Reporting to Mars from the Country of Side Eyes, Tenderloins, and Skeleton Keys

Michael Brockley 

Twenty-nine percent of the naked apes identify blue as their favorite color. Green is their second choice, followed by red and purple. The plural of blue changes a color into a form of music that celebrates coming up short and standing on the outside while looking in through a window at something that’s always out of reach. A man has the blues when the woman he woos drops him like a hot potato for a different man who keeps more portraits of presidents in his wallet. The blues visit a woman when she wants some sugar in her bowl. When she wants a Mercedes Benz while she’s driving a rust-bucket El Camino. A potato is a root vegetable that can be baked after its eyes have been peeled off. People who catch hot potatoes toss them to someone else like they’re throwing away bad luck. Many years ago, the naked apes chose their presidents by voting for the tallest, oldest white man who promised to put a chicken in every pot. Some of those candidates wore white wigs. Some of them took pride in knowing nothing. Now the naked apes trade pictures of those presidents for cheeseburgers and blue lipstick and patio furniture. Sugar grows on large swaths of land, and some naked apes sprinkle sugar on the cereals they eat for breakfast in the crockery they call bowls. The youngest naked apes insist on eating Fruit Loops and Trix. Cereals that are red and green and blue. Only three out of a hundred naked apes confess their favorite music is the blues.

Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist who lives in Muncie, Indiana where he needs to have a tree cut down so his pollinator garden can get more sun. His poems have appeared in Hobo Camp Review and Wild Word. Poems are forthcoming in Book of Matches and Unbroken.

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