focus on the high-pitched whine because it seemed to have more
intelligent things to say.

“Failure to Suspend Disbelief with King Lear”

How is it that Edgar, disguised as a dirt-eating madman, can get himself
within the presence of the king and actually hold a conversation with him?

“Revenge Is a Dish Best Served First”

There was an old horse who grew weary of carrying her rich, pompous
master, so she threw him off, whinnied a nightmarish laugh and trotted on the
old man's bones, braying “how does it feel to have me on your back!?”
The horse brayed her way right into the mucilage jar as the old man
unfortunately survived, but the rich man will never feel as satiated as the horse,
especially since he has no feeling in his legs...

“An Unusual Correlation”

There are so many old people at casinos because they are attracted to
bright lights, which is the same reason we see so many moths at bright lights.
Moths are attracted to the smell of old people, thusly causing a dramatic
increase in the necessity of purchasing moth balls when we get older.

I wish I could decipher my mind for you, but words mean nothing
without experience. You would have to experience my mind, what my mind
knows and sees and understands.

100 C Michael
Prose Part III
“A Man Can Dream”
Sometimes I go for long random walks just looking for someone to
fornicate. Okay, I admit that I am an attractive guy with only a minor flaw I
blame on the entire female population—they are all shy at me. None of them
just walks up to me and proffers their body to me. Damn them. So can I really
be blamed for everyone else’s actions? I don’t think so.
One of these days there will be a female brazen enough to come up and
admit she wants to go to bed with me. Okay, so I’m dreaming. But wouldn’t it
be cool if I wasn’t? I could indulge in any sinful pleasures I wish, whatever they
may be, and die some painful death due to some horrible social disease.
So maybe it wouldn’t be as great as I thought. But a man can dream…

“Why Go to Live Theater?”

You can spend your hard-earned cash going to see a movie, which will
cost you about eight bucks. Add in a bottomless barrel of popcorn for another
three dollars, and then of course you can't go thirsty, so tack on another three
dollars for the drum of soft drink. That's fourteen dollars to sit in a dismal
theater with gum on your seat and a floor that feels like it's alive. Plus, now you
have to put up with the common riff-raff they allow in these movie theaters; the
necking teenagers, the obnoxious talkers, the repeaters, and the other social
miscreants that sneak in through the exit doors with six-packs of “Ol' Mud” in
their pants.
Now you're sitting through this cookie-cutter cliché of a Hollywood
horror and the guy behind you is boasting that he knows what's going to
happen next, the wise ass to your right is yelling, “Don't go in the basement!”,
and the airhead in front of you is asking a million questions because she's not
smart enough to even understand a Disney cartoon, not to mention her hair-to-
God that forms an impenetrable wall even dynamite can't blow down. Then
there's the screaming kid in the R-rated movie whose mother doesn't have
enough sense to take him outside because she finds it more convenient to yell at
him to shut up. And finally, halfway through the movie, some jackass in the
back row throws a Slurpee across the theater that splatters your girlfriend and
ruins your lucky t-shirt.
Now wouldn't you rather have spent that fourteen dollars to go to your
community theater and see a live performance of something that most certainly
won't be out on video in a couple of months?

C Michael 101
Life's Collage

Life's Collage

Life's collage
an exposition of debris
inherited reminders
with intangible receipts

Pain's prompts
are idolized delusions
of illegitimate treasures
and embraced first impressions

Death's success
blueprint expectoration
total ego amnesia
affluent predetermination

102 Boomer Wadaska

Autumn Lonesome

Autumn Lonesome

Wind blows
blustery chill

it gusts thru my insides

removing summer's memory
emptiness that's unmovable
remains 'til spring fills it again

Leaves change
and die

Nature's last hurrah

Then it cuts loose extra baggage
saddens me with intuition
that someday I will be cut off.

Empty beaches
and boardwalks

Seagulls are all that stay

even they cry a lonesome wail
my heart echoes their sentiment
every second, "I'm alone"

Fans crowd
Football stadiums

Packed into close quarters

and I don't even sense anyone
I feel deserted by mankind

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 103

MySpace Girl

MySpace Girl

You'd think that all this would be a bit simpler, but it's not?
Escape the empty harsh world for a comment that "you're hot!"

Storms knock out the power and the little things we take for granted
become obsessive worry to consume the moment
and the wars and killing overseas pale in present company
compared to predicaments concerned with
running water, flushing toilets, food spoiling and beer getting warm...

I read a book by candlelight and wondered what the world is like;

how long had we been gone and not able to communicate
and share our self-absorbing deprecation and trade our medications.
I smoke a cigar and wonder where you are
on this giant map that points the arrow saying, "you are here."

Your inspiration spans the cyberspacious glands

of lonely souls against the clergy for hemorrhages received.
Please don't judge the numbers of all the ones and zeros
that make the pictures and the words of the internet symphony.

We should meet atop a warehouse in the city,

I'll bring my harmonica and you can just sit there looking pretty.
We'll pretend everyone's concerned about the two who went missing
and look down at the chaos laughing, crying, kissing.

My head lies on your stomach and I can hear your body churn,
we'll remember this day forever or at least until after the sunburn.

104 Boomer Wadaska

The Paul Bunyan Trilogy

The Paul Bunyan Trilogy

“Forsaken Legend”

Chainsaw in Hand,
A sinister Laugh;
“I am David!”
A mighty Giant falls,
“You are Goliath!”
More Lumber;
The Smell of Victory
is burning Timbers.
Wood begets Fire,
Fire forges Metal,
Metal replaces Flesh;
Mother Earth turns cold and bitter.
“Take that, You mighty Giant!”
“Take that, You dumb Ox!”

C Michael 105
The Paul Bunyan Trilogy

“Forsaken Legend Remembered”

There will be no use of power Tools this Day

As We revere His enormous Soul,
In Awe at His Marvels:
Pike’s Peak,
Aurora Borealis;
His blue Companion forever at His Side,
Sharing his Sorrow,
A Babe weeps;
The Advent of Technology upon Him,
Half an Inch;
A Technicality,
The mighty Lumberjack has been timbered.

106 C Michael
The Paul Bunyan Trilogy

“Forsaken Legend Remembering”

A Craftsman
Chops Wood
And builds Shelter
For Himself and His big blue Ox;
Protection from the Cold,
Friends forever joyous,
But wondering,
Remembering What might have been
A better Time
But always thankful,
This humble Craftsman,
Looking up,
He heaves a Sigh,
The Starlight hindered by Invention,
A venerable Giant defeated by the Technology of Man…

C Michael 107
Untitled 6/30/95

Untitled 6/30/95

She is out there

waiting for me
luring me in

she loves

i love

hold tight baby

getting nearer
i'm still searching

108 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Beloved Dream

Beloved Dream

Imagining those eyes that held me captivated

and those lips I once imbibed that are now an absent kiss
refresh expired passion through scenes remaining timeless,
replete with reminiscences incarnated

where the touch of your hand that paused my breath

and brunette curls that smothered me with pleasure;
your alchemic mixture induced intoxicating seizure;
recipes of potent enchantment summoned my ingest.

Tested by arduous divides and tyrannized by desire,

my devoted forecast defied, pleads immediate reparation.
In sweet coma I lay content, rapt in amorous meditation
my resolution for your absence, in beloved dream I retire.

My agony. you dispel and imbue my empty mold

recluse only in flesh, we are inseparable in soul.

Boomer Wadaska 109

Prose Part IV
Prose Part IV

Darkness shreds my insides with wicked sharp claws. I've seen too
much and it knows. It plagues my soul relentlessly, laughing at the torment it
causes. Why did I have to see? How could I let it know? Everything was well
hidden from it and then I opened my eyes and enlightened the darkness.
There is an evil lurking around it that wants to come out and play, but I
keep it imprisoned within in me to prevent it from damaging others. It riots
within my mind and weakens me to the core. How much longer can I restrain it
now that I have seen it all?

“Nothing Is Something”
The difficulty in writing lies within the ability of the pen to make a
mark on the page. My inability to write has been interrupted by the miracle of
actually doing it. It's so simple. I haven't written much in so long, I'm out of
practice. I will begin by writing anything. Then I'll write something. Then I'll
write everything.
Now even nothing is something...

“The Trouble with Communication”

Ink stains the paper with thoughts controlled by my hand that were
released from separate locations of my mind simultaneously, but can only be
relinquished in linear format allowing for unabashed mutations of the original
structure. In other words, one thought comes out in several disjointed
segments that form a message that the receiver must accept in order and will
translate back into one thought. The message's journey will always cause
variations in transformations and the receiver will never fully understand the
thought exactly as the sender had intended. Even the words themselves emit in
linear fashion; they begin and they end, but our minds can work with no
beginning nor end until we try to organize it into a message, whether it was
intended for someone else or ourselves.

110 C Michael
Prose Part IV

“Quashed Hope”
His thoughts were drizzled onto the page, coming few and far between.
There seemed to be no focus behind any of them...except one; one glaring,
somewhat misogynistic statement spurned the notion of an idea on the inner-
mechanics of his mind, not to mention the ill-fated designs of an attitude borne
of mental anguish brought on upon him by many failed love affairs.
Complacently written in purposeful handwriting was the statement,
“Behind every great man is a greater woman holding him down.” It doesn't
take a team of profiling psychologists to figure out that here was a man feeling
slighted by his commitments to his significant other, held from his dreams by
prior obligations and required responsibilities. Here was a man with quashed

“Rubber Band Ball”

I made a rubber band ball a few months ago. I haven't touched it since. I look
at it and see that the rubber bands have begun deteriorating. Some have even
snapped, but I never seem to be around to hear it.

“One Last Thought...”

We may have been born and we may die, but our lives are a loop;
there's only something tangible in the interim. The proof is this: What was
your first thought ever? Don't know. What will be your last thought ever?
Don't know. Will you remember your last thought after you've had it? You
didn't remember your first...

C Michael 111
Banana Meltdown

Banana Meltdown

Ladies and monkeyfish, if you were to learn of the following tale by

any other means than this very prose, hunted and pecked by none
other than your beloved Levittown Punkass, you would call that
impostor a second-hand, albeit, unemployed sandwich artist whose
true nature is purely indiscriminate of the happily untested waters in
Tullytown quarry and the horribly underaged.*

So, my loyal readers of mindfunk and brainjunk, you may take heed
(and/or whatever is the opposite of "heeding") as you will, to this
story of which I would swear allegiance to the native granola statue of
Skitswabia (that is, if the imposing faction who has yet to acquire any
anti-gingham fashion sense whatsoever, firstly kill their chapstick
idols) were I forced to, in order to prove its whole authenticity to the
disconcerned and fashioned, vertically-stripaged.

You may be wondering to yourself, at this very moment, "did I

remember to put that Snuggle fabric softener in the wash for my dress
socks?" or rather, more accurately, "what the hell is this fucking guy
talking about!?"

Well, I must admit to all the Anglo-Saxon Michael Jacksons and

Academy Award winning child blacktors of the world there is, very
deeply buried in the sole of an authentic 1970's style Chuck Taylor
sneaker, a point. Rather, at this juncture, an actual beginning to some
semblance of anything story would be a welcomed respite from this
seeming ungodless endingly.
The truth is, as succinct and proper a crème 55lb page can
accommodate, the very fact that the author may be nonetheless very
intoxicated on fruity beverages laced with scopalamine and chased
thereafter with his choice between a mixed drink (popularly referred
to by the polka-dotted aboriginal tribe of Skitswabia as a "blue fiery
nipple") and a crumpled up piece of newspaper (with one of three
options available: 1. the local sports page (Monday edition) of the
112 Boomer Wadaska
Banana Meltdown
now-defunct Harrisburg Peabody News (evening edition), 2. the table
of contents from Boys Life Magazine (not necessarily a newspaper,
but for the purposes of adjective conservation, it will have to do) and
3. the police log page from a January 23, 1984 Bucks County Courier
Times which detailed the escapades of Morrisville resident and 1978
Pennsbury graduate, Phil Pizzolo who (at the time) had several
outstanding warrants out for his arrest when he was caught by Bristol
Township police wrestling a 15lb Tullytown quarry carp in front of
the Green Lane 3M plant while the residents of the neighboring
Fleetwing Estates bet on whether he would gouge its third eye into
oblivion or ultimately, pee himself.

It is my very hope, nay prayer, nay hope is good enough, that you
may now begin to understand that there may not have been any
conception of anything story when this entry was nothing but a mere

My humble apologies to you for getting this far and having wasting
what could have been valuable time browsing for sexy new two-
dimensional faces with which to adorn the friend section of your
MySpace profile page or finally coming to terms with the fact that, no
matter how long you ponder whether you indeed did forget to put
the rain-scented Snuggle into the wash, the important thing to realize
is, that if no Snuggly-scented aroma emanates from the washer, run
the cycle again and pay closer attention to your load of dress socks
instead of reading inane, pointless prose.

*revision: (currently, together at last!)

Boomer Wadaska 113

The Best of...
The Best of…

“T.emporal V.ortex”

Staring at it
Second to minute to hour
The temporal vortex proffers
Relief from the humdrum.

“Christopher Waiting Patiently”

Christopher just sits there

waiting patiently
for the shower.
He just sits
for the sh

114 C Michael
The Best of...

“The Countess Is up to Her Old Tricks”

Aren’t you done yet?

Kicking me when I’m down…
I’m bleeding
and you just lap it up and laugh,
as you come back for more,
addicted to my pain,
my love vampire,
leaving nothing left for anybody else,
not even me…
I bless my soul
my corpse doesn’t rise
to become one of your minions.


It used to be
whatever I wrote
turned to Gold,
but lately,
it does not seem to
come out write;
it seems to be staying Lead…
(you could really appreciate the pun better if this were in pencil)

C Michael 115
The Best of...

(a 1 one)

116 C Michael
The Best of...

you broke my
into tiny
I put the pieces together, but...
there is still
piece missing,
and I am left with

“Route Down”

Gridlocked, idly broken

inhaling manure and monoxide,
engine vainly revving
my vehement vehicle reverberates
as I endure great trafficulty
getting to you...

C Michael 117
This Oughta Be in Reader's Digest

This Oughta Be in Reader's Digest

Once upon a time, a slave stole his master's horse and escaped to
Canada. The Master went to the officials and wanted his slave back
because he stole his horse. The officials stated that a slave was
considered property and so was the horse and property can't steal
property. So, since the horse carried the slave over to Canada, the
horse stole the slave.

118 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Sophomore Poetry

Sophomore Poetry

“With Your Thoughts” “What Was I Talking About?”

Thoughts are like knives, I had a thought one time,

Slicing your mind into individual pieces But it slipped away,
For you to chew on and spit out And where it went
As they relentlessly torment your I can not say…
Like bad flavor,
And they become reality,
Leaving you alone,
I yawn when I’m tired
With your thoughts.
And lately,
I can’t keep my mouth shut.

“Get Up”
I realize now
That I’m the one
Get up! Get up!
That’s missing
Get out of bed!
From my life.
Get up! Get up,
You sleepy head!
“Was It a Cat I Saw?”
There’s much to do;
There’s much to see;
While I was wandering away
If you stay in bed,
From a caterwauling crowd of macaw,
You’ll never be…
I saw a shadow slink and sway,
So get up! Get up!
A ponderous perception, a playful paw,
Get out of bed,
Swatting, swinging, scratching at play;
And put those dreams
Was it a cat I saw?
To work instead!

C Michael 119
Sophomore Poetry

“Genius or Fool?”

A poem... “Weight of Words”

about a man
who walks down the Words are nothing more than tools
to bisect our souls...
at night
To say too much is redundant,
in the fog
not enough is apathy.
and can't see past his
nose. Words are nothing more than
He got to be
and they describe what we want to
where he needed, know.
but missed the trip... I'm saying nothing,
Genius and it means everything!

“My Mind Seethes Hot Thought”

My mind seethes hot thought,

Seeping through intangible cracks in my skull,
Rushing to escape all at once.
Like the fertilization of the egg,
They impregnate the boundaries of the world,
Corrupting the frontiers they break
Of those neglected, dying,
And I live until the last thought has left my head.

120 C Michael
Sophomore Poetry
“I Hate Poetry”

The true expression of emotion

Wrapped soundly with heartfelt devotion;
Words of beauty, songs of love,
Psalms of glory from above,
A fit of anger, a bit of strife,
Words of wisdom on death and life,
Painting pictures of fallen leaves,
Sighs of pain as poets grieve,
Passion spake through tongues of rhyme,
Syllables assembled by meter and line,
A lyric, a song, a sonnet,
The words we feel have drawn it,
Epic ballads and pastoral woes,
Epigrams of the world we know,
Our minds spoken in pretentious states,
Yes, it is poetry that I hate!

“Love and Madness”

Love and madness, hate and sadness,

Seething, pumping, twisting madness…
Little deeds done did little,
Love-torn heart straight through the middle;
Spasm pains, contorting, grinding;
Broken words, mocking, blinding…
Doom doom doom doom doom doom booms;
Impending, compelling, desolation looms…
Love and madness, hate and sadness;
Reeling, wrenching, biting madness…

C Michael 121
Sophomore Poetry

“Have You Ever Seen a Fool A-Walking?”

Have you ever seen a fool a-walking

Where vicious beasties go a-stalking
And witness many large fangs that’ll
Make a man a mangle
And see him bleed and see him die
And sordid vultures feast upon his eye
Because that’s all that does remain
Along with blood in beastie’s mane
Or did you turn your troubled head
And put your opinions back to bed
And leave that poor fool there to die
So you may continue your life of lie?

“Inspiring Words from Our Sponsor”

Just start writing anything that comes to mind

And the answer will neatly unfold before you…
Keep on writing…
Any second now…
You’ll find your niche
And fill it
With so much ink it’ll cloud your vision;
You’ll drown in a pool of black ink…

122 C Michael
Sophomore Poetry

“The Screaming Children”

I feel the children screaming

within me
how to get out
and I can do little to suppress them
and the pain of their claws
slashing my insides
remains hidden
only through my stone cold
alone, I wince
desperate for a way
to spit them out…

“Acceptance of a Life Less Ordinary”

How can I get out of this dark room

if I just settle in?
My ass will get fatter on the couch of monotony.
I’m going to write a new page…
It will have nothing to do with me…
I will dive into fantasy for a moment
and see if I don’t come out swimming…

C Michael 123
Sophomore Poetry
“What Am I?”

Am I a sandcastle,
waiting for the ebb and flow
of the ocean to slowly erode
my emotional fortitude
with the occasional tsunami preparing its devastation
not too far from shore?
Am I a decaying mummy,
wrapped in a shroud
through which no one can see my truth
until I am discovered and unraveled
and I crumble to dust?
Or am I a time bomb,
just waiting for the right moment
for it all to blow apart?
I just want to be something simple,
but once you know the truth,
that’s all there is…


don’t even
keep me
with their

124 C Michael
Sophomore Poetry

“Wandering Soul”

I am
I lost my love.
When I
It was

C Michael 125



winD bLOwS thrOhGh mY mInD
aLL caRs mUst stoP
i AM cOmIng thRouGH
dont sTARt unTiL i gEt thErE
i wiLL sTiLL maKe iT thRougH
i caNnoT bE kiLLeD bY thIngS thaT
dont knoW me weLL eNOUGh to hatE mE
remoVE thE woRry frOm youR emoTionS
LifE caNnot go ON withOUt me
mY iDEAs aRe toO vaLUabLe to bE LosT
mY pASsion haS noT bEen shAred bY everYone
my sKin reJecTs aBsorptioN
nEvEr fEar...


saBLe bLack aRmiES canNoT rEmovE mE
frOM my sTUBborn sTanD
yoUR skIN is coLD aNd weT
aNd yeT, i aM wArm aNd feD
cRowN me kiNg aNd
LEave mE aLonE

126 Boomer Wadaska


i dont knOw yOu

i caNnot seE
i sIt siLieNTLy
waiTiNg patIentLy
i knOw fOr sUre thE LighT wiLL aRrive
i am nEvEr diSsapoInteD...


am i rEaLLY in gOOd hAnds wiTH aLLSTATE?
caRry me saFeLy
thEn agAin
i caN waLK
thIs is nOt goOdbYe
thaNK yoU fOr yOur hAnd, bUt
i caNnot taKe iT witH me
wIthOUt diFficULty
my frEezer is FuLL
the pACIFIC oCEAN's servinG daTE haS eXpiRed
i caNnot brush mY hAIr whEn
i LosE mY hEad
inStinCT is aLL i nEed...


i havenT usED mY poTentIal

Boomer Wadaska 127


LiFe aWaiTS me
witH LiTtLe feEDbAck beYonD a
stYLe ciRcULatioN
witH LiTtle fOrgiVenesS fOr
faLLen hEroEs
tHe wOrLd cAn stiLL bE sAlvAged
mOdern mEdicInE wiLL eXtEnd mE
my fRIends wiLL kEep me haPpy
whAt mE wORry
preParED to eAt it aLL
i am tHe caPtaiN oF MY SOUL

128 Boomer Wadaska

Two From Biology Class
Two From Biology Class

“Class Dreams”

Starving, I went to my next class, Biology; yay. As I sat there listening

to Dr. Ha babble about genetic diseases, my stomach began to rumble like
Thor's hammer, Mjollnir. It was so loud, I could swear it could be heard from
six classrooms over. The hunger pain gnawed at my stomach as it cried. It
made sounds so unnatural sounding it was if I had some genetic disease. I
thought to myself there are a hundred people here I could eat if I get too hungry.
I mean, right about now, every time I swallowed, my stomach said, “Thank
I could feel my body thinning as I had more and more of nothing to
eat. I started to feel all rib-cagey, with a swollen belly. I could see my flesh
thinning before my eyes which were now beginning to sink into my head.
Slowly I transformed into a grotesque visage of skin and bone. I needed food
and fast.
A cockroach scurried past my peripheral vision and tried to escape my
sudden, threatening grasp. I snatched it up and popped it into my mouth. I
could hear its exoskeleton crunch as I munched away. It tasted like chicken.
After I swallowed it, I felt only partially satiated and realized that one
cockroach could not fill even my shrunken tummy. I searched frantically for
another, rapidly losing the energy I gained from the roach protein I had in me.
None! I couldn't find a single cockroach anywhere. The students
around me stopped, suddenly noticing my frenzied fidgeting. They gaped at me
as I squirmed in my seat, my eyes scanning for cockroaches.
But then, out of the clear, biological air, a fly buzzed past my head. I
tried to catch it, but it was too quick for me and my now atrophied muscles. My
rickety, decrepit, stick-thin body fell to the floor as I swatted and twitched
involuntarily. Then, all was dark.
During my unconsciousness, I had a dream. I dreamt that I was sitting
in my biology class taking notes on hemoglobin, blood cells and genetic
diseases. I was paying perfect attention and ignoring my hunger pangs. Then, a
cockroach scurried by...

C Michael 129
Two From Biology Class

“The Monster That Died”

It looked like a spider with its legs creepy-crawling all over the place,
but it wasn't. It had feathers. It scurried across the ceiling and ate my friend,
Jon. I screamed and ran as it came after me. Then it spit out Jon because he
didn't taste too spiffy. Then it ate Dr. Ha, but choked and had to regurgitate
him. The Ha-mass on the floor was half-digested and looked not so pleasant. I
almost hurled but I swallowed it and ended up with that yucky taste in my
mouth. I got a drink of water as I sprinted from the wretched creature.
Just as I thought I was escaping, I ran right into a huge mother-of-a-
woman at the door and was momentarily winded. It caught up to me, but I
managed to squeeze by the enormous lady. It couldn't get through because she
was so fat, she clogged up the whole doorway. It tried to eat its way through,
but the lady was so fat that when it ate her, it died of high cholesterol.

130 C Michael


meaningless, meaningless
this page is meaningless...

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 131

The Smoking Monologues
The Smoking Monologues

“Dating the Addiction”

Samantha: Okay. I was seeing this guy and I guess we were going out for like,
uh, four months before we actually, you know, slept together. It wasn't that we
were waiting for that special moment or anything, we just could never make a
go of it; I mean, I guess he wasn't very, I don't know. He was sexy, it wasn't
anything like that, it's just that he never really pushed anything, and I've never
been one to rush anything, so...we just never, you know, did anything. Well,
finally the uh, we went out on this romantic date, like dinner and a play and
drinks afterwards, and it's around twelve or so when we finally decide to leave
the bar and he takes me home. He walks me to the door and suddenly, it's
really awkward and then he just says “well, goodnight” and kisses me. Now,
I've been giving signals; it's not that I haven't, but I guess he just wasn't reading
them. I even thought that maybe he wasn't interested in me, but four months?
Okay, yeah, maybe he doesn't believe in premarital sex, okay, but I mean we
never really discussed, you know, sex or anything like that. I mean, we didn't
have that kind of relationship. It was starting to get a bit...dry. So anyway, he
goes to his car, I go into my house and I'm just like, “Shit!” Then there's a
knock on the door. It's him, of course, and he just grabs me and kisses me
really passionately and one thing leads to another and we, uh, we, uh, you know,
we make love and it's wonderful. And afterwards he tells me he's a virgin! A
twenty-five year old virgin! And I'm like “oh, God!” you know. I mean, I just
knew he really meant it! He was just so shy and so cute and then he's like, “So
do we smoke a cigarette now?” Neither of us smoked anymore. We both had
decided to quit at the same time, and well, that's sort of how we met, but
anyway, I say what the hell, right? I mean, the perfect end to a perfect evening,
so I snuck around the house, and I find a pack of my roommate’s cigarettes and
we light up. The next night, he comes over and we rented a movie and we
didn't even, you know, get halfway through it and once again, afterwards, we
light up. And I make this joke: “I hope we don't get started up again,” just
joshing. He says, “Well, let's make a deal. We'll only smoke after we have sex.”
One cigarette, that's all, and it's set. Well, for the first week my, uh, you know,
sex life is great; every night, sometimes twice even and pretty soon we find
ourselves going through a pack a week, then two packs. After we hit three
packs a week, we both caved in. I mean, you know, we were, uh, wearing each
other out and the sex was getting not so, uh, well, you know. I've been a born-
again smoker ever since.

132 C Michael
The Smoking Monologues

“The Photographer”

Tony: I'm smoking in bed, right, and I'm tired. We hadn't slept for like two
days, just going from one party to another and finally, I pass out, I'm in La-La-
Land, I'm dozy. So anyway, as you could guess, the cigarette drops from my
mouth and the next thing you know, the whole god-damned bed is on fire, just
like engulfed in frickin' flames, right. Naturally, I wake up from this and I'm
like flippin' out, got like this second degree burn on my arm and shit and I'm
just screamin'. Fuckin' Jimmy comes running into the room and he's like “Holy
Shit!” He tears ass outta there and I'm tryin' to smother the damn flames with
my pillow, right. Now, you're a cameraman so you can appreciate this—fuckin'
Jimmy comes runnin' back into the room with his camera and starts fuckin'
taking snapshots of the fire, me tryin' to bat it out, right. I'm like “Do
somethin', Asshole” and he's laughin' his ass off takin' pictures. Son of a bitch.
I'd show you them if I had them with me. I should keep 'em in my wallet or
something. So anyway, smoke's like billowing everywhere, I'm hacking and
coughing while Jerk-O is laughing and playing Ansel fucking Adams or some
shit and the frickin' phone starts ringing, right. So I pick it up and I'm like
“What the fuck?” I tell 'em to call the fire department—it's my frickin' mother!
So now I got her screaming in my ear, I'm yellin' at Jimmy and the fire's startin'
to get worse. Okay, so outta nowhere, Jimmy's girlfriend like comes plowing
into the room, buck fucking naked with a fire extinguisher. She must've
grabbed it from the hallway or some shit, right, starts fightin' the fire like a
trooper. She's like this naked fireman or something. She fuckin' puts out the
fire, and all the while Jimmy's still flashing pictures. Oh, god! It was wild! I'd
show 'em to you if I had them with me, man. You gotta see 'em!

C Michael 133
Not Just a Package

Not Just a Package

A strange package appeared at my doorstep the other day.

Actually, it was more toward (more accurately, on) the picnic table
that rests atop the front deck of my house (i.e. atop the table, atop the
deck, atop the property lot, atop a weathered carbonate and/or
calcitic limestone shelf). In all honesty, I say "my house" but truth be
told, it would take quite the crack-whored broker to finance even the
utmost modest domicile to my person...

The aforementioned house and aforestated deck as well as the

aforesaid property lot belong to my landlord, the honorable Dr.
Psychologist, and the picnic table belongs to his secretary who
abandoned it there two summers ago during a botched attempt at a
social mixer. The limestone shelf's ownership I would argue to
belong to the one and only "Ultimate Landlord of the Planet Earth,"
Gaia (you know, The goddess of the earth, who bore and married
Uranus and became the mother of the Titans and the Cyclopes, silly!)

Basically, the strange package appeared twenty feet (and around the
corner) from my doorstep, but to avoid drawing a prepositional map
for those who have never visited my (landlord's) home (and you
know who you are, you discourteous associates!) I compromised and
described a general locale within the realm of a latitude 40.8803,
longitude -77.8129 vicinity, so sue me!

Now, I also feel compelled to clarify that there was nothing

particularly "strange" about the package itself. It was completely
ordinary in its packageness, so far as I have been raised to know and
recognize such things. All of the typical physical properties seemed
to be in check with my initial examination of this stationary object and
I can only assume that it was indeed retaining its original color. The
described "strangeness" was wholly in the fact that I had not expected
a package to be there upon this certain approach, since I had been
well aware of keeping quite a self-restraint on impulse eBay

134 Boomer Wadaska

Not Just a Package
purchases combined with the fact that my birthday would be over a
month away and that no one loves me enough to ever send me a
present for it anyway.

And, since it did obey these proper laws of physics, I must also
concede that the (completely unremarkable) package actually didn't
just "appear" in front of me. Whoever placed it there originally was
obviously long gone and I'll go out on a limb and assume that
particular courier does not moonlight as a freelance magician who
plays practical jokes on his and/or her paranoid neighbors.

So, the moral of this story would seem to revolve around the fact that
I have a very prosaic life and can muster the ability to make even the
most trivial events much more complicated and verbose.

Boomer Wadaska 135

Trixie's Trying Trick

Trixie's Trying Trick

Tripping upon the trap,

Trixie turned to tap.
Too tardy to try
her tumbling trick.
Trixie tossed two toes
into teeth too terrible to tell,
she broke her foot.
And she threw a fit.
And that's the end of that Trixie story.

136 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

The Sixth Year

The Sixth Year

So why is this opened wound smiling?

Is it for the applause of a masterpiece in Pain?
Or, perhaps, the true irony of an empty gift
awarded for an unfortunate anniversary-
when a writer's muse vanished with the script
leaving behind a strange comedy of errors
with an actor silent and staring into space,
exposed as a fool for being a coward, afraid
to improvise that which a heart once knew...

The actor stands still, in blinding red lights

where the earth has been scorched to ash as
the stage is consumed by thick, black smoke.
The light turns blue on trees barren as bone
behind the coward transfixed to a blizzard with
sounds of blasting static and ghost voices.

How long will an audience remain for a scene

without magical birth or tragic death?
For there is no drama in immobility and
no pity from the critic who wanted to see
puppy dogs and ice cream.

Boomer Wadaska 137


I never won anything in my life. As far back as I can remember, I

never won anything. Except twice, maybe, but I don’t count those.
The elementary school I attended was the domain of all young
prisoners who were forced by their mothers, and the law, to get an education,
but we really didn’t learn much anyway, except how to read and write and add
and subtract. Basically much of what we were told, like about Christopher
Columbus, we discovered were lies once we reached the high school level,
where, incidentally, I was awarded, for my excellence in English and German,
two nice wooden plaques with my name and the respective subjects on them.
Anyway, we used to have raffles during lunch in my elementary school,
but not everyday. The tumult they sparked in us young captives of the
educational ball-and-chain made going to lunch more exciting than
We always had two choices at lunch that the school district offered and
we were made to decide early in the morning, when we weren’t even hungry, so
the cafeteria people knew exactly how much slop to prepare. Our decisions
yielded the welcome reception of little plastic octagonal chips that read either
“Regular Lunch” or “Alternate Lunch,” which we gave to the cafeteria people
so they could give us our lunches accordingly, but more so we couldn’t change
our minds later in the day and screw everything up. We used to find much
rebellious pleasure in scraping them along the dully-painted cinder-block prison
walls of the hallway, trying to make perfect circles out of them. They were even
color-coded: blue for “Regular Lunch” and red for “Alternate Lunch.” The
alternate lunch was always pizza, which was more like a slice of bread with
ketchup and plastic cheese on top and tasted much better with mustard.
When we had the raffles, they gave us tickets for them when we paid
for our bread and water, which was either a buck-o-five or a lunch ticket which
was purchased in one shot at the beginning of the week. As I was one who was
always late for the bus in the morning, thus rushing out the door without my
lunch money, my mother began taking precautions to ensure I was well
prepared in my pre-responsibility days by making me a lunch-ticketer. Thanks
Before the drawings, we were permitted to eat our food, sitting in our
assigned seats or at the “Bad Kids’ Table” depending on whether the roaming
lunch monitors, all mean old ladies that hollered at kids for no other reason
than to get a few kicks for old times’ sakes, felt like putting you there or not.
They were totalitarian dictators, strutting around with their whistles and “I’m
better than you because I’m older than you” smirks on their pompous, wrinkled
faces. They might as well have had blue uniforms and billy-clubs. I once got in
trouble for cracking my knuckle because one of these tyrants interpreted it as an
138 C Michael
obscene finger gesture. I was sent to the “Bad Kids’ Table,” which was nothing
new; I usually sat there anyway, and if I, or anyone else was extremely bad,
theses megalomaniacal lunch ladies had, and often abused, the power of
revoking recess privileges.
The big drawing was held after we finished choking on our fine cuisine.
The prize was usually a giant cookie, which was often chocolate chip, but when
I finally won, I got oatmeal raisin instead. I think I was the only kid in the
history of elementary school raffles to win a giant oatmeal raisin cookie. In fact,
I can swear that no one else in this entire universe was ever awarded such
unpropitious swag. I think that somewhere some higher-ups are constantly
playing wicked pranks on me and that this just so far happens to be the most
demented kick in the pants I have ever received from them. Not an oatmeal
raisin cookie; a GIANT oatmeal raisin cookie. Some win. I’d rather have won
a giant, stale soft pretzel, which was another common raffle prize.
The second time I won the raffle, the prize was much better. I was the
lucky recipient of an enormous inflatable Oscar Mayer Wiener Hot Dog, which
unfortunately didn’t last very long. We popped it during recess and that was the
end of my hot-diggity dog. I never won anything else.
So I spent the rest of my elementary school lunches losing raffles and
then oh-so dejectedly getting in line for recess, more often than not that line for
we lads and lasses who had our recess privileges ruthlessly stripped from us and
were forced to stand against the wall watching the little angels play “Suicide” on
that same wall, pelting us with their tennis balls. Whoever said, “It’s not
whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” obviously didn’t have
raffles in mind.

C Michael 139
So Far

SO FAR 6/29/95

I stride forth.
What are you running away from?
Flit along, little twitterbug.
It's so pointless what you're doing!
Run jackass, runnnnnnnn...........
Questioning looks thrown at my back.
Snide comments thrown my way.
to prove to myself
I stride forth.

Inhaling deep, my body begins to combust its fuels to fire my flesh.

it's crazy
that one action can consume or define
there lies one more fine line that we all toe up to
I hope it only defines me, but I know
I am as much of it as it is of me.
Maybe I have been consumed.
but not yet absorbed for carbos.
Just feeling the burn
and that's crazy.
I exhale my self-made poisons and continue upon my course

Perspiration for inspiration??

I think not, my son.

I strain forward in hopes I don't die.

to die means to stop trying
or to surrender

140 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

So Far

I don't want to die,
because I hold so many of my dreams with me here.
For those accomplished:
I feel the pride of a father seeing a child grow up and prosper.
For those failures:
Parts of me die, heartache lies in this place steeped in a
sweaty sorrow.
Then, there are those that are to come:
This place is infinite, I can do all things and not any at all.
This spot holds the most precious human drives,
hope and desire to achieve.
Here I am, immortal.
With these dreams, I can push my limit and know I elude death.

My neurons flare, blood courses, muscles explode.

I think it ultimately comes down to power.
I feel the power when I surge, rage and overcome.
Ah, overcome, there's the rub.
My greatest achievement is to control myself,
to "...beat my body and make it my slave..."
To achieve this, I must humble my ego
and not overcome my inhibitions and pain.
I do not degrade myself.
I build strength in knowing I am my only master.
If I can overcome you
then I also hold power over you.

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 141

So Far

So be careful.
Yes, I think it's power.
My spirit flares and mind expands,
my focus is needle sharp.
I can be as strong as Samson,
as swift as Mercury.
I am hate and retribution personified.
I like the power.
Sodium and potassium deplete, muscles strain and weaken,
I peer ahead for the finish.

My sinews tire and joints ache, I slow to a halt because I must rest to
start over tomorrow.
There is no "finish" - just a journey to the abyss,
and for this journey, I must now rest.
My body flushes and pores shower on me with perspiration
like a baptism, it cleanses my soul.
My exhaustion comes with a sense of peace.
No "runner's high"
No "endorphin rush"
No "euphoria"
Just peace and a release from daily woes.
and this is why I do it.
This is why I don't snap and destroy you and your little
I hope you find it in your own way.
Meanwhile, I must find a shower.

142 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Amtrak from Harrisburg

Amtrak from Harrisburg

My most recent travels via our nation's public transportation

system have been completely uneventful and that itself could be
considered quite an event for me personally, since absurd-like events
typically follow me in Murphyesque fashion.

The only thing even worthy of noting was the 300lb man carrying
with him a rolled up, skankified prison mattress who seemed
incapable of curbing the incessant urge to ramble incoherent
mumblings to himself between loud rumbling belches and gulps from
a mysteriously endless supply of cans of Coca Cola. The man’s two
inch bottom lip flapped non-stop, at times with great emotion and
sincerity with such phrases as, “Brock shivel a dumpsta gotta thun”
and “wreck blah pop a fonda shawn” to which I can only imagine
could be logically deciphered as “I just can’t contain my enthusiastic
love for this Coca Cola, it’s so damn refreshing” and “one day, I’ll
contrive a plot to enact revenge upon Greyhound for banning me
from riding their bus lines.” I’d have to admit, if my translations are
indeed accurate, (and, dependent upon a large majority of the
passersby within his daily realm going through such interpretative
lengths as I), he would be quite a compelling spokesperson for either

Initially, I thought the man might have been either conversing with
someone via a cleverly-hidden cellphone device, practicing lines for
his upcoming, off-Broadway audition or chanting Krishna prayers,
but alas, it seems that the large gaseous man is just a testicle hair from
being certifiable.

To my dismay, the extra $4 one shells out to opt for train transport
over bus ride doesn't exactly weed out the riff-raff one might expect.
All this has just reinforced what I have long known to be true:
regardless of the situation, people who talk to themselves creep me
the fuck out.

Boomer Wadaska 143

The Mud Slide
The Mud Slide

I think we were about eight or nine, Timmy and I, when we had one of
the greatest times in our childhood. The games we created as children were the
best games we ever played, like Sideline Football in the snow, Gobble-Up, and
playing with our Matchboxes and Hot Wheels in the dry, pulverulent dirt of
summer. We were invincible kids, and I don’t think there will ever be kids like
us again. We were one of a kind and indestructible, untouchable, and dirty.
Not only have the kids changed, but you don’t see that kind of dirt
anymore, especially around Levittown, where it used to be everywhere, tons of
it laying around waiting for us to make dirt roads and towns for our die-cast
miniatures, or dunes for our plastic army guys to battle in the trenches. We
were so creative, we once made a flowing river through my back yard for our
imaginary wars, using a garden shovel, a gallon milk jug and some tinfoil.
But that dirt made it all possible. It was a very fine, powdery dirt, much
finer than sand, and you could get it all over yourself and easily wipe it off with
a wet washcloth and dust off your clothes with a few swats of the hand. It also
made the best mud; the kind we would make huge mudballs with for those
messy mudball fights we would start after it rained or our pops just washed their
paneled station wagons.
A specific patch of this fine dirt lay down the street by the stop sign
that marked the boundary of how far our parents let us travel without telling
them where we were going. One day after a thunderstorm had passed through,
Timmy and I wandered down towards this dirt patch, which was of course now
mud. The day was beautiful and warm and both of us were beyond bored.
Timmy was faster than me. In fact, he was faster than all the kids in
George Washington Elementary School, and out of his boredom he taunted me.
“Betcha can’t catch me!” he gibed, running away from me. Being the type of
person who always accepts a challenge no matter how low my chances of
winning were, I gave chase. Besides, it was something to do.
Ducking, dodging and weaving, agile Timmy evaded me with ease. Not
that I was a slow one either; he was just extremely nimble.
I pushed myself harder than ever and was finally drawing near when
Timmy, not looking where he was going, charged straight towards that huge
mud bog. Running right into it, he slipped and fell, sliding the entire distance,
about nine feet, on his backside.
Seizing an opportunity, I slid feet first through the mud, like a baseball
player sliding into second base, and crashed into him. “Caughtcha!” I shouted,
both of us laughing hysterically.

144 C Michael
The Mud Slide
We cackled like hyenas, gawking at each other’s mud-caked pants.
Timmy got up. “I’m doin’ it again,” he said and ran down to the end of the
mud patch. He backed up and yelled, “Outta my way!” as he bolted toward the
mud again, executing a perfect chest slide, almost crashing into me.
We took turns sliding through the mud, trying to beat each other in
both style and distance. Mud covered us.
Afterwards, we trudged back to my house, walking like Frankensteins,
not bending our knees because suddenly our wet and muddy jeans were the last
things we wanted touching our skin. It’s funny how it didn’t faze us while we
played in it.
We got to my house and oozed through the front door, into the
kitchen. My mother was at the sink doing the dishes when she saw us come in.
“What, in God’s name, happened to you two!?” She didn’t really yell, but
instead, the question popped out as she tried to hold in the laughter. We were
quite a sight!
She made us strip down and get in the tub while she washed our jeans
and tees. When we finished bathing, we sat in the living room in our underwear
watching “Tom & Jerry” cartoons and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
my mother made for us.
This is my fondest memory of Timmy. A few years later, he moved
away and I only saw him once after that. He had a little brother and sister then
that he didn’t have when he lived on my street. I heard that his father died in a
tragic accident a few weeks after his visit and I read in the newspaper years later
about his amazing success in track and in football at his high school, breaking
all the eastern high school records. I don’t know what happened to him after
that, but I’m sure he went to the college of his choice, playing football, running
track and maybe someday he’ll be in the Olympics or playing professionally. I
wonder if he would even remember me, after all his possible fame, fortune and
glory; especially the time we played on the mud slide.

C Michael 145
Greyhound to Savannah

Greyhound to Savannah

That tired, old smelly dog idles, braced at the starting gate
delayed, but determined to wait for an infestation of flea riders;
its noxious blood draining, exhausted before budging
laboring harebrained, shifts into high gear
fleeing a Texas whip, motivated by Lentzschian spurs
gouging its sides, just below starved ribs
advances toward the crown
town of the commonwealth
to shake off its dirt.

The fleas transfer to the second leg, where

lice sensed a presence
insensed by a growing stench of
urination and defecation and the pungent
sensation of damnation
toward a holy land via hell.

A pit stop knocks the clock up

the vermin observing the spectacle of themselves with
more color and pomp of their circumstances
procreating on the spot before the very eyes of
ticks talking to themselves and walking in
circles, jerking off and coughs amidst the spit and shit
where the lot of them sit, after boarding another
much-maligned, accommodating canine.

146 Boomer Wadaska

Greyhound to Savannah

As darkness falls at the next pit,

vampires rise declaring war before the very eyes of
the bloodsucking poor, they terrorize
wearing camouflaged uniforms,
crushing, scattering, ego shattering
the manic melee startles the pup away.
The fleas and lice escape, but the ticks remain
the essence drained.

The specks progress along a misfolded map

mobbed and trapped, ready to snap with
the dog eager to scratch through farms and
sprawling fields, under porches, over cricks and
through mosquito swamps where the March mushrooms
were in bloom, arrives at its home and into a room.
The greyhound collapses at Savannah's feet, deceased.

The fleas leave and jump off with relief, one lone
louse allured by her beauty strand as she walks to her
Eden, barefoot she visits King Solomon who sits
by emerald fountains and fashions her a rose from his palm.

Savannah strolls by her river where the fish swim to greet her,
the louse smells the air as a gentle breeze blows through
her hair, he nestles into the answer to his prayers while Savannah
sits in Telfair Square and brushes her tresses, dislodging the cootie
onto her dress who tumbles off and cries in distress as he watches
her leave and disappear in the mist, he boards a passing puppy
longing to return to her.
Boomer Wadaska 147
Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze

Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze

Kyle's Procrastination Comes to Play

I have decided not to write sdrawkcab today, not that this is

something I would normally do. It's just that I can't concentrate
enough to even do that simple task. You see, there's this phrase I so
dearly want to remember, but it keeps racing around my mind just
ahead of recollection and it is ruining my concentration.
That, and there is a green koala on my back demanding
macadamia nuts.
Normally, this having of koalas on my back would not faze
me-not at all. Normally, that is. This, however, is not a normal day
because that phrase keeps slipping around my mind and I can't
concentrate; leaving me susceptible, open to attack. I don't know
where this strange creature came from, but I wish it would leave me
be. His green color clashes horribly with my carefully-chosen
ensemble of clothing and he keeps demanding strange foods that I
just don't have!
"Hey there, bucko," he says to me, "you got any of them chili-
I reply that I have none. I tell him that I have work to do and
if he would please go away, please go away. Even though I am
playing my boring, "music-to-do-work-to" music, the green koala's
claws dig deep through my flesh and straight into my mind. He
causes my mind to swirl and plays silly buggers with my psyche.
Suddenly, I have this strange urge to strip off all that encloses my
nakedness, except my X-mas undies, and chant the Boy Scout oath
on my driveway in pig latin.
That is just insane. I was never even in the Boy Scouts!
The only thing that saves me from acting kooky is
remembering that stripping would ruin my carefully-acquired
exterior. Also, for a brief instant, that elusive phrase is swept to the
top of my mind and acts as a cool balm upon my frontal lobe. This,
however, does not have the same effect on the koala, unfortunately.
Upon this, he is violently thrown, headlong to the floor.
"A fine way to treat an old friend," he grumps to me, "and
what is this terrible stuff we're listening to?"
148 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy
Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze
"Captain Peanut-a-delic & the Shim-sham Catamaran," I
inform him, and he heads to my CD collection. "Hey!" exclaims the
marsupial, let's listen to Gimp's Envy! What's that song they have on
the radio...? He ponders a moment.
"Strokin' it!" yeah that's it, "let's listen to Strokin' it!"
I, myself, feel the urge to change the music selection but fight
it down by telling him that my mother would never approve of that
music audibilized in our ever-oh-so-humble abode.
"Simp!" the koala calls me.
It is now, that I turn back to my ever-so-blank page and face
it with a mind racing after a phrase. "I've got to get this work done,"
I say to me. Nothing spawns forth. The koala splots right down on
my paper, obstructing that aforementioned attempt at productivity.
"Say there, snaggletooth," he says, "you ever play Huck-Nuck-
Bo-Buck?" he asks. Sadly, I haven't.
The koala snorts in derision. He states, quite profoundly I
might adjectivize, "My name is Green Koala."
"Ah," I say.
For the very first time ever, I examine the Green Koala's fur to
see that he, in fact, is not actually green, but factually wearing a
stylishly-green, triple-breasted, yet carelessly unbreasted Brooks
Brothers suit, and shirtless to boot. There is writing emblazoned
across his un-green, furry chest:
"Yo, Pork chop," he insults, "mix me up a batch of that char-
boiled shark with a touch o' lemon, would ya?" My mind becomes
increasingly murky. Numbly, I reach into my pocket and pull out a
melted Gummy Wurm.
"Yummers," I drone.
Green Koala cackles fiendishly. "Let's just forget about that
work for a bit," he croons softly, "it's such a shame that you don't get
out more often. How 'bout I teach you a few games?"
I nod, in agreement, yet still, quite numbly.
A half hour later, I find myself buried under Tupperware,
trying to pull Lederhosen over my head. Green Koala sits atop the
fire place smoking a cigar, smugly. Slowly, I pull myself from the

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 149

Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze
"MMMMmmmwwwrrrrr," I murmur.
Sluggishly, I realize who, or rather, what I'm dealing with. I
recall tests failed, papers unfinished, calculus class completely
avoided, busy work burned and scathing letters to the editor
concerning the abandoned Shop N Bag shopping carts rusting in the
creek across from my house unrealized.
"Oh, my," I realize, "this is my P... PPP..."
Before I could finish my thought, "Greenie" has his claws into
my skull, yet again, munching up the works. I forget all my cares,
my woes, and I begin to obsess about my abnormally long, third toe.
"You are my pinochle partner!" I exclaim, happy as a
mortician at a chainsaw massacre. "Yes, yes I am, " Greenie
chuckles, "how about a hand or two?" His grip loosens, reaching for
my Audubon Society limited-edition duck preserve playing cards.
At this, my mind becomes more lucid...
That phrase! It starts swirling round and around causing a
whirlpool in my cranial space and suddenly I remember! "That's it!"
I take a breath...
Green Koala is thrown to the wall.
He cringes in fear and begs for mercy. "Listen, I was just
kidding about all that Tupperware...what say you 'n me go do some
of that work, hehe?" It is too late. I murmur a whisper to a scream...
"Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze!!!"
I remember the phrase. Green Koala goes away. Not a
phrase, per se, but it'll do the trick. And that pesky Green Koala
vanishes without pooping on my desk, so I'll call that a success.

150 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy


Death Rattle
Current mood: restless

Memories are haunting me...little pictures in the back of my mind, but more
than that...lost sensations...how accurate is my memory? I remember entire
conversations, but I don’t remember them consciously verbatim...that is to say,
in my head I recall them, but to write them down...there’s no way to be
accurate...so how accurate is my memory? All these feelings dance around inside
me...don’t know what to do with them...Cherished moments I long to relive are
fleeting glimpses that remind me of what is lost forever...Once it’s happened,
it’s happened...and it’s over...So I try to make new memories in hopes of
recapturing something, but I’m not aware of what that is...Rarely realize a new
memory...What moments of this current manifestation of my self will
predominate my mind when I can’t sleep 10 years from now? What the fuck
was the point of all my past history? The mistakes I made...the mistakes I’m still
paying for...because I was so stupid...so out of touch...and now here I am, most
likely making more mistakes, some the same, some different, and I’ll look back
and say to myself "What the fuck was I thinking?" But there’s some good stuff,
too...Lots of it...Can’t tell sometimes if it’s holding me back or pushing me
forward...Anchor or winch? I’ll die soon...maybe 10, maybe 20, maybe 30 years;
maybe tomorrow...what will I remember then? And where will I go? Where was
I before all of this? I have memories that expand back only an infinitesimal span
of time...Prior to that there’s nothing...If we spawn from what seems to be
nothing, then where do we go? Heaven, Hell, Nirvana, Reincarnation...the
mythologies that help us cope with the unfortunate knowledge of our own
mortality...what happens when you’ve not found the right faith yet? What
happens when logic still outweighs the fear? And yet here I sit in a rut, feeling
sorry for myself, remembering what I used to do, merely a human being, not a
human "doing". And I can’t get out...so I stick to my foolish vices because I can
escape from reality for prolonged portions of the day...and get angry when I
return to reality...frustrated that my time’s up from being some place else where
I’m a genius, a mad man, a hero, a sex god...and now I’m feeling
ordinary...everything great is a red flag of my own failures...A great movie, a
great sports moment, a political achievement that changes the world, a fantastic
invention...they all sting me...I’m not doing any of those things...I’m just my
aging, fat old self...and I don’t know how to get up off my ass and do it...the
energy seems to have gone out of me...Passion dissipated. I feel I’m not smart
enough to figure this damn thing out...I’m always one step behind...I want to be
ahead...I need to take a step in the right direction, but I don’t know which way
that is? And I could die tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My car’s falling apart on me...a

C Michael 151
wheel’s going to fly off in transit and I’ll careen off the road into a pole and my
mechanical seat belt will fail me and I’ll launch through the windshield...and I’ll
never know greatness...at least not until the moment my head makes impact
with that same pole and just before I expire, I’ll have that fucking epiphany!
And I’ll know what greatness is...I’ll know exactly what to do...and then I’ll be,
to use a cliché, nevermore....Into the great abyss...whatever that may be...and as
for all of my memories? Will I still have them then? If not, what the hell were
they for?

Predictions in the Year 06

Holy shit! It happened!!! If you read my previous, yet depressing blog, you'll
understand the full capacity of my hitherto unknown psychic abilities.
My wheel fell off!!! I careened off the road into a ditch and came inches away
from slamming into a tree!!! I stopped short of a huge tree trunk by a few feet.
What's more, it was dark, cold and I was in the middle of the woods with no
cell phone (because generally I consider them to be more like leashes than
anything useful.)
Even stranger: I'm buying a new car today; I made arrangements for my auto
loan yesterday, before I lost my wheel!! (Also, a dealership I had perused back
in December left a message on my machine last night!)
Stranger forces greater than I are afoot! I saw greatness, but not my own (of
course.) And I didn't have to ram my head into a pole, fortunately. No, I just
had to be stranded in the freezing cold woods until a stranger getting off work
picked me up and drove me to a guard station at the company for which he
worked. This is where, with no voice (I have a nasty cold and can't really speak
at all) I had to explain to the woman at AAA, for over an hour, the situation,
which she just couldn't seem to grasp, so I had to repeat myself over and over
and over...All the while, the guard is watching American Idol on a mini TV and
playing solitaire on a noisy hand-held. Another employee is standing over me in
a corner, sleeping (yes, sleeping on his feet!)
So now my car is sitting in my parking lot with three wheels...and a whole lot of
sod it dug up from the ditch. And naturally, true to my own form, I won't be
able to trade it in today...Thus is the cycle of my life...
Well, I gotsta go. I borrowed a friend’s car so that I can go buy mine today,
which I'll have to pick up another day...

152 C Michael
H20 > $GAS
Current mood: Ripped-off

If soaring gas prices are a concern for you, how about the ridiculous water
prices. Even if you buy a 16 oz. bottle of water for the discounted price of $.99,
you are still paying $8.00 per gallon. The world's most abundant resource--
$8.00 per gallon. Spell Evian backwards....

I Need a Better Agent....

Current mood: tired

My mind has taken a turn for the worse. I have ventured forth into this
cyberspace without a clue or a care as to why. Somewhere in the back of my
mind I wonder what kind of people would actually read my thoughts. If
anything, at least there might be more evidence that I existed....

Doggy Style
Current mood: cynical
As Americans have finally reached the apex of sloth, they have decided it would
be time to spread the disease, this time to our little canine friends. I just saw an
ad for "Doggy Steps." The revolutionary new product (evidently advertised as
having been around for decades) is a set of portable steps that will allow Man's
Littlest Best Friend to get into bed or onto a couch with ease. No more forcing
the poor little bitch to jump or whine incessantly until you pick her up. She (or
he) can walk right up the Doggy Steps for the low, low price of not 129.99, not
89.99, not even 59.99, but 39.99 plus tax, lots of tax and S&H. Not only that; if
you order today, you'll get a second set of Doggy Steps absolutely free! They
must be taking a loss on that one. How can they just give 'em away like that?
Don't tell anyone I told you, but a box at the foot of the bed might be a hell of
a lot cheaper.

C Michael 153

This Time It's Personal

It's come to my attention that some people find it more important to be hard-
core, funny or pretend to be insane than to express oneself in well-rounded
discourse. So, in an effort to be more popular, here I go:

Hard-Core Haiku
Chiseled teeth sputter
As the blood pours down my chin
And I feel no pain

Funny Ha-Ha Math Humor

What's the square root of 69?
8 something...!!!

My Manifesto

I would like to kill:

(Fill in blanks; Add pages as necessary)

154 C Michael
I Have Not a Phillips Head

I Have Not a Phillips Head

Where's my wrench?
Where's my hammer?
Don't look at me like I stammer.

I have not a Philip's head!

No way!
Because his body needed it today

Poor, poor Phil, always losing his head

What would we do if he were dead?

We always stick his head in screws.

I guess to him, that's bad news.

But I don't care.

He ain't got no hair!

Because I have not a Philip's head.

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 155

Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus

The earliest memory I can ever remember remembering is that of

mustaches. When I was really little, I thought mustaches were created
and formed by a person with such disregard for their appearance and
hygiene that they allowed their own nose hair to grow out and across
their upper lip. Now, I had never before examined a man's mustache
to notice that this was not the case because I couldn't look a
mustached face...in the face. I had assumed in my young mind that it
was the status quo to feign ignorance. My rationale was that, had
someone actually looked at a man with a mustache that person would
ultimately get so grossed out they would just have to exclaim, "You
disgusting bastard! Why don't you trim your goddamned nose hair,
you freak!"
This whole mindset evolved from being raised to not stare at Aunt
Lucy's mole, pore over Uncle Frank's rosacea, eyeball that cross-eyed
kid down the street, rubberneck at the stroke-faced man, or ask any
questions whatsoever concerning scars, birthmarks, burns,
discoloration, bite marks or any feature that could in any way be
perceived as an imperfection. At an age when everyone was grabbing
my cheeks and drawing me within mere millimeters of their face, I
had to pretend that something didn't exist no matter how obviously it
did indeed exist. I remember thinking, "what an absurd society I'm
being raised in!"
My aversion to mustaches lasted up until the third grade. It was then
I had an art teacher with a ridiculous nosebroom. Finding it
impossible to follow a lesson, forced to stare at Mr. Trendler's
forehead every week, I figured it best to draw some attention to the
situation. Reaching into my lunchbag, I pulled out two leafy slices of
lettuce from a sandwich and stuffed them up my nose. Eventually, the
other students started to notice my new 'stache which also caught the
attention of Mr. Trendler. "That's disgusting," he commented, to
which I replied, "What, you don't like my mustache?"
I was relishing in the fact that I couldn't have possibly anticipated
how perfectly my devised plan was coming into fruition...even having
devised it and all, I guess I just wasn't that confident in my plans back
then. I continued my satirical performance by picking up my pair of
scissors (tips rounded for safety!) and trimming to the nostril as per

156 Boomer Wadaska

Hocus Pocus
simulated advocation would mandate. A long silence. I could no
longer hold in breaking the tension so, by snorting a laugh and snot-
blowing the remaining lettuce onto my art paper, Mr. Trendler shook
his head and walked back to his desk (mission accomplished?) The
class howled in laughter.
I could hardly contain my beaming pride. In my mind, I had
challenged a culture with a snide arrogance in a way endearing to my
peers to which I would now duly represent in the abstract, of course
with integration of the lettuce into the piece. While I don't quite
remember the exact details of the painting, I am quite sure it was as
genius of a representation its situation precipitated.
The next week, as the day of art class arrived, I could hardly restrain
my impatient expectations for a bare-lipped Trendler. As he arrived,
sadly, so did his schnozz-fuzz. I was stunned to see that, what I had
viewed as drawing an embarrassing attention to his commitment to
the grotesque-en-vogue, had not the effect I predicted.
As the class ensued, leaving me with eyes squirming everywhere
around the room to avoid catching a glimpse of his face, Mr. Trendler
called me up to his desk. He pulled out the painting I had done the
week previous.
"What do you call this?" he asked. By his inflection, I wasn't rightly
sure of exactly what he was asking (or accusing). As I stumbled over
stutters and stammers he rephrased his inquiry, "What is the title of
this piece? You need to name it something for the art show." I
happen to think that was also my first closest encounter with irony (or
what I had believed to be irony in my third-grade mind). I tried to
come up with something appropriate for my conceptual
interpretation, yet not too obvious, but straightforward enough that
maybe an audience of his peers would get the gist.
"Hocus Pocus!" I blurted out. (Yes, as a matter of fact, to this very day
my titling skills remain completely askew!) "OK, very good!" and he
wrote it down on the back of my painting and that was that.
Typically, students never attend the art shows, possibly for reasons
pertaining to a coy, elementary school elitism or, most possibly, it was
an excuse for the faculty from all over the district to booze up and get
horny in the janitor's closet. I begged my mom to take me but she had
a very important pumpkin loaf to manufacture at the time. I wound
up convincing my previous first grade teacher, Mrs. Mason, to take

Boomer Wadaska 157

Hocus Pocus
me if I promised to let her attempt to convert my demon soul by
attending a service at her church the following Sunday.
While it seemed that most teachers and administrators were more
concerned with the "punch" and "cake", I did catch a few making
some very intense glares at my painting. Specifically, wondering
what the crumpled green things were. "Interesting texture for a
watercolor," I imagined they thought. Once people started giving me
the "what are you doing here kid" stinkeye, Mrs. Mason began
nudging me out the door. I protested, wanting to wait until the
ceremonially-festive awards extravaganza to see how my art would
be judged. The principal picked up a blank certificate from a pile,
signed it and handed it to me. "There you go kid."
On the way home, (maybe it was the punch talking here) I let slip
what I had perceived a mustache to be. Mrs. Mason informed me
otherwise and thus began an uncomfortable segue into a commentary
on puberty. Fortunately, the trip ended before any embarrassing
mentions of "little boy parts" were uttered.
I walked into my house, where my parents were arguing about one of
those insignificant things they just loved to argue about, tossed the
certificate into the trash and sliced myself a piece of pumpkin loaf
without asking. My parents instantly stopped fighting and looked
directly at me, stunned by my brazen act. "That's not for you! Why
don't you ask before you just take something! Now you've ruined
The only thing I could respond with was, "Well, I just found out
tonight that I've gone my entire life being a stupid Pollock and
besides, they wouldn't let me eat anything at the art show!" As my
mom and dad attempted to wrap their heads around my ridiculous
remark, I left the room and went to bed.
To this day, I'm not sure what ever happened to "Hocus Pocus" but
my mom did fish my "award" out of the trash and still has it in a file

158 Boomer Wadaska

Between Lust and a Hard Place
Between Lust and a Hard Place
(11th Grade)
(Sam enters stage right wearing a long trench coat and a hat. He is smoking a
cigarette with his left hand which is covered in bandages. His right arm is in a cast and he is
wearing a neck brace. His nose is taped up. There is a street lamp down center to which he
stealthily walks and leans against.)

Sam: It was four p.m. on a Monday. The night was slow; I was bored. That is,
of course, until she entered my life. I’m Sam Shade, Private I. As you could
have guessed, this is a typical opening to a typical detective story, but it is also
the not-so-typical opening for an abnormal love story, I think.
She was beautiful. There was something about her that made me
sweat, or a least I thought so before noticing the thermostat was broken. Her
legs were long, perfect, and silky, probably because of her No-Nonsense brand
silk stockings. She had a walk that could turn any man’s head, mainly due to the
way her dress floated upward with every passing gust of wind. My fan was
She sat down on my desk. I tried not to look, but from this angle I
couldn’t resist. Her backside was well-rounded, plump and nicely basted like a
Thanksgiving Day turkey. I managed to move my eyes upward, studying the
hills and valleys of paradise.
She had a smile that could blind the Cheshire cat. Her hair was as
golden as a blurred sunrise on a foggy day. I looked into her eyes; big and
beautiful and as blue as the ink in my Bic Erasable. This dame was smoking!
Parliament, I think. I was drooling; she slapped me.
“Snap out of it,” she said and went on to explain her dilemma. I’d tell
you her story if only I could remember what it was. After reviewing her case, I
realized this wasn’t a job for me; she needed a divorce attorney.
Her lips were luscious, like two ripe lemons. I tried to kiss them; she
punched me in the nose. Her bosom was firm like two water balloons ready to
burst with liquid pleasure! I tried to touch them; she broke my fingers.
I tried to embrace her as she started to leave; she broke four of my ribs.
I gasped for air as she kicked me hard like a two-ton truck in the place where
new life starts. I hit a high falsetto note; I am, or was, a bass. She swept me off
my feet, and she slammed me to the floor like a five-dollar whore in a cheap
motel. She was a pro wrestler.
Fortunately the paramedics were able to sedate her long enough to get
me out of there. Well, if you’ll excuse me; I’ve got to run like a cheap thief with
a car stereo before she finds me again!

C Michael 159
Quarter-Life Crisis

Quarter-Life Crisis

Twenty-five is an appropriate age to stop wearing a backwards

baseball cap. It's also a good age to ditch the chain wallet.
Specifically, especially when you are sitting in a bar, on a stool,
propped up by one leg to leverage your sit-down height which is
severely compromised amid people who approach the bar beside you
on two legs.

The problem usually occurs when your ego can no longer stand being
dwarfed, (even with your expensive import bottle strategically
displayed label-out) and you attempt to dismount the stool not
realizing that the chain has concocted it's own strategy to loop itself
around your shoe. The result is an awkward situation where nobody
in the immediate area wins. The standerbys don't want to patronize
you by approaching too late to be of assistance after your split-second
head dive to the floor startles everyone. Conversely, they certainly
don't want to appear insensitive, which could come across as sarcastic
to those who watched him watch you fall.

It boils down to you getting what you deserve, he's sure to rationalize.
He didn't ask to be in this situation, he just came in for a beer and a
smoke. After all, what twenty-five-year-old still wears a chain wallet?
Maybe he's retarded, he may rationalize clued to the hat askew. This
peer-pressured/self-induced internal impasse is enough to drive a
person to not drink and walk straight out of the bar to scan the
parking lot for a short bus. Since most pubs strictly adhere to a "one-
head-dive-you're-out" policy, smart money is on you being out, with
your pricey half-finished beer tossed into the trash, label-up.

After gaining consciousness outside, (nudged just beyond the liable

property line) the thought occurs to wish myself a happy birthday.
The ironic part is that birthday concussions have become an annual
tradition. This dates back to the days in high school when Stanley
Barlow blindsided me with a Bombardment shot and when Tim

160 Boomer Wadaska

Quarter-Life Crisis
Brennan pegged me with a serve during doubles tennis by a ball that
is sure to still be circling the stratosphere. And, who can forget the
time when a four-day amnesia followed an attempt to tackle Troy
Vincent on kickoff coverage in a pickup game behind Buchanan or the
lights-out moment preceded by a stage dive at the Trocadero during a
Mighty Mighty Bosstones/Helmet show when the crowd mistook me
for Moses parting the sea instead of my "form a comfy people pillow"
plan? The most unmemorable memory would have to be me getting
my ass beat in front of my mom on my front yard by Chris
Roccograndi, though all equal nominees for the unprestiged, Pretty
Crappy Birthday award (which, by the way, is a women's bowling
trophy with a broken-off arm).

But that's only six instances-- hardly a tragic streak of misfortune one
might be apt to protest. I, however, just figured it would be highly
inappropriate to continue such a list for a reader who just came in for
a quick page turner. After all, one doesn't necessarily prepare one's
head to be accosted by such glum-downery and being bogged down
with the drudge-taking task of keeping track of countdown place
numbers. Unless, of course, you're a masochist, whereupon you
should quit reading all-together and spend your free time away from
the scrapyard listening to Gimp's Envy on your Walkman while
burning the heads off your little sister's Strawberry Shortcake dolls.
Might I suggest track 13, "Burny-Plasticy" for the occasion?

Boomer Wadaska 161

School for Geniuses
School for Geniuses

Mrs. Haversham was excited to have a new student in her class,

especially one that scored much higher off the charts than the rest of her
students. She had to admit to herself that she felt a little intimidated by this one
when she saw the exam score tested her at one hundred percent, but she
shrugged it off; after all, Hazel Dixon was only eight years old. The only real
reservation Mrs. Haversham held about the situation was that she reluctantly
had to seat Hazel between William Davis and Angela Dover. Her own
obsessive-compulsiveness wouldn't allow for a change in seating order so soon
before the holiday break, and those two she believed to be the worst she had
ever had in her classroom, even though she could never prove that they were
responsible for the elaborate pranks and hoaxes maliciously imposed upon their
classmates and without mercy. What kind of parents could raise such reprobate
children, she wondered as she distributed the day's worksheets.
Hazel sat very prim and very proper in between the two miscreants.
Her hands were folded neatly atop her desk and her legs were crossed at the
ankles as a young lady's should. Her posture was perfect and her demeanor
extremely complaisant
“Hey, stupid,” William whispered to Hazel. “I bet you don't even
know what forty-two cubed equals!”
“Good one!” Angela egged him on.
Hazel, without permitting herself to dissolve her perfect poise,
responded to their pettiness with a necessary condescending umbrage.
“Seventy-four thousand eighty-eight. Is that the best you imbecilic simians can
“Well, how about...” retorted Angela, searching her over-developed
mind for the toughest challenge she could invent.
“Allow me the simple gratitude of enlightening you two on the
verisimilitude of our existence,” Hazel interrupted. “It would seem to anyone
with half an I.Q. point that we, with our prodigious capacity to cogitate and
comprehend, were enrolled in this school to alter the continuance of ignorance
and stupidity in society, and it is exactly this stereotypical behavior we endeavor
to eliminate. So, essentially, you are an albatross around one's neck and will
eventually be nothing more than additions to the many losers on Jeopardy.”
The two bullies just stared at each other dumbfounded. Hazel broke
her composure with a sudden sinister laugh that left the entire classroom silent
and lazy-jawed. Then as if nothing happened, she returned to her absolute
mannerism, but this time adorned with a satisfied smirk.

162 C Michael
School for Geniuses
“Hazel? Is everything copasetic?” inquired Mrs. Haversham, very
concerned, more for her own sake then for that of the two deviants upon which
Hazel just delivered a verbal lashing.
“'Copasetic' is slang of a disputable obscure origin,” she responded,
“but I am A-O. K.!”
Mrs. Haversham was aghast. She realized that if she had not before,
she now had her hands full and the holiday break could not come soon enough.

C Michael 163
Ode to the Paranoid Blowfish

Ode to the Paranoid Blowfish

Oh, how small you are!


My, how big you are!

164 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy


Sid sat still on his sofa. Terribly terrified he tapped his toe in tentative
trepidation. Utterly undone, he was unsure of the underside of the upholstery.
Vicious villains varied in the vivid vastness of his visions. What wicked
weirdness waited within while he worried, he wondered. An x-ray could explain
his expectations exactly; yet you usually don't use such unusual instruments for
that usage.
Sid resumed his za-zen pose in a zealous exertion to eschew seizure
from the presumptive hazard. Assuming an awful atrocity would assail him,
anxiety apprehended him. Boldly building brazen beliefs, the boy became
belligerent towards the beast below. Could he conjure copious courage to
combat the iniquitous creature? Delving deep down in his doughtiness and
daring a dismount, Sid dove from the divan and landed beside the door.
Expecting to expeditiously exit his extant environment and evade this
evil, ebullience encompassed his essence. Fortune frowned frivolously upon his
fruitless feat, for the foyer frustration was unfeasibly fastened. Great guttural
groans generated from his gastronomic gut. He hastily hurried hazardously past
his whilom haven, hoping to happen on a helpful hammer perhaps.
Inches in vicinity from his imminent imperilment, he instinctively
implemented an impossible impetus. Judiciously jumping was a justifiable jaunt
in his judgment. Keeping clear of the couch became his capital concern.
Lithely landing left of the lounge, he lunged toward the luthern. A moment of
mirth was muddled by a mulish transom. Noting that the nefarious nuisance
could be nigh, the nimble nipper maneuvered to a nearby niche. Opening the
oriel was an otiose option and now he was obsequious to his oppressor.
Perhaps he could parlay a pardon from this persistent peril.
Querulously loquacious, quoth he a quixotic query requesting clemency.
Rending him responsive, his relative roused him from his ridiculous
revelry. Instead of snapping to secular substance, Sid sorely selected to subsist
in his phantasmal slumber.

C Michael 165
Big, Big Fatty Boom-Boom

Big, Big Fatty Boom-Boom

Sitting in a room
something went boom!
What could it have been?
Did little Bobby sin?
What should I do?
and, "Where the dickens, is my shoe?"
Outside, I run.
there, fat people are having fun.
Jumping really high,
blotting out the sky.
They bounce really hard
'cause they're big tubs o' lard
That noise that they made,
felt and heard like a hand grenade.
And I almost got killed,
so I sat down and chilled.
And that's what you do,
(but I still couldn't find my shoe!)
When you're sitting in a room,
and a fatty goes boom!

166 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy


A Very Bad Day To Be Rich

A Very Bad Day To Be Rich

Sixty seconds before being struck directly by a bolt of lightning, Rich

made a determined promise to himself that it was time to organize his
life in some meaningful, workable order as well as to finally purchase
that high-end Vortex vacuum that the loud, bearded man raved about
in the late-night infomercials.

The clincher in this snap-decision was the free inclusion of a lifetime

supply of shammy cloths, which were actually a singular, alleged
"lasts-forever technology" towel used by NASA. To Rich, that was
quite a deal and indeed quite a claim although, "used by NASA" in
lieu of "developed by NASA" seemed to imply to him that some more
government R&D funds are in order and should be appropriated
immediately because if true, this administration was obviously
dropping the ball in the international race for super-absorbency.

The contradiction of this logic did not impair the development of his
simultaneous epiphany concerning his personal affairs and the idea
that he should make a concerted effort to be a little more aware of
them and quite possibly, should time permit, tend to them in a
purposeful and dignified manner that would ultimately result in a
celebrated assimilation with his surroundings.

But obviously, time would not permit, as evidenced by the timely

demise reserved for such procrastination.

168 Boomer Wadaska

for you, again

for you, again

“poetry is the art of getting language right”

it’s that time of year

when I become less of who I am
(and more of who I was)
& the air always sings winter.
memory of cigarettes long since smoked
and the steam from coffee (graceful fog)
is real like wood or books or feet.

you are the last line

in all my poems
if only language equaled life.

Michael C. Flor 169

When I Met O
When I Met O

Once upon a time, there was a big O. It began a fairy tale. It led the letters
n, c, and e, larger than the rest. This O was monstrous. It ate the town of
Quartz and then rampaged on to the Land of Troth. It found a lovely three
bedroom, two bath home on the historical register and settled down. Then I
met O. I was very nice. I moved in with O. I and O had children. Their
names were A, E, U and Sometimes Y. Sometimes Y was sort of a runt. The
other kids made fun of him because he wasn't like them. He wasn't always a
“Quit picking on your brother!” scolded O, “or your father will let
you have it!”
The children were relentless. They were careful that Mother and Father
didn't see them teasing Sometimes Y. They called him names like “Whobehee.”
One day, Sometimes Y got so upset, it ran away from home. It left
Troth in search of something more. It wanted to know where it fit in.
Most of the other letters shunned it, but one day it met a gentle letter
named G that told it to see the Almighty Exalted X on top of Mount Alphabet.
Sometimes Y heeded the advice. It climbed and climbed the mountainside until
it reached the Plateau of Numbers, a dreadful place. Sometimes Y was
unexpectedly attacked by a ravenous 7 while a 6 fearfully hid amongst the
masticated remains of a 9. Sometimes Y picked up a 0 that was lying nearby
and multiplied the 7 into nothingness.
“It's okay,” Sometimes Y told the 6. “It's gone. Could you please tell
me how to get to the Almighty Exalted X?” The 6 just pointed to the top of
the mountain.
Sometimes Y continued his arduous climb to the pinnacle. The
Almighty Exalted X stood before him in all his glory.
“Help me,” Sometimes Y pleaded. “I can't quite cut it as a vowel.
What should I do?”
The Almighty Exalted X let out an almighty chuckle. “Why,
Sometimes Y, you have abilities that other vowels do not. Not only are you a
vowel, you are also a consonant. For example, in the word “sky” you function
as a vowel, but in the word “you” you are quite clearly a consonant. Without
you as a consonant there would be no yaks or Yodels or yo-yos. So you see,
you are really quite special to us all!”
“Oh, thank you, Almighty Exalted X! I am forever in you debt!”
Sometimes Y shouted with glee. It decided to go back home, back to the Land
of Troth and confront its family once more.
170 C Michael
When I Met O
When Sometimes Y got home, its family was elated to see it, even the
other children. They noticed something different about Sometimes Y. It
seemed more important.
“Look at you! My how you have changed!” I descried.
“Yes, Father, I have. I found out that not only am I a vowel, but I am
also a consonant!” Sometimes Y triumphed. O gasped upon hearing this.
“But how could that be possible?” I inquired. “No, you are a pure
vowel. Knock off this nonsense this instant!” I turned to O. “It's not possible,
is it, dear?” I asked as calmly as possible. O did not respond. It couldn't even
look I in the face.
I screamed in disbelief. “Go to your rooms, kids,” I growled. When
they were gone, I turned to its wife and yelled, “Who was it!?”
“Now, look, I...” O stammered.
“Who was it?” I repeated.
O burst into tears and cried, “It was P! It was P!”
Infuriated, I stormed to the gun cabinet and got a shotgun. I went to
P's house, kicked the door in and shot it right in the stomach.
Looking down at the now dead P, I laughed. “No good sneaky bastard!
Now you look like a goddamn B!”
I returned home. Too frightened, O didn't say a word. I just sat on the
couch with the shotgun and waited for the police.

C Michael 171
So Why Bother?

So Why Bother?
A 9th Grade Civics Essay

Billyons and billyons of long time agos the earth was formed,
postulated Charles Darwin, the reputed father of evolution. Darwin
theorized that every basic flake of life had evolved from a single cell,
relating all life itself.
The theory goes on theorizing that the modern homo-sapien,
developed from said single cell, as did all common senseless organic
photosynthesizing organisms, as did common avians, rodents,
amphibians, aquatic beings, dumb quadrupts and so on the lifeline goes.
One might ponder then, why man doesn't fit as well within this earthy
It seems that man has become so modernized with technology
and so involved with his own affairs that he has totally ignored his
surrounding world. Man may have traded organic instinct for technology
in that he is no longer animalistically barbaric; he is now mechanically
barbaric. Man does not fit into the ecology, his impact more determined
than dung and footprints yet, much less purposeful.
If the only apparent reason for modern human living is to lie on
California beaches with their ecru bodies and these single-cell descendant
beings depend solely within the existence of its own species, then where
did the evolutionary gap occur? Why don't humans casually associate
with their ancestral co-inhabitants? When, where and why did we lose
our bird brain and lizard sense?
There happens to live a lonely, moronic tribe on the southeastern
shore of an uncharted, desolate tropical island that flirt with highly
intellectual ideas. The tribe, as described by the only Californian to surf
to this exotic locale, call themselves Skitswabs. Coincidentally, the surfer
had innate knowledge of the Skitswabian tongue buried deep within his
left brain. They shared with him their philosophy of life in poetic terms:

The earth is round (stop)

the sky is blue (stop)
the grass is green (stop)
the universe is a pool table (end)

172 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy & Boomer Wadaska

So Why Bother?
The Californian translated this hypothesis by describing a
universe of ten planets originally aligned in a triangular orbit until
scattered by a single comet in big-bang-like fashion. The comet
continued to threaten to knock each planet into one of six black holes of
the universe. With the earth having survived numerous bankshots, the
Skitswabs prayed holy reverence to the "Almighty Cuban" for being such
an amateur billiard player. Unfortunately, the last believer of this theory
defected, having proved it to be totally swagmo and so it died despite the
popularity of its physical incarnation into game form.
The Skitswabian school of thought was once hotly debated
publicly by a channel 32 anchorman who advocated its social relevance
as allegorical, to which a scientist countered by upholding its factual
evidence as theoretical, to which a zealot dismissed as all-together
"accidental thought" and opted to enforce warm and snuggly ideas of
purposeful, creationing omnipotence by rightly tossing the two of them
into the nearest, albeit not the most convenient pond, whereupon they
suffered severe nibbling by many school of carp.
This action stifled further public debate and pushed postulating
into the underground. After all, investigative reporters and scientists
have enough problems as it is to have to also worry about climbing out of
cold ponds where there may be observant women lurking around.
Furthermore, however unfactual a scientist may accuse,
creationist ideas cannot be argued, just as a child cannot pull rationale
from an adult that utilizes the "because I said so" rock-solid defense.
However, it's not good enough to just eliminate the how-mouths because
then those pesky why-heads start crawling out of the woodwork.
So why bother? The very debate itself, has become as
untouchable as a really hot chick. And speaking of hot chicks, isn't it too
nice of a day for a walk on the beach to be pondering the answer to the
question of life, the universe and everything? Here you are whacking
your head against the alpha and omega when the re-emergence of bell-
bottoms may lurk in the not-too-distant future. Do you think Menudo
gives a flying ribosome about the origin of the species? Turn on the Mtv
to find out now!

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy & Boomer Wadaska 173

Junior/Senior Poetry
Junior/Senior Poetry

“Strung Out”

you can tell i lost a lot of weight

by looking at my legs

they look like old man legs


e m a c i a t e d .

“Somewhat Lost”

I don’t know where

to go
where to stand
I’m dead on my feet
lethargy with a purpose
I can’t quite grasp

“A Rebus Plea for Help”

174 C Michael
Junior/Senior Poetry


I think I like U,
Yes, you!
Why? Oh, you!


Healed wounds
Hurt worse


Weird little things

To happen,
Have happened to happen,
Weird little things,
All the time.

C Michael 175
Junior/Senior Poetry


I see your face, but it is not yours;

It’s someone that reminds me of you,
And I say to myself, I must be losing my mind,
Because you’re everywhere I go.

“The End of My Rope”

I feel nothing
as I stand here naked
not empty
not happy
not sad
just nothing
then frustration sets in
and ties me up in knots
I heave a Pyrrhic sigh
that offers
a moment’s relief
I hang my head
and feel nothing

176 C Michael
Junior/Senior Poetry

“Bad, Wicked World”

There is so much “Bad Luck”

in the world I’m in a mind of ironic misfortune.
that I am a soul of perverse divination.
Kindness Watch the mutant spirit as it casts its
is becoming the trait of shadow over me…

“Filing System”
“Your Opinion”
My mind is a most complicated
You see my poem version of the Dewey Decimal System.
As it is The card catalog
And accept has been sufficiently
That it means suhflefd.
Whatever you think it means…

“I Don’t Know What to Write”

Visions run through my mind.

I wish you could see them;
fluid, even through time,
so they’re gone before I can do anything about it.
What’s worse?
I don’t know what they mean…

C Michael 177
Junior/Senior Poetry
“My Sacrifice”

When I saw your smile today

That’s what it’s all for…
My greatness…
I’ve been searching for it
For a long time…
It has nothing to do with
It is a direct result
Of your smile,
And that is why I risk everything
For you…


What’s to become of us
in this suddenly tumultuous existence?
The imminence of war looms
ominously ahead and I…
with such astonishment,
such horrific awe,
as my usefulness in the world
is rend asunder…

178 C Michael
Junior/Senior Poetry
“Today Is Sunday, August 5, 10:25pm”
I feel like I am dying
I am already
All my passion has dissipated into
an endless well
of pitiful
I’m growing more and more
a victim
of my own self-pity
as this depression sends
me spiraling down
into the darkness
of my own creation…
I accomplish nothing
and it seems the harder I fight…
the more hopeless I become…
Why can’t I find a way out of
this quagmire of
something here

C Michael 179
Junior/Senior Poetry

“The Old Scottish Lane”

Silence, louder than a tolling bell,

Engulfs my weary brain
As ominous monotonous clocks tick-tock
And mock my dreary bane.
The perseverance of my intrepid heart
Overwrought with lurid Cain
Is wounded by the epitaph
Of love’s own malicious deign;
And as I wander in my sullen silence,
Upon this old Scottish lane,
I hope, I pray, I forlornly wonder
If I will see you again…

“I Fall for It Every Time”

I just died again;

toiled through ruthless months
for nothing,
and as I finally recover,
I'm sunk
through deceit,
through viciousness,
wicked vendettas...
The smoke screen is too thick
and when I take my breath of fresh air,
I choke instead.
I died again,
for no reason...

180 C Michael
Beat Street

Beat Street

Running down a road,

I trod on a toad.
It bled on the street,
so I collected the fresh meat.
Made frog burgers with fries on the side,
and hoping to buy myself a ride,
a car passed by
it was driven by some guy.
I stuck out my finger,
as the feeling still lingered,
but that engine didn't stop.
Instead, at me, he threw a rock.
I thought, "what a fink!"
Then, I stopped to think.
He looked back to see my stuck-out middle digit,
and I felt like a real idgit.
I sat and I ate my burger
and wondered who would concur
that my life on this street
surely wasn't neat
once I stepped on a toad
at the edge of a road.

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 181

Accidental Bully
Accidental Bully

There is no way to begin to tell you how awfully I failed to feel about
the misdeeds I perpetrated upon a stupendous portion of my school's
population. This momentous apathy towards my fellow students defies all
rational explanation, so I'll do what I can to present them as pragmatic facts
(which naturally comes across as apathy), and allow you to ponder the limitless
possibilities behind my seemingly illogical motives. You can get together later
with your cronies and discuss the multitude of ramifications my behavior forces
onto the world around me and argue the whys and wherefores until your heads
spin off your necks and bounce around like battling tops.
On the very first day of school, I was forced to sit next to Michelle.
Now you have to understand that Michelle was a girl, and at the time I still
believed that all girls had cooties, which of course we now know is true...and
she was a snotty girl at that, and I don't mean that she was pompous. I mean
that her nose ran...a lot. She kept an endless supply of tissues in her desk and
stored the used ones in a pile on top.
Now, upon discovering the unfortunate lot I had drawn through no
control of my own, I exhaled a grievous groan and announced to no one in
particular, “Anybody but Mucous Michelle!” I didn't stop to think how this
might affect her self-esteem. Come to think of it, I didn't even stop to consider
the possibility that she may actually be human rather than some abhorrent
mucous monster, but I blurted my disdain nonetheless. I never considered the
fact that her runny nose might have been a direct result of a harrowing dust
allergy from which the poor girl suffered every day, and that her nose must be
in constant pain from all of the incessant rubbing, itching and blowing.
So there she was, suffering, and to kick her while she was down, to
pour the proverbial salt in the wound, I obnoxiously and unabashedly expressed
the dismay I would incur in having to sit next to this disgusting, slimy creature.
And she, being used to it, said not word one. She just crawled even further into
her shell. Going to school must have been a nightmare for her, but at the time,
it didn't even occur to me that I should care about something as insignificant as
feelings that weren't mine.
Let me take a moment to divulge a little about myself so that you may
further comprehend my remorse. I was a lot more eloquent than most fifth
graders. I have been told that when it comes to the language arts, I was
downright precocious; a child prodigy of English as it were. I was reading and
writing by the age of three. One would think that with this extraordinary ability,
I should have been faster edumacated than most others and thusly more
mature, or at least mature enough to refrain from spouting stupidity such as
would decimate a young lady's self-image, but lo and behold, I found myself just

182 C Michael
Accidental Bully
as much an idiot as the next fifth grade boy; just as insensitive, just as self-
serving, just as pseudo-evil, archetypal male pathos chauvinistic. I think it's
innate. We can't help it. We're born with it. And even the greatest teachers fail
to prevent us from causing the damage we inflict because our nature compels
us, I guess. Oh, but that's right. I forgot I was leaving it up to you to figure out
why. I'm merely a narrator. You're the conscientious objector, and I digress.
Now where was I? Oh yes, my despicable treatment of Michelle. So of
course I sat next to her and after horrifically blurting my deplorable rhetoric, the
only thing that was changed by it was that Michelle would feel worse about
herself and I would look like a jack-ass to the entire class and even more
importantly in the eyes of karmic value, all the while being completely oblivious
So it comes to pass that despite my misgivings and reprehensible
behavior, Michelle turned out to be really nice to me. She wasn't too bad to sit
next to after all. She was smart, funny, great at math (at which I was not very
proficient) and actually able and willing to help me. Occasionally though,
during silent reading times mostly, she could be a little hard to take if I let my
mind get the best of me. That nose would just run like a faucet and I could
visualize the mucous dribbling out if I dwelt on it too long. She would then
grab a tissue and blow. I could literally hear the viscosity of her nasal ablutions
and the honking sound she made didn't help much either.
Well, as time would have it, I'm sure that Michelle would have moved
past her insecurities, found an appropriate nasal spray and eventually would
have grown up to marry and bear children of her own, all of which she would
raise to be respectful and polite to those who were different than they. But at
present, the devastation I caused within her must have seemed irreparable. It's
more than amazing, the consequences of our actions.

C Michael 183
I Hate Rain

I Hate Rain

hee! hee!
(sigh) oh, well

doo dee doo

184 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 185
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds

For Those Who Have Defied the Odds

I'm sitting here in my boxer shorts eating a chicken pot pie and
watching the "Hurricane Babies" report on CNN when I notice that
my fingernail is almost completely regenerated. Huzzah!
I was worried, when two months ago after feeding my left index into
the finger-smashing bar of a commercial Toro mower, that I would be
permanently deformed. I thought about a former classmate I sat next
to in kindergarten who told everyone that his fingernail malformity
occurred feeding peanuts to an elephant at the zoo. What would my
story be? I had to think of something slightly more exotic than "fixing
a mower." Maybe I was rescuing a hurricane baby?
My finger swolled and purpled. Two days later, after hours of icing
the pain and hearing from all of my curiously concerned associates
that I would most definitely lose the nail, I decided one morning to
walk over to the Centre County hospital and get it checked out by a
trained professional. I walked into the lobby and the building was
dead quiet. Somehow, I had expected a chaos of doctors running
around and patients screaming and squirting blood everywhere, since
this is what I had been accustomed to knowing of such places via
television and since I hadn't been through the ER since my mother
was, (in her words) on a fateful November morning in 1972, dragged
kicking, screaming and cursing from the pain of a child trying to
squeeze out of her uterus, ass first.
A receptionist sitting at a large circular desk and talking on the phone
seemed unaware of my presence. Maybe the proper ER etiquette is to
enter crawling and convulsing, drooling and/or peeing oneself on the
floor in order to precipitate a rush of orderlies who would instantly
scoop one up onto a gurney to get the process going, stat! Instead, I
entered calmly (although, if the receptionist had bothered to notice, I
was wincing) as if I was delivering a pizza. She hung up the phone
on Centre County Single Receptionists Chatline (or whoever she was
really talking to) and asked if she could help me. Was this a trick
question? Was I supposed to unwrap the Taco Bell napkins covering
the ice cube-filled Ziploc around my finger and show the goods for
her to make an assessment to whether my status was to be considered
dire enough for admissibility? If not, then would she give me
MapQuest directions to the "Sort-of-Hurt, But Not Dying" station that

186 Boomer Wadaska

For Those Who Have Defied the Odds
would inevitably lie somewhere beyond acres of scorched asphalt
parking lot next to a National Guard Armory where my manhood
would be challenged by recruiters who would contend that amputees
from "the 'Nam" didn't whine as much as I do? Having the foresight
to know that a "hurricane baby" survival story would be pre-
seasonally two months unbelievable, I blurted out, under pressure,
mind you , "I hurt my finger, kinda." The receptionist, with a resigned
sigh (obviously, this was not the melodrama with which she had been hoping
for to garnish her daily blog) directed me around the corner to a wall
lined with a row of very austere and uniform chairs. As I approached
wondering, "I wonder if those chairs could possibly be as
uncomfortable as they look to me approaching them, wondering?" a
nurse from a cubicle marked "INTAKE NURSE" motioned to me a
very asexual "come hither" gesture.
The intake station was very reminiscent of the John Fitch elementary
school nurse's office of which my most vivid memory was standing
next to some kid and facing a wall as our tiny kindergarten testicles
were cupped by the frigid, ungloved fingers of Nurse Chubberly who
requested a cough. The similarities had nothing to do with my most
vivid memory, but of semi-hazy flashbacks of cartooned posters
which proverbed, "You can't fly if you're high," and, "Why do you
think they call it WASTED?" Also, complimenting the décor was a
sign, scotch-taped to the front of the desk which charted degrees of
pain from smiley to frownie face. When asked to rate my pain I
candidly responded, "frownie face with surprised eyebrows."
Nurse Intake input my social security number into her computer and
"viola!" there was all of the information about me that former
creditors would kill for. I asked her how the hospital could possibly
have any information on me since I had never been there before. She
insisted that I had been previously admitted numerous times but that
I was suffering from amnesia and could not possibly debate her
medical aptitude of this diagnosis in my woozy of a condition. After
verifying that all of my information corresponded correctly down to
shoe size, I was escorted to a fluorescently-lit room that contained a
half dozen beds which could be curtained off by the slightest whim.
I sat on a bed papered with which could be best described as a long
sheet of tissue you would typically see protecting a carbon copy
document. Nurse Intake instructed me to lie down on the parchment.
I could only assume this was a standard medical procedure to acquire

Boomer Wadaska 187

For Those Who Have Defied the Odds
a facsimile of my backside for further analysis. As I enforced my
gravitational pressure for the most accurate representation, (I didn't
be wigglin' or nuttin!) I could only ponder if the "Shroud of Turin"
was essentially nothing more than a mere "Jesus ditto" from the
earliest implementation of this examination process. I am quite
positive that the experts would have properly sniffed the sheet for its
essential aromatic ditto constitution to authenticate this, but would
have been consequently decapitated by the Catholic church to keep
this finding under wraps for merchandising purposes.
After a few minutes of rendering and postulating, a woman suited
akin to an X-Filish FBI agent handed me forms to fill out and sign and
then stressed that it was imperative that I contact my employer about
this situation. She then disappeared behind a waft of hospital curtain
and eerie theme music. The ziploc bag was now full of water that was
leaking onto the paper which had me worried that I might have
tainted the test results and now may be misdiagnosed with lupus.
A kindish middle-aged doctor entered and had a look at my finger.
With a quick, "Hmm..." he confidently determined, "Yep, that's your
typical paronychia you got there. I'm going to send you down to x-
ray though, just to jack up the price a little more."
Conveniently, the nuclear medicine department was just around the
corner. After two men clad in the most stylish of this season's
radioactive wear took pictures of my finger with a souped-up
Steadicam, (all the while cowering behind a concrete bunker) I
returned to my soggy hospital bed.
The doctor returned and pointed to my ziploc bag. "I see that you've
been icing your finger," he deduced, "well, you went the wrong way
there...you should have been applying heat to it." He then removed x-
ray photographs from a large envelope that he posted on a wall-
mounted lightboard far enough away that I was squinting and
guessing that the first letter was indeed a capital "E." He began his
interpretation with, "the good news is that it's not broken..." I could
only now guess that the bad news would be either that my finger
would have to amputated or that he never did save any money on his
car insurance by switching to Geico and that I would have to submit
to more extemporaneous exams in order to cover the extra dough he
would need to fully insure his new Jaguar. "Will I lose it?" I asked
nervously. "Most definitely," he replied. At this moment, I was
slightly dismayed but somewhat narcissistic in the fact that I could
188 Boomer Wadaska
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds
then face a National Guard recruiter and proclaim, "who's being a
little bitch now, mothafucka!" As this (and other fantastic scenarios)
went through my head, the doctor added, "you were referring to your
fingernail, correct?"
I was immediately aghast by this. Being an incessant nail biter, I have
cultivated quite an intimate finger nail relationship, with the left
index being among my favorites. "Is there any way that this won't be
the case?" I pleaded. "I'll do my best," he assured me and then
whipped out a device similar to a soldering iron. "Now this may
sting a little..." He pressed the tip of the needle into my fingernail,
burned a hole through it and blood squirted out in b-movie-esque
fashion. After gaining consciousness, I remarked that it smelled like
burnt hair. "Of course it does," he remarked as if he was thinking,
"this kid is so stupid, it doesn't surprise me in the least that he jams
his fingers into a lawn mower."
So, my epigrammatic admonition is thus: as much as I appreciate all
of the strong condolences and concern from family and friends,
(especially by those who cared enough to send the very best) I assure
you that I am completely back to my fully intact person and now we
should direct our full attention to those who really need our support -
the hurricane babies!

Boomer Wadaska 189

The Legend of Wolf-Rider
Thirty-three years after the apocalypse was born a man and poet who
would take on a quest to meet his destiny. This man was to become the
Grand Ruler of Earth and save the world from anarchy; this man who
would deny his destiny to be destroyed because of his power and would
become a god. In a mutated, savage world he must survive and
overcome the impossible. Also, keep in mind that we never mentioned
that he was a great poet. And so, the epic saga begins…


By C Michael, Boomer Wadaska, and Sean Young
11th Grade

The hot sun blazed clean across the sky as he remained silent, left
hand on his ancient, but trustworthy .44 Auto Mag, Betsy. As the near-
ending sunny day eased, Wolf-Rider gazed aimlessly at the blood-filled,
off-center horizon.
In the distance (mostly toward the left-hand corner of his right
eye), he caught a profound vision of dramatic proportions. It was not a
vision that one might understand fully, but Wolf-Rider grasped every last
detail of it—the worldly symbol of ill-fortune, the very first moth out of
hibernation. Cantankerously he stared, contemplating his very thoughts,
awed by the ostentatious sight which had made him very quiescent. For
this, he was blank.
Known as a man who makes a dramatic first impression upon all
he lay eyes, he gallantly moshed toward the ever-so-confused Death-Hed
Moth. Also known as an artist, a poet, albeit not the very best poet, he
“O strange moth who flies in the night,
Moth that flutters straight toward the light,
But when the sun riseth, so big and bright,
The moth e’er so diligently ends his flight.
Why, moth, not flit o’er to the sun;
Instead of asunder’n my luck of the deed to be done?”
But, dumbfoundedly, the Death-Hed Moth did not fly to the descending
sun, but instead toward Wolf-Rider’s lantern, and he and the moth felt a
sudden, callous, frigid chill.

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The chill elaborated itself throughout the personal places that
clung life upon Wolf-Rider’s body. He took a second glance at the
dancing, teasing moth and decided he would rid himself the burden of ill-
fortune. He pulled out Betsy, and with amazing precision, he devastated
the moth into utter nothingness, blew the smoke from the barrel, and
spun it back into his holster with desperado-like skill.
Wolf-Rider heard something nearby shortly after this incident.
What now, he wondered to himself. The answer, flying in the wind
amongst the pollen and carbon monoxide, smacked Wolf-Rider in his
cheek, leaving a sticky residue. With his first fleeting glimpse, he
envisioned a small child with a blow gun and a box of chewed JuJuBes.
“Who could have done that?” he thought, but the moment this
thought ended, he heard a loud, screeching noise emitting from the
south-southwest, but more towards the south. He turned to see the
infamous Johnny Wilde, the world-class sprinter, born with a mutant
ability of heightened speed, halting mid-step, looking down toward the
shiny gun of Wolf-Rider. Mr. Rider, without hesitation, spun Betsy out
of her holster, blasting the Nike Swoosh from his cool-dude sneakers,
killing him instantly. He cooled his gun, and proceeded to recite a poem:
“This man I killed,
Was a runner, so skilled;
Why , you might ask,
May I have done such a task?
My answer, you see,
Goes back to when I were a wee-tyke,
And the blood from he,
Is of one of whom I did not like,
For when we were children,
He had stoled me bike!”
Wolf-Rider felt he should explain himself, even though there was no one
around to witness his dastardly deed. And now that Johnny Wilde was
dead, Wolf-Rider officially had no enemies to speak of within the current
perimeter of his camp. The next morning he packed up and, proceeding
a mile forward, he came upon an infinitesimal pond, looked down and
saw…his reflection.
Never before had he seen such a beautiful person. He stood bent
over admiring himself, prone to the evils of the world to which he had his
back turned. He reached out and touched the incredibly handsome

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The Legend of Wolf-Rider
visage, and upon doing so, he spied something of gihugic proportions
swimming in a large, triangular pattern.
He thought that it might be a leviathan, but they were only
myths. It appeared to be grayish-blue in color, approximately eight feet
long and pretty wide. Wolf-Rider called to the large obstruction in the
water, but there was no answer.
He continued to admire his beauty, ignoring the unknown, until a
ripple was sent through his image, distorting his face. Wolf-Rider was
not known for his extremely pleasant personality, so he dealt death to all
the problems that faced him (or rippled his face for that matter.) He
examined the geometric creature for a short moment and then recognized
it as a seven-eyed, twenty-three-finned, isosceles pondfish. He recited
this poem in correspondence:
“O odd fish of your geometric ways,
I have begun to number your evil, face-wrecking days,
To Hell you may go this way,
With good ol’ Betsy, it is ye I shall slay!”
With the latter part of the recited poem, Wolf-Rider slew the isosceles
pondfish with trusty, old Betsy.
Feeling somewhat anxious to pummel death to all, he quickly
descried that he was the only living, killable soul within a seeing-distance
radius. Never a man to ponder suicide, he decided to calm his nerves at
Vito’s Bar and Bookstore about a foot away. There he had entered and,
taking the latest from Fred Po (currently a great author) off the shelf, he
sat and ordered a glass of Blue Nun. He probed the bar with his eyes,
looking, just itching for someone to give him a reason to shoot them.
From the right of where he was sitting entered a man of
enormously voluminous proportions. The man was seven foot six and a
quarter, very, very, very well built, and, just like Wolf-Rider, he was
looking to do some butt-whooping. He was aptly and well deservedly
named Mr. Big.
The beast-like man completed his gaudy entry through the wall,
screamed numerous swell obscenities and pounded the counter with his
abundant fist. “Give me my usual sixty-four ounce shot of J. D.
straight,” he bellowed at the barmaid, “and your latest edition of
Cosmo!” Wolf-Rider could tell he was up against a toughie. Mr. Big
over-qualified his standards for enemies. The were nothing like this in
his old neighborhood.

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The Legend of Wolf-Rider
“Hey!” snapped Wolf-Rider, “Willst thou asketh politely?” He
had been brushing up on his Shakespeare.
Mr. Big turned and snarled, “No pansy-ass poet tells me what to
do!” He clenched up his fists and said in a stern monotone, “Let’s
Wolf-Rider replied with this poem:
“With a gun I’d rather fight,
For my face, damaged it might,
‘Cause this man with much Arnoldness,
Could surely make me a mess;
But a shoot-out so fast,
And my skill, none could match!”
“Don’t be so sure!” admonished Mr. Big as he backed off figuring
he was quicker on the draw than the Wolf-Rider. Then he recoiled his
thoughts and decided it was best to go face-to-face with him. Then he
changed his mind again, and opted for the gun fight.
The searing looks from Wolf-Rider’s eyes began to blind Mr. Big.
Without a word, they both boldly headed for the nearest and most
convenient back alley for a professional shoot-out.
Many fans followed, placing spacious bets on them. The two
men turned to face each other in squalor, and, upon the signal given by
an official referee, each pulled out his gun and blasted at the other; Mr.
Big missing, Wolf-Rider connecting wonderfully. Blood sprayed out of
Mr. Big’s twenty-four inch neck and the proud bullet continued into the
enormous stucco-faced wall behind him. As Mr. Big fell to the ground,
Wolf-Rider walked away, laughing, knowing that he had peachily killed
a big person.
As he neared the end of the alley, Wolf-Rider caught from the
corner of his eye the scene of a malnourished kitten lying amongst the
wretched derelicts of the earth. This was a sight that Wolf-Rider could
not bear to see. It hurt too much. He then proceeded to drop a grenade
and casually stroll to the opposite end of the building.
What Wolf-Rider did not know was that this particular kitten was
an Anti-Ballistic Flachette-Skinned Death Kitten from Hell. The grenade
exploded and Wolf-Rider, still unaware of this evil presence, recited this
“Good-bye poor cat,
Because you are not fat;
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The Legend of Wolf-Rider
You did not eat,
So I dropped a merciful grenade,
Right by your feet.”
With an agile spring the now agitated kitten landed on Wolf-Rider’s
turned back. The kitten viciously attacked him from the posterior end
and Wolf-Rider was shocked, dazed and truly amazed by the ferocity it
possessed. Wolf-Rider threw his arms over his back, not literally, trying
to grab the kitten, but he was unsuccessful. The kitten then scratched and
clawed at the right sleeve of his jacket. Wolf-Rider was trapped.
From a distant gun barrel, a bullet soared through the slight flesh
of the demon feline from Hell. The kitten mewed in slight anguish,
which only made him cling tighter, digging into Wolf-Rider’s neck.
Wolf-Rider winced in pain. Rubbing his eyes, the picture became
suddenly clear to Wolf-Rider.
Mr. Big stood sporting a bloody hole for a head with a turret he
conveniently tore from a Saudi Arabian All-Weather Mini-Tank, which
he had aimed at the right temple of Wolf-Rider’s forehead.
Wolf-Rider dove to avoid the oncoming projectile from Mr. Big’s
new turret head. He landed in a tuck-and-roll, trying to ignore the Death-
Kitten on his back, whipped out Betsy and fired quickly at random.
Unfortunately, when he squeezed the trigger, he heard the
frightful “CLICK” to which every gun-slinger is eventually prone. Betsy
was empty.
“Oh, shit!” he exclaimed aloud as the fiery feline continued to
embed its monstrously razor-sharp claws into his neck and back.
Ignoring everything, Wolf-Rider stood up and began to search for
ammunition. Finding none, he feared for his life.
Wolf-Rider quickly realized that the oversized antagonist was one
notch above him, fully armed. The Wolf-Rider carefully planned how to
rectify the situation as quick as Wolf-Riderly possible. He remembered
his long-lost brother’s dying words: “When in trouble…Wing that
mother!” and Wolf-Rider was to do just that. With lightning speed, he
grabbed the turret from the bulky shoulders of the bulky foe and used his
Mattingly-like style swing in order to decapitate. He realized in mid-
swing, however, that this man’s head was what he was swinging.
Not being able to stop a full-thrust swing, he aired cleanly across
Mr. Big’s massive, Schwarzenegger-like shoulders. Mr. Big, annoyed,
threw a gihugic fist, pounding him into a Jimi Hendrix purple haze.
Wolf-Rider was mesmerized for a moment and as he disembedded

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The Legend of Wolf-Rider
himself from the wall he swiftly became part of, he realized that the
Death-Kitten was blasted into a big red fur-puddle.
Wolf-Rider scrambled towards Mr. Big, and with a colorful,
stalwart swing, clobbered the huge torso sharply in the stomach. Mr. Big
staggered backwards and remained motionless. Wolf-Rider stared in
A few seconds after the might blow to his gastro-vascular cavity,
Mr. Big inhaled and exhaled rapidly. Being unknowledgeable of what
was going to happen, Wolf-Rider stood there, laughing hysterically at the
sight of a wind-pipe jutting out of the oversized man, sucking wind.
After two minutes of incessant breathing, Mr. Big gave Wolf-
Rider the universal gesture for “You are going to die!” Wolf-Rider, being
the invincible terror that he was to all bad people, began to walk away.
Then Mr. Big imploded and exploded consecutively. Inhuman genetic
shrapnel flew everywhere, knocking the Wolf-Rider unconscious.
A specific shred of antagonist landed atop Wolf-Rider’s chest.
He awoke shortly after and scrutinized the piece of flesh that happened to
attach itself to a black, fuzzy velvet bag. He put the flesh into the bag and
took it as a souvenir. He got on his feet and was about to recite another
poem, but fell back into unconsciousness.
He woke up in a strange bed. Strange people were looking down
upon him. “You are the prophet that has been summoned to save our
town!” they exclaimed. Shocked by all the commotion, he fell back to
A crazed peace radical grabbed and shook the long, black jacket
of the Wolf-Rider, pleading insanely for the sake of his hollow and
desolate town. “Please, save us,” he begged. “Be our town hero!”
Wolf-Rider sat up as the hippie motioned for the rest of the
people to leave. “What might be the knotty point requiring clearance?”
he asked. The hippie looked at Wolf-Rider as if he had marmalade
pouring out his nostrils.
“Huh?” groaned the confused hippie. Wolf-Rider just remained
silent and stared. “Oh!” exclaimed the hippie, finally catching on to the
question. “Well, the Big Boss Chumpy is ruling us with an iron-clad fist.
He and his M.P.S…”
“M.P.S.?” interrupted a quizzical Wolf-Rider.
“Mean Police Squad. They killed everyone who opposed them
and will continue to do so until he is stopped. You are the prophet
predicted by our late psychic, Curtis. Now will you help?”

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The Legend of Wolf-Rider
“I shall! I need ammunition,” Wolf-Rider exclaimed as he jumped up
and pulled out Betsy.
“You’re not going to use violence, are you?” concernedly
inquired the hippie.
“Aren’t I?” Wolf-Rider came back sarcastically. He gave a
sardonic smile. “Why else did you choose me?”
“I was hoping you could settle everything peacefully. I mean, the
Big Boss Chumpy hates poetry and you are so good at it, we figured
you’d just run him out verbally.”
“Be you some kind of schmuck?” Wolf-Rider retorted. “I shall
use both poetic and violent justice!” Wolf-Rider began to leave. The
hippie followed right in his footsteps, staring at him as if he had never
seen anyone other than his own race. As they walked, the hippie, who
finally introduced himself as Moonbeam, explained all about the Big
Boss Chumpy and his malicious actions toward the people.
The day passed rather uneventfully as Wolf-Rider ignored
Moonbeam and devised a plan to defeat the Big Boss Chumpy. Nightfall
was nearing and Moonbeam offered him a place to stay. Wolf-Rider
reluctantly accepted.
Entering the humble home of the hapless hippie, Wolf-Rider
surveyed the area. The wallpaper was nice—it had many flowers.
Protest flags and banners graced the mantle above the fireplace. To the
right sat a comfortable-looking chair. Wolf-Rider rested in this chair.
“May I get you something, Dude?” asked the hospitable host,
who upon granting the request of a shot of low-fat two-percent milk,
proceeded to throw another kilo on the burning fire.
Wolf-Rider gulped down the two-percent with ease. He was
mentally preparing himself for his oncoming feat. He was interrupted,
though, by the sudden pain of the milk curdling as it hit his liver. From
this, he gained a bounteous cramp. Unable to move, he sat sedately
wincing in agony. He slept until morningcome.
When he awoke, he rose out of his chair and peered out the
window. He noticed a very old building with fluorescent colors. At the
foundation of the building stood a mighty man-sized thing. Wolf-Rider
called the hippie over and asked who, or what, it was. Moonbeam
replied with a simple, nervous, “B-B-B-Big B-B-Bosssss Ch-Ch-Chumpy!”
Wolf-Rider never noticed this stutter before and discharged it as pure
“Everyone exit their homes for morning exercises!” announced
the Big Boss Chumpy through a large megaphone. Moonbeam bolted
196 C Michael, Boomer Wadaska & Sean Young
The Legend of Wolf-Rider
out the door and Wolf-Rider followed slowly. Outside, the people filed
into tidy rows. The Big Boss Chumpy noticed a new presence in his
town, that of the Wolf-Rider. He walked to him. “You must be new in
town, huh?”
“Very brilliant reconnaissance. Now I see why you rule this
land,” Wolf-Rider cracked wise.
“You just watch yer butt, Mister. Since you’re new in town, I’ll
go easy on you. Give me forty jumping jacks.”
“No,” plainly stated the Wolf-Rider. The town gasped in
bewilderment. Wolf-Rider took a step closer to the Big Boss Chumpy
and could now get a clear smell of him. He smelled like road kill. Wolf-
Rider took a few steps back, shaking his head and holding his nose.
“How dare you say ‘no’ to the Big Boss Chumpy and insult him?
You must have big balls. So big in fact, I’ll give you a second chance
because I like that in a person,” said Chumpy and then crossed his arms
awaiting a reply.
As Wolf-Rider thought, the Chumpy became impatient and
began tapping his foot on the ground. As his foot elevated, Wolf-Rider
could see numerous people squishes stuck on the bottom of his shoe.
With the origin of the fumes revealed, Wolf-Rider decided to recite:
“O Big Boss Chumpy of your evil ruling ways,
With poetic skill, I shall amaze,
To banish you from this most tranquil town,
And your police squad I shall shoot down,
Each and every one!”
Chumpy jumped back in awe. “First you defy me and now you use
poetry? You shall be taken and have your tongue removed so you may
never do such sonaric damage to me or my squad again! Off with his
Wolf-Rider shot the first guard that came after him, and then the
next. Wolf-Rider learned that these guards were not very competent, and
even less human. They attacked him one at a time.
Eventually, Wolf-Rider would use his seventh round and would
have to take them by hand. He fought with skill, but the automaton
guard could take more damage than he could dish out, and dish out more
damage than he could take. They managed to subdue him. (Well, one of
them anyway.)

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The Legend of Wolf-Rider
When things calmed, Wolf-Rider stood up against his will and a
six-foot Kendo stick was forced into his hands. “To make things
interesting, you will fight my champion,” said the Big Boss Chumpy,
motioning a camera crew to ready themselves.
A huge mother-of-a-man walked up to Wolf-Rider carrying a
nine-foot Kendo stick. The crowd gathered around to watch this Kendo
stick death match. Most were rooting for the Wolf-Rider.
But Wolf-Rider knew he had a disadvantage in size. He quickly
scanned the presence of the Big Boss Chumpy’s champion, duly named
“Fluffy”, looking for a weakness. He saw it just as Fluffy launched his
first wave of attack, sweeping Wolf-Rider’s legs out and then attempting
to smash his face, which he nimbly evaded. On the tip of Fluffy’s nose
there rested a small red “X”. That had to be his “Achilles’ heel.” Back
on his feet with pole vault form, Wolf-Rider used the stick to pummel
Fluffy’s face and prepared to use his karate-ness upon the minute nose
The journey through the air seemed to take a lifetime. Wolf-
Rider could feel the adrenaline flowing. He would be crowned king, the
savior of this poor town; he was to be a hero. But these visions were
abruptly flushed down a toilet, which clogged and was later unclogged
with a quick shot of Drano, when his foot was caught in mid-air by the
massive arms of Fluffy. Fluffy then threw him back and swung, but the
Wolf-Rider, being the incredible person he was, parried the blow and
built up his morale by reciting this poem:
“You’re Kendo-karate skill is great,
And you seem to be satisfied with your soon-to-be fate;
You are obviously a dope,
You can not win,
‘Cuz I shall beat you to a bloody red pulp!”
Wolf-Rider swung and connected with Fluffy’s jaw. Fluffy staggered
back. Wolf-Rider then hurled the Kendo stick like a javelin and bull’s-
eyed the small “X”. Fluffy’s reaction was an explosion.
The euphoric feeling of triumph that was apparent as the burden
of troubles were quickly lifting from the town. In a fit of panic and
nervousness, the Big Boss Chumpy hastily fled into the blood-filled, off-
center horizon. Wolf-Rider had a déjà vu.
The lenient Wolf-Rider was crowned king within the eyes of the
townspeople, but his future flamboyant plans had not really included a

198 C Michael, Boomer Wadaska & Sean Young

The Legend of Wolf-Rider
kingship. Thinking of a good excuse to leave the possible settled life in
order live as a rebel, he called a town press conference.
Everyone gathered in the fluorescent town hall, and Wolf-Rider
was prepared to renounce his recent coronation. After everyone quieted,
Wolf-Rider stood up, and before he even muttered a single word, a
miniature something jumped out of his black velvet bag. He immediately
recognized it as a regenerating slab of antagonist. The flesh grew into a
whole new Mr. Big, head included.
The new improved Mr. Big was bigger and badder than ever
before. He was monstrous and ready to slay and mutilate any
obstruction that blocked his path into Lilliputian pieces of flesh-and-
blood-filled horror. He was pissed.
Wolf-Rider flew against the cracked concrete wall in
astonishment. He knew he was going to be ripped into several pieces.
His mind raced for an idea, but drew a blank.
Mrs. Mardi Ethel Simpson was hardly known for her
involvement in foreign affairs. At seventy-five years of age, noise became
her adversary, and the small town four miles south of Ed’s Full-Serve
Gas Station, which was coincidentally awarded the Silver Pump Award
for excellent service, had plenty of it.
Mrs. Simpson slowly rose from her Craftmatic Comfort Chair,
which was joyfully paid for by Medicare and Life-Call, and held aloft her
mighty walking cane, magically turning into the all-powerful
Megagrandma of Tubane.
The sudden stop of everything startled both Mr. Big and Wolf-
Rider. They stopped as well and glanced at Megagrandma and then
looked at each other perplexingly. Megagrandma clicked a button on the
cane and a very large, very luminous electroblade stilettoed out of the end
of it. She then thrusted it at Mr. Big, lancing his fervorous stomach.
Mr. Big winced in pain and whipped out a blood red rocket-
powered gun. He decided that he was going to make certain that
“Supergranny” explode into shards of carnage and obliterated vats of fat
and wrinkles. Valiantly, Wolf-Rider jumped in front of the launched
semi-warhead, but was a second too late, and the missile connected with
its intended target.
Wolf-Rider felt compassion toward the collapsed body of
Megagrandma. Quickly opening her flack jacket, he checked her vital
signs. Mrs. Simpson winked at him and spun with Ferrari speed to
capture Mr. Big’s gut with her cane. With her fist clenched to the air and
an evil grimace on her face, she collected her breath. “Fear me! I am
Woman!” she yelled.
C Michael, Boomer Wadaska & Sean Young 199
The Legend of Wolf-Rider
Mr. Big leapt forward and ruptured her nose, blasting her into the
wood paneling behind her. Wolf-Rider took advantage of the situation
and launched all seven reloaded rounds from Betsy directly at Mr. Big’s
rippling chest.
Mr. Big, in his defense, flexed his muscles, causing the bullets to
ricochet off his chest, right back at Wolf-Rider. Wolf-Rider could not get
out of the way quickly enough and was grazed in the left arm by two of
the seven bullets. One stray bullet smoothly housed itself within the
cranial cavity of an innocent bystander.
Mrs. Simpson stood up and let out a loud, leopard-like roar,
blowing Wolf-Rider into a shelf of 100 proof moonshine and her
intended target two feet backwards. Mr. Big lurched forward, body
checking Megagrandma into the wall again. Meanwhile, Wolfie nursed
his wounds with the moonshine.
On the floor was Mrs. Simpson’s cane. Mr. Big picked it up over
his head and prepared to thrust it downward upon her. But the magic
cane, recognizing an err in the attitude of the holder, proceeded to
perform “Puttin’ on the Ritz” atop the big lug’s head.
Wolf-Rider, long offended by an act of feminish attempting to
compete within this battle, quickly rectified the situation. He reloaded
and shot several rounds at the cane. The bullets not only removed this
cane from Mr. Big’s head, but also Mr. Big’s head.
In the fury of losing his head again, Mr. Big grabbed the nearest
spectator and dislodged her head from her shoulders, placing it on his.
He grabbed Wolf-Rider and Mrs. Simpson and threw them across the
room. Just as Mr. Big was about to finish the two, he was interrupted by
a shout.
“Nobody move!” the voice said, “I’m reclaiming this town!” It
was Big Boss Chumpy. He was armed with a twenty-barreled, two-gauge
shotgun. He lifted all of the barrels and kept them poised at Mr. Big’s
Mr. Big let out a depressive sigh because he really was looking
forward to ripping his two foes to shreds, but now his plans were foiled
by a man with big weaponry. The large gust of wind from his sigh was
powerful enough to blow back an unstable Big Boss Chumpy. The
shotgun slipped downward and accidentally went off.
The resulting damage to the floor from this massive gun blew a
hole straight to China. The recoil, of course, launched Big Boss Chumpy
into orbit.

200 C Michael, Boomer Wadaska & Sean Young

The Legend of Wolf-Rider
As Mr. Big stood in catatonic stupor, Wolf-Rider snuck up on
him and pushed him into the hole. The result of this, due to gravity, was
pretty neat to see.
Mr. Big plummeted at 9.8 meters per second squared to the other
side of the earth. Gravity took hold and pulled him back just as fast. As
he came out of the hole screaming, he tried to grab a hold of Wolf-Rider
and failed. This process continued as Mr. Big gradually decelerated and
became stuck in the center of the earth. Upon careful listening, Wolf-
Rider could hear Mr. Big damning him.

C Michael, Boomer Wadaska & Sean Young 201

My Mind Spoken

My Mind Spoken


it's just the first time i'm speaking my mind


i've swallowed all i can stand, now is the time to spit back at


how can i approve of what is so obviously out of control


although, so many times i've wished it to be a fist


my eyes were open all the while you took everything i had
now, i'm all used up and empty


we have become such different people and i no longer know


they have become so calloused and worn while the work
has proved futile
why bother anymore

202 Kyle Phipps Bernhardy

My Mind Spoken


why should i when your ears are so deaf to me


but it may be a time until i do it again


you've just put it through so much that i must spend time
away to heal


but you've been a self-proclaimed victim for so long that you
will probably see it as such


you're now on your own
so long, my brother

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy 203

Keyword Index/Glossary

;^): (text message emoticon) “a wink and a smile”, wysiwyg, 81
;p: (text message emoticon) “tongue out”, “happy”, or “joking”,
Truth and Soul, 52
.44 Auto Mag: a pistol designed to bring .44 magnum power to a semi-
automatic pistol, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 190
3M: (formerly Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company) a company
that produces thousands of products, most notably adhesives, abrasives
and laminates, Banana Meltdown, 113
“3-5-0-0”: a song from the musical Hair (1968) which takes its lyrics from Alan
Ginsberg's poem Witchita Sutra Vortex, the number referring to the
estimated monthly casualty rate during the Viet Nam War,
7-Eleven: a convenience store very prevalent in Levittown,
911: a dual reference to the emergency telephone number and the terrorist
attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, 911, 178
1000 Blank White Cards: an improvisational card game where the deck is
created as the game is being played, 1000 Blank White Cards, 44-46

AAA: (initialism) “American Automobile Association”, a non-profit
automobile service organization and insurance company, Rumble
Strips, 15; Predictions in the Year 06, 152
Academy Award: an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences, popularly known as an “Oscar”,
Banana Meltdown, 112
Achilles' heel: a fatal weakness named for the Greek warrior, Achilles' who
met his demise with an arrow to his heel, his only weak spot,
The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 198
adjectivize: Kylean word for “making an adjective out of” (see Kylean
interlude), Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149
agita: agitation or anxiety, Restless, 71

“albatross around one's neck”: a phrase meaning “an annoying burden”
originating from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, The Rime of the
Ancient Mariner, wherein after a sailor kills an albatross, he is forced to
wear the carcass around his neck as punishment,
School for Geniuses, 162
Allstate: an insurance company, INVINCIBLe, 127
alpha and omega: the beginning and end, Swiffertail, 95; So Why Bother?, 173
American Idol: a reality television show that features young vocal talent
competing for a record contract, Predictions in the Year 06, 152
Amtrak: a government-owned intercity passenger train service,
Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143
Anglo-Saxon: general term for the invading tribes in the south and east of
Great Britain circa 6 AD to the Norman conquest of 1066,
Banana Meltdown, 112
anti-gingham: against all forms of striped or checked yarn-dyed, plain-weave
cotton fabrics, Banana Meltdown, 112
AOL: (initialism) internet company formerly known as America On-Line,
Koch, 33
Apache: a collective name for a group of culturally related Native Americans,
Someone Got Married on August 21 and I Was There, 87
appetence: intense desire, Route Down, 117
alchemic: of archaic chemical science, part of occult tradition best known for
attempts to transmutate common metal into gold, Beloved Dream, 109;
Katie's Torchlight, 50 (alchemized)
anthropomorphic: ascribing living characteristics to inanimate objects,
Arnoldness: having a physique equivalent to that of body-builder Arnold
Schwarzenegger, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 193
ATM: (text message initialism) “at this moment”, wysiwyg, 80
Audubon Society: (National Audubon Society) a non-profit environmental
organization dedicated to conservancy, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy
Haze, 150
axiomatic: of or pertaining to self-evidence, A Mental Trip, 1

Beethoven: (Ludwig van Beethoven, December 16, 1770 – March 26, 1827)
composer and pianist known to have composed and performed even
after becoming deaf, Letter to Beethoven, 85
Bic Erasable: a brand of pen equipped with an eraser and erasable ink,
Between Lust and a Hard Place, 159
blacktors: a combination of the words “black” and “actors” to denote actors
of African American heritage, Banana Meltdown, 112
Blue and White: the team colors of Penn State University, in this case
referencing its student body, Koch, 35
Blue Nun: a German wine brand most popular between the 1950's and 1980's,
The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 192
b-movie-esque: having the quality of a low budget film, For Those Who Have
Defied the Odds, 189
Bombardment: a dodgeball variant often played in high school gym class,
Quarter-Life Crisis, 160
Bristol Township: a township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania many parts of
which consist of sections of Levittown, Banana Meltdown, 113
Brooks Brothers: the oldest men's clothier in the United States (1818),
Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149
BTW: (text message initialism) “by the way”, wysiwyg, 80
Buchanan: (James Buchanan Elementary School) a school located in
Levittown, PA, Quarter-Life Crisis, 160
Bucks County: one of the five Pennsylvania counties that makes up the
Delaware Valley; Levittown is located here, Swiffertail, 95;
Banana Meltdown, 112
Bugs Bunny: an animated rabbit who appears in the Looney Tunes and Merrie
Melodies series of animated short films, touted as the greatest and most
recognizable cartoon character of all time, Dear John, 62

Cain: in Genesis and the Qur'an, son of Adam and Eve who committed the
first murder, in this case used for the jealousy, rivalry and aggression he
represents, The Old Scottish Lane, 180
Captain Peanut-a-delic & the Shim-sham Catamaran: a fictitious zydeco
jam band, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149

carbos: (abbreviation) “carbohydrates”, So Far, 140
Carrot Top: (Scott Thompson, born February 25, 1965) a prop comic known
for his bright red hair, Picture of Me, 73
Centre County: a county in Pennsylvania where State College is located,
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186
Chairman Mao: (Mao Zedong) leader of the People's Republic of China from
1949-1976, The Following Night in Tiananmen Square, 9
Charles Darwin: a naturalist noted for his theories on evolution,
So Why Bother?, 172
Chekhovian: of Anton Chekhov, a Russian writer known for penning
tragedies but referring to them as comedies, George's Uncle, 69
Cheshire cat: a character from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,
known for its enormous smile, Between Lust and a Hard Place, 159
chili-chongas: (variant of chimichangas) deep fried burritos, most likely
stuffed with chili, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 148
Christopher Columbus: an explorer whose voyages led to the European
awareness of the later named “American” continents, Raffles, 138
Chuck Taylor: (Charles Hollis Taylor, June 24, 1901 – June 23, 1969) a
basketball player and shoe salesman, best known for his Converse
brand Chuck Taylor All-Stars sneakers, Banana Meltdown, 112
Civic: Honda model car in production from 1973-present, Front Porch, 27
CNN: (initialism) “Cable News Network”, the first television station to
provide 24-hour news coverage, For Those Who Have Defied the
Odds, 186
Coca-Cola: a popular carbonated soft drink, Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143
codex authorities: a cynical reference to moral guidelines,
In Just a Few Hours, 28
Cosmo: nickname for Cosmopolitan, the best-selling women's magazine,
The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 192
Craftmatic: a brand of adjustable bed, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 199
creationing: the act of creating creation as regarded by believers of
creationism, So Why Bother?, 173
croutoneous: having the properties of a crouton, The Magnanimous Salad, 77
cyberspace: a synonym for the internet, I Need a Better Agent, 153
cyberspacious glands: pertaining to the release of hormones triggered by the
pituitary gland as a result of salacious communication (mostly
unreciprocated) within an on-line social networking website,
MySpace Girl, 104
Cyclopes: in Greek mythology, a primordial race of giants with a single eye in
the center of their forehead, in this case the cyclopes referred to are
referenced from Hesiod's Theogony, wherein Arges, Brontes and
Steropes were sons of Gaea and Uranus, Not Just a Package, 134

Dewey Decimal System: method created by Melvil Dewey in 1876 for
organizing books in a library so that they may be easily located and
replaced, Filing System, 177
diapendion: medicinal sugar, cOME oN pILGRIM, 91
Dirk Doom: cartoon created by Kyle Phipps Bernhardy in 1990, which
originally appeared in the “Illegal Pad”, a series of conglomerate
writings authored by the student body at Harry S Truman High School,
Levittown, PA, 33, 89, 118, 136, 164, 185
DNA: (initialism) “deoxyribonucleic acid” is a nucleic acid that contains the
genetic blueprints of all living organisms and some viruses,
DNA Mother, 58
dog-day: singular form of dog-days referencing a period marked by lethargy;
also a sultry summer day reckoned to be between July 3 and August 11
when Sirius, the Dog Star rises with the sun,
Murphy's Dog-Day Principle, Chpts. I-IV, 22, 23
doo-dopping: Kylean word for singing and moving along to a song (see
Kylean interlude), For the Love of Valencio, 17
doughtiness: courage, Alliterature, 165
Drano: a chemical product used for dissolving clogs in a drain, The Legend of
Wolf-Rider, 198
Dr. Ha: (Dr. Samuel J. Ha) a biology professor at Millersville University, PA,
from 1971 - 1998, Two From Biology Class, 129, 130
Dr. Henkeisms: a term coined for the peculiar statements often spoken by
Dr. Jim Henke, a professor of communications at Millersville
University, Millersville, PA, from 1976 - present, Dr. Henkeisms, 13

eBay: an internet company that provides on-line auctioning and shopping,
Not Just a Package, 134
ebullient: overflowing with excitement, cOME oN pILGRIM, 91;
Alliterature, 165 (ebullience)

Eden: in the Book of Genesis, the garden where Adam and Eve lived after
having been created by God, Greyhound to Savannah, 147
edumacation: a cynical play on the word “education”, The Expense of the
Y2K Bug, 99; Accidental Bully, 182 (edumacated)

Einstein: (Albert Einstein, March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) theoretical
physicist most noted for his theory of relativity, God's Deluxe Condo
Has a Fish Tank, 85
“endorphin rush”: feeling of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger and
other forms of stress, also known as “runner's high”, So Far, 142
ER: (initialism) “Emergency Room”For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186
Evian: a brand of mineral and spring water, H2O > $GAS, 153

FBI: (initialism) “Federal Bureau of Investigation”, For Those Who Have
Defied the Odds, 188
Ferarri: an Italian sports car, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 199
Frankensteins: referencing the popular cinematic portrayal of Frankenstein's
monster wherein his gait is distinguished by unbending knees,
The Mud Slide, 145
funkified: (from “funk” once defined in dictionaries as body odor or the smell
of sexual intercourse, commonly regarded as coarse or indecent), the
state of having had this odor, used in this case to express apathetic
ennui, Restless, 70
FYI: (initialism) “for your information”, wysiwyg, 80

Gaia: (var. of Gaea) ancient Greek goddess of Earth, Not Just a Package, 134
gastrovascular cavity: functions in digestion and gas exchange in jellyfish, sea
anemones, et alum, The Magnanimous Salad, 77; The Legend of Wolf-
Rider, 195
Geico: a popular automobile insurance company known for its commercials
featuring a gecko and disgruntled cavemen, For Those Who Have
Defied the Odds, 188

Gene Kelly: (Eugene Curran Kelly, August 23, 1912 – February 2, 1996)
dancer, actor and singer best known for his performance in Singing in
the Rain, 1952, T.S. Eliot, 7
Gillespie: (William Gillespie) a character on the television show, In the Heat of
the Night, portrayed by Carroll O'Connor, The Laundromat, 86
Gimp's Envy: a fictitious German Oi! band, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy
Haze, 149; Quarter-Life Crisis, 161
“Girls Gone Wild”: a low-budget pornographic DVD series, Restless, 70
Gobble-Up: a variant of hide-n-seek where the “gobbler” would not only find
the hiders, but also physically brutalize them in a vaguely playful
manner, The Mud Slide, 144
goldenseal: an herb with properties as a laxative and emmenagogue, et alum,
Insensed, 67
“greenhouse effect”: an atmospheric heating phenomenon, Restless, 70
Greyhound: (Greyhound Lines) a bus service that includes thousands of stops
within the United States, Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143; Greyhound to
Savannah, 146
Guillaume Apollinaire: (August 26, 1880 – November 9, 1918) French poet,
writer and art critic, Koch, 33
Guinness: an Irish stout beer brewed in St. James' Gate, Dublin, Three Yanks
Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38
Gummy Wurm: (variant of Gummi Worm) a chewy fruit-flavored candy in
the shape of a worm, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149

haiku: a Japanese poem divided into three lines of five, seven, and five
syllables expressing a single thought, idea or allusion, Haiku, 82; This
Time It's Personal, 154
hair-to-God: a 1980's female hairstyle wherein the bangs are held vertically by
an excessive amount of hairspray, Why Go to Live Theater?, 101
Harleys: Harley Davidson motorcycles, Restless, 70
Hechinger's: (Hechinger) a chain of home improvement retail stores that
went bankrupt and now operates as an on-line hardware store, Dear
John, 61
Helmet: alternative metal band from New York City, Quarter-Life Crisis, 160
Hitler: (Adolf Hitler, April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945) former Nazi dictator of
Germany, Someone Got Married on August 21 and I Was There, 87

holophrastic: (hollow phrase) expressing an entire sentence or phrase in one
word. i.e. “amen”, cOME oN pILGRIM, 90
Hot Wheels: a popular brand of scale miniature toy cars, The Mud Slide, 144

idgit: a phonetic spelling of the elision of the word “idiot”, Beat Street, 181
IMO: (text message initialism), “in my opinion”, wysiwyg, 80
indigests: failing to digest, The Magnanimous Salad, 77
insensed: state of having been without sense, Insensed, 66;
Greyhound to Savannah, 146
intercess: in religious jargon, the act of praying to God on another's behalf,
usually by a priest or some other religious figurehead, cOME oN
In the Heat of the Night: a television series based on a motion picture of the
same name, The Laundromat, 86
IQ: (initialism) “Intelligence Quotient”, School for Geniuses, 162
irony¹: words conveying a meaning opposite of their literal meaning,
A Mental Trip, 1
● “These are not explanatory writings...”, A Mental Trip, 1
irony²: an outcome of events contrary to what might have been expected,
The Sixth Year, 137; Hocus Pocus, 157
● “an empty gift awarded for an unfortunate anniversary...”, The Sixth Year, 137

Jack Kerouac: (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) a prominent writer, poet
and artist from the “beat generation”,
Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38
Jaguar: a luxury automobile manufactured in England,
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 189; Restless, 70 (Jags)
JD: (initialism) “Jack Daniels”, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 192
Jimi Hendrix: (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) rock guitarist,
singer and songwriter, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 194
Jeopardy: a popular quiz show where contestants earn money by supplying the
appropriate questions to given answers, School for Geniuses, 162

John Fitch Elementary School: a school in Levittown, PA named for Bucks
County inventor, John Fitch (January 21, 1743 – July 2, 1798), who
built the first steam-powered ship in the US,
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 187
JuJuBes: in this case, a brand of candy originally made by the Heide Company
which were fruit flavored and so hard to chew they often became stuck
in one's teeth, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 191

karma: action seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad,
In Just a Few Hours, 28; Truth and Soul, 52
Katherine Whalen: (April 24, 1968 – present), vocalist and banjo player for
the swing band, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Low Down Man, 64
Keats: (John Keats, October 31, 1795 – February 23, 1821) poet of the English
Romantic movement who penned the quote “Beauty is truth, truth
beauty” in Ode on a Grecian Urn, Beauty Is Truth..., 12
Kendo stick: (Japanese) from Kendo, “way of the sword”, plus a bamboo
stick used to practice swordfighting, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 198
Kenneth Koch: (February 27, 1925 – July 6, 2002) American poet, playwright
and professor who wrote in a non-structured, exuberant style, Koch, 32
King Lear: a tragedy written by William Shakespeare,
Failure to Suspend Disbelief with King Lear, 100
King Solomon: a street performer in Savannah, GA who makes elaborate-
looking flowers from palm fronds, Greyhound to Savannah, 147
KJV: (initialism) “King James Version”, Swiffertail, 94
Krishna: a deity worshiped in many traditions of Hinduism, considered the
“avatari” or “Supreme Godhead” by devotees of the International
Society for Krishna Consciousness Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143
Kylean interlude: term coined for an excessive string of consonants which
represent thought or speech, often used by Kyle Phipps Bernhardy:
1. “Grrrrr”, This Word, 8
2. “Hmmmm”, For the Love of Valencio, 17
3. “Hole Uhmmm...” and “Hmmm...”, Dirk Doom #1, 33
4. “'MMMMmmmwwwrrrrr'”, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze,
5. “HMMmmmmmmm”; “HMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmm”,
I Hate Rain, 184
Lancaster County: a county in southeastern Pennsylvania known as “the
Garden Spot of America”, The Expense of the Y2K Bug, 99
Lederhosen: (German) “leather trousers”, knee-length britches made of
leather, Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 148
Lentzschian: in reference to Craig Lentzch, Greyhound Lines, Inc., president
1994-2003, Greyhound to Savannah, 146
Levittown: Philadelphia suburban birthplace of all four authors of this
compendium, Front Porch, 26; Restless, 70; Banana Meltdown, 112;
The Mud Slide, 144
Lifecall: a company specializing in medical alarm systems, The Legend of
Wolf-Rider, 199
Lilliputian: very small, from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, wherein
Gulliver meets the tiny people of Lilliput, The Legend of Wolf-Rider,
liquescence: the state of becoming liquid or melting, cOME oN pILGRIM, 90
LOL: (text message initialism) “laugh out loud”, Koch, 33; Truth and Soul, 52;
wysiwyg, 80
Louis Armstrong: jazz trumpeter and band leader known as “Satchmo”,
I Dreamt of You Last Night, 92
Louvre: the world's most renowned art museum located in Paris, France,
The Louvre, 40
lupus: (systemic lupus erythematosus) chronic autoimmune disease which
attacks and damages cells and tissue which can be fatal, Restless, 70;
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188
luthern: a dormer window, Alliterature, 165

magnanimous: free of resentment or vindictiveness, in this case suggesting
ease of digestion both literally and figuratively, The Magnanimous
Salad, 77
MapQuest: an internet site that provides maps and driving directions,
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186
Matchbox: a popular brand of scale miniature toy cars, The Mud Slide, 144
Mattingly-like: (Don Mattingly) in the style of a popular, former New York
Yankee baseball player, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 194

Maybelline: a popular company specializing in make-up, Expectations, 59
Medicare: a social insurance program, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 199
megalomaniacal: pertaining to one with a mental illness marked with
delusions of grandeur, Raffles, 139
Menudo: a Latino boy band (1977 – present), So Why Bother?, 173
Mercury: ancient Roman messenger god of trade, profit and commerce,
known to be very swift, So Far, 142
meta-cognition: beyond understanding, In Just a Few Hours, 28
metamorphasized: act of having gone through change, Katie's Torchlight, 50
Michael Jackson: a musician known as the “King of Pop” who is notorious
for excessive unnecessary facial surgeries, Banana Meltdown, 112
Milli Vanilli: a pop music duo in the late 1980's most famous for having a
Grammy award revoked after the discovery that the vocals on the
album were not those of the two men accredited, Truth and Soul, 52
Ming vase: pottery made during the Ming dynasty in Japan, 1368-1644,
Eva's Gone Away, 13
Mjollnir: in ancient Norse mythology, the mighty hammer of Thor,
Class Dreams, 129
Mighty Mighty Bosstones: a ska-core band from Boston, MA,
Quarter-Life Crisis, 160
modus operandi: (Latin) “mode of operation”, Front Porch, 27
Morrisville: a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that is located across
the Delaware River from Trenton, New Jersey, Banana Meltdown, 112
Moses: a Biblical Hebrew religious leader attributed with having authored the
Torah, fabled to have had God part the Red Sea, Quarter-Life Crisis, 160
moshed: danced aggressively, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 190
Mr. Tibbs: (Virgil Tibbs) a character on the television show In the Heat of the
Night, portrayed by Howard Rollins, The Laundromat, 86
Mtv: (initialism) “Music television”, So Why Bother?, 173
mulish: stubborn, Alliterature, 165
Murphy: reference to “Murphy's law” where anything that can go wrong, will,
Murphy's Dog-Day Principle, Chpts. I-IV, 22-23
Murphyesque: pretaining to Murphy's law (see Murphy),
Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143
myopically: in the manner of not having regarded future interests,
Introduce Yourself, 2

misogynistic: having the quality of hatred, anger or mistrust towards women,
Quashed Hope, 111
MySpace: an on-line social networking website, MySpace Girl, 104;
Banana Meltdown, 113

NASA: (initialism) “National Aeronautics and Space Administration”,
A Very Bad Day To Be Rich, 168
Nike Swoosh: the swooping emblem on a pair of Nike brand athletic shoes,
The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 191
NIV: (initialism) “New International Version”, Swiffertail, 94
No Exit: a play written by Jean-Paul Sartre wherein the main character is led
into a nondescript room with only one possible exit, which he
discovers is Hell, Low Down Man, 65
nosebroom: mustache, Hocus Pocus, 156

Oda daimyo: (Japanese) “Oda”, family name of a Japanese clan, and
“daimyo”, meaning “great name”, powerful feudal rulers in 19th
century Japan, Oda Daimyo, 13
Off-Broadway: referring to theater performed in New York City, NY that is
not a large-scale production within the theater district,
Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143
Ogden Nash: a poet best known for humorous verse,
Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38
“Ol' Mud”: a nickname for Old Milwaukee Beer, Why Go to Live Theater?, 101
OMG: (text message initialism) “Oh, my God!”, wysiwyg, 80
oriel: a bay window, Alliterature, 165
otiose: futile, Alliterature, 165
oxymoron: contradictory words used together in a phrase or sentence,
A Mental Trip, 1; God's Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank, 85
1. “...not explanatory writings...”, A Mental Trip, 1
2. “agnostically religious”, Introduce Yourself, 2
3. “...xerophilous plants growing in his shower.”, For the Love of Valencio,

4. “internet dating personal ads”, Koch, 33
5. “'I love you, but...'”, God's Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank, 85

padiddle: a car with one headlight, PeopeAreAfraidToMerge, 49
Parliament: a popular brand of cigarettes, Between Lust and Hard Place, 159
paronychia: bacterial infection which swells around a fingernail or toenail,
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188
Paul Bunyan: in American folklore, a lumberjack who appears in many tall
tales and legends, often accompanied by his trusty blue ox, Babe,
The Paul Bunyan Trilogy, 106
Pennsbury: (Pennsbury High School) a high school located in Fairless Hills,
Pennsylvania (Bucks County), Banana Meltdown, 112
People's Party: a nickname for the Communist Party of China (CPC),
The Following Night in Tiananmen Square, 9
perorate: formal conclusion of a long speech, in this case used as a double
entendre, cOME oN pILGRIM, 91
perplexia: a state of confusion, PeopleAreAfraidToMerge, 48
pH: (power of Hydrogen) the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution,
Truth and Soul, 52
phantasmal: unreal, illusory, Alliterature, 165
pheromones: chemicals that trigger a natural behavioral response in members
of the same species, Truth and Soul, 52
Phillips-head: a cross-head screw design named for Henry F. Phillips,
I Have Not a Phillips Head, 155
Philly: a nickname for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Opening Day, 6
phoenix: in Greek mythology, a firebird that sets itself ablaze and then is
reborn from its own ashes, In Just a Few Hours, 30
pin-up Bettie: self-modeled to resemble Betty Mae Page, a pin-up and fetish
model popular in the 1950's, Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38
Pollock: a pejorative term for a person of Polish heritage, Hocus Pocus, 158
Positively Records: the greatest music store on the planet, located in
Levittown, PA, Truth and Soul, 52
Powerball: a shared jackpot lottery, Truth and Soul, 52
pulverulent: consisting of dust or fine powder, The Mud Slide, 144

punchbuggy: a Volkswagen Beetle, whose distinct body style inspired a travel
game wherein when one is spotted, the spotter may strike another
player in the arm, PeopleAreAfraidToMerge, 49
Punxsutawney: a borough in Pennsylvania made famous by its Groundhog's
Day festival, Front Porch, 26
pyrotechniques: (var. of “pyrotechnics”) methods of fire and explosives
usage, Katie's Torchlight, 50
Pyrrhic victory: a victory with overwhelming cost to the victor, named for
King Pyrrhus of Epirus who suffered tremendous casualties in his
victory over the Romans during the Pyrrhic War, 280-275 BC,
Y2K Compliant, 100; The End of My Rope, 176 (Pyrrhic sigh)

quadrupts: (quadrupeds) four-legged animals, So Why Bother?, 172
querulous: complaining, God's Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank, 84;
Alliterature, 165 (querulously)
quixotic: impulsive and rash, Alliterature, 165
quoth: said, always placed before the subject, Alliterature, 165

R&D: (abbrv.) “research and development”, A Very Bad Day To Be Rich, 168
Reader's Digest: America's best-selling monthly general interest magazine,
This Oughta Be in Reader's Digest, 118
Red Hot Chili Peppers: a rock funk band with elements of hard rock and
punk from Los Angeles, CA, Dear John, 62
rosacea: a condition that begins with flushing and redness across the cheeks,
nose and forehead and could lead to small bumps and pustules,
Hocus Pocus, 156
“R” Pronunciation: in this case, retroflex and alveolar approximants,
Speech Impediment, 8
rood: a large crucifix, cOME oN pILGRIM, 90
Rush Limbaugh: a big, fat idiot, Limbaugh V. Machinery, 100

S&H: (abbrv.) “shipping and handling”, Doggy Style, 153
sacrosanct: very sacred, cOME oN pILGRIM, 90
Salvation Army: a Christian charity organization that provides social services
and religious guidance to the poor and destitute, INVINCIBLe, 128
samosa: a South Asian pastry usually stuffed with potatoes, onions, spices and
green chili, folded in a triangular shape and commonly served with
chutney, In Just a Few Hours, 29
Samson: a character who was granted tremendous physical strength from God
in Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), Talmud, and the Old Testamenti, So Far, 142
Sartre: (Jean-Paul Sartre) French existentialist philosopher, writer and activist,
Low Down Man, 65
Savannah: a city in Georgia, one of the largest National Historic Landmarks
districts in the United States, Greyhound to Savannah, 146
schnozz-fuzz: a mustache, Hocus Pocus, 157
Schwarzenegger-like: (Arnold Schwarzenegger) muscular (see Arnoldness),
The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 194
scopalamine: a drug used to treat motion sickness, nausea and intestinal
cramping, commonly used as a depressant or an adjunct to other
narcotics, also known as hyoscine and “Devil's Breath”,
Banana Meltdown, 112
Scotch-taped: fastened with the Scotch brand adhesive tape made by the 3M
Corporation, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 187
Scottish lane: dual usage as a chosen path and the Scottish word “lane”
meaning “lone” or “lonesome”, The Old Scottish Lane, 180
sdrawkcab: “backwards” written backwards,
Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 148
Shakespeare: (William Shakespeare) an English playwright and poet,
The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 193
Shop N Bag: a grocery store chain formerly prevalent in Levittown, PA,
Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 150
Shroud of Turin: a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to
have suffered trauma consistent with that of a crucifixion, often
believed to be Jesus Christ's, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188
Sideline Football: a modified version of football which consisted of a
quarterback throwing slightly inaccurate passes to force a receiver to
dive in order to catch the ball without landing out of a fixed boundary,
The Mud Slide, 144
siren: in Greek mythology, a bird-woman seductress who lured sailors to their
demise with enchanting singing, Low Down Man, 64
skankified: slang term insinuating uncleanliness, Amtrak from Harrisburg, 143
Skitswabia: a fictional tropical island inhabited by moronic intellectuals,
Banana Meltdown, 112; So Why Bother?, 172, 173 (Skitswab, Skitswabian)
Slurpee: a frozen carbonated beverage sold by 7-Eleven (see 7-Eleven),
responsible for sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, also known as “brain
freeze”, Why Go to Live Theater?, 101
snuggly-wugglies: Kylean word for objects of desire and affection, often only
reciprocated through delusion (see Kylean interlude),
For the Love of Valencio, 17
sonaric: of or pertaining to sound, The Legend of Wolf-Rider, 197
splots: Kylean combination of “plops” and “sits” (see Kylean interlude),
Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149
square: as in “a square meal”, in this case referencing a cigarette as a meal,
In Just a Few Hours, 28
Squirrel Nut Zippers: a swing band popular in the 1990's, Low Down Man, 64
State College: a town in central Pennsylvania, site of Penn State University,
Front Porch, 26; Restless, 70; Swiffertail, 94, 95
Steadicam: a stabilizing mount for a motion picture camera, trademarked by
Tiffen Manufacturing Co., For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188
stinkeye: dirty look or suspicious glare, Hocus Pocus, 158
Strawberry Shortcake: a character toy line owned by American Greetings
which originated first on greeting cards, Quarter-Life Crisis, 161
Suburban: Chevy model truck in production from 1935-present, the longest
continuous nameplate in automobile production, Front Porch, 27
succubus: a demon in female form believed to have sexual intercourse with
sleeping men, The Expense of the Y2K Bug, 99
Suicide: a playground variant of dodgeball played at a wall with a tennis ball,
Raffles, 139
swagmo: Skitswabian (see Skitswabia) word for "totally lame, dude",
So Why Bother?, 173
swolled: suburban variation of “swollen”,
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 187

Taco Bell: a restaurant franchise specializing in Mexican-inspired fast foods,
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186
telekinesis: manipulation of objects through mental processes, Front Porch, 27
Telfair Square: one of twenty-one remaining squares in Savannah, Georgia,
Greyhound to Savannah, 147
Tempo: Ford model car produced from 1984-1994, Omen, 8
“the 'Nam”: a nickname for the Viet Nam War,
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 187
thirtysomethings: people between the ages of 30 and 39, Restless, 70
Thor: the god of thunder in German and Norse paganism, Class Dreams, 129
Threepenny Opera: (Die Dreigroschenoper) a work of musical theatre by
dramatist Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill adapted from John
Gay's The Beggar's Opera, I Dreamt of You Last Night, 92
Three Stooges: a vaudeville and comedy act best known for their short films,
Dear John, 62
Tiananmen Square: plaza near the center of Beijing, China, where an anti-
authoritarianism protest turned violent, A Night In Tiananmen Square;
The Following Night in Tiananmen Square, 9
Titans: in Greek mythology, any of the sons of Gaea and Uranus,
Not Just a Package, 134
Tom & Jerry: a series of cartoons by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera that
centered around a cat (Tom) who futilely and oft to his own sufferance
chased a sly-witted mouse (Jerry), The Mud Slide, 145
Tom Jones: (Sir Thomas John Woodward) a singer noted for his powerful
voice, Eat Your Heart Out, Tom Jones, 11
Tom Waits: a singer, composer and actor noted for his distinct gruff voice,
Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38
Toro: a common brand of lawn care equipment,
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186
tootie-frootie: Kylean word for love interest (see Kylean interlude), For the
Love of Valencio, 17
trafficulty: having a difficult time dealing with traffic, Route Down, 117
Trocadero: a historic theater in Philadelphia, PA that is currently used as a
concert hall and dance club, Quarter-Life Crisis, 160

T.S. Eliot: referencing poet, dramatist and literary critic, Thomas Stearns
Eliot (September 26, 1888 – January 4, 1965) and a tropical storm
named “Eliot”, T.S. Eliot, 7
TTYL: (text message initialism) “talk to you later”, wysiwyg, 81
Tullytown: a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in which part of
Levittown is located, Banana Meltdown, 112, 113
Tupperware: a brand name of plastic containers and serving utensils,
Fruity Toot Days and the Lazy Haze, 149, 150
Tussey Mountain: a stratigraphic ridge in central Pennsylvania and a popular
ski resort area, Front Porch, 26

ubiquitous: everywhere at once, God's Deluxe Condo Has a Fish Tank, 84
umbrage: offense or displeasure, School for Geniuses, 162
unfunkified: (see funkified), Swiffertail, 94
unpropitious: unfavorable, Raffles, 139
Uranus: ancient Greek god of Heaven and ruler of the world,
Not Just a Package, 134

VeriScan: verification and tracking system which utilizes bar codes and Radio
Frequency Identification (RFID) tag readers, Introduce Yourself, 2
“viola”: phonetic spelling of the anaptyxis epenthesis of the French word
“voilà”, used as an interjection for expressing success or satisfaction,
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 187

Walkman: Sony model portable cassette or CD player, Quarter-Life Crisis, 161
whilom: former, Alliterature, 165
“whobehee”: a pejorative word for a hermaphrodite or transsexual,
When I Met O, 170
WYSIWYG: (text message initialism) “what you see is what you get”, wysiwyg, 80
wonton: a Chinese dumpling stuffed with mince meat, often served in soup,
In Just a Few Hours, 29
xerophilous: living in dry, hot regions, For the Love of Valencio, 17
X-Filish: having similarities to the characters on the popular science fiction
television show, The X-Files, For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 188

Y2K: (abbrv.) “year 2000” The Expense of the Y2K Bug, 99; Y2K Compliant, 100
Yank: a nickname for an American citizen, often hailing from the north
eastern part of the country, Three Yanks Drink a Pint of Guinness, 38
Yodels: chocolate-frosted, cream-filled cakes made by the Drake's Company,
distributed primarily on the east coast of the United States,
When I Met O, 170
yoga: a physical and mental discipline which is one of the orthodox schools of
Hindu philosophy, Truth and Soul, 52

za-zen: meditation in a cross-legged position, Alliterature, 165
Ziploc: a brand of disposable resealable storage bags, Opening Day, 5;
For Those Who Have Defied the Odds, 186, 188

Michael C. Flor is just your average, garden variety cage fighting,
vegetarian, English teacher, Hare Krishna, Star Wars junkie, Steelers fan who
lives in Pittsburgh by way of Levittown. He loves his wife and baby girl
more than anything.

Kyle Phipps Bernhardy is this guy who did stuff before and, by
God, he'll do it again whether you like it or not! He now likes long
walks on Costa Rican beaches where he counts his big ole wad o'
cash on his way to his off-shore bank account. Pundits often ponder
what he is always running from, but all concur he's stylin'

Boomer M. Wadaska is a white trash Pollock and all-around carbon-

based organism who enjoys Photoshopping people into
compromising situations. As a freelance post-production video
editor, he's your go-to guy for transferring those old Beta-Max tapes
to DVD. He is an avid fan of throwing off-kilter words onto a page
that occasionally, accidentally make some sort of sense, however
irrational and immature its sentiment. He is also a strong admirer of
hyphens, commas and ellipses.

C Michael hails from the nether regions of Levittown and made his harrowing
escape in fall of 1991. Since then he has traveled to hell and back and decided
the best place to be is right where he is. He lives within the ten mile blast radius
of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Facility and ruefully laments that he
will be vaporized before getting a crack at surviving a zombie apocalypse in the
event of a nuclear holocaust.