In the wet streets of Boskeopolis,
Where the apartments reached the blue abyss,
Lived Autumn & her bony partner,
Devising ways to fill her bank with larder.
She planned in sleep & planned while she was ’wake,
She planned @ morn while eating Edgar’s cakes,
She searched online, searched books in libraries,
Searched birches, buildings, storm drains, cars, & ferries,
Till 1 day she was sitting chin-o’er-fist
& heard a slam as Edgar busted in.
“Autumn, ¡I’ve something perfect for us!”
So Edgar held up 3 li’l hopping beans
& said what happened: wandering the streets
He saw an’ol woman wearing a white robe,
Who claimed back pains & bunions on her toes;
So Edgar nicely helped her cross the street
So she would not be flattened gainst concrete.
For this the woman offered gracious thanks
& said, “Take these beans, for they will fill your banks”.
Suspicion painted thickly Autumn’s face.
“¿Did she say how they’re s’posed to operate?”
“You know, I don’t know”. Edgar scratched his dome;
“’Fore I could ask, she was already gone”.
“Edgar, that’s cheating”
“¿What do you mean?”
“You know we don’t speak UK English here:
Amer’can ‘gone’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘dome,’ I fear
— not e’en imperfectly”.
But Autumn waved his worries all away.
“Never mind. Let’s just finish up this play”.
@ this point, Autumn jerked,
& practiced mechanisms in her mouth to transmit sounds that, when combined, communicated words:
“Well, I know 1 thing we can do with beans:
Dig them in dirt & see the gold released”.
The sun was 1 who always felt stressed;
Pyrosis & thick ulcers left no rest.
Thus he did what he could to ease his pain:
He spread his ragéd bane to th’human race.
Thus ’splains the wave that so enflamed this place,
Made Edgar burn & Autumn sweat stains.
They buried all the beans where best they could:
Secluded soil within Wasabi Woods.
Once watered, there was nothing left to do,
So home returned they to sleep & stew.
They checked each noon to see what growth ensued,
& soon they saw a young li’l bud in bloom.
But not so young did it appear right now:
¡It stretched so high it plain impaled the clouds!
Its leaves so large, could hold a whole bold crew;
Its stalk so thick it showed all sinews, too.
Autumn wasted no time to start their climb,
So eager she to see what bling they’d find.
She hopped from leaf to leaf, diag’nally,
Then saw it split like branches on a tree —
Some orange, some purple, & some blue & pink.
But which led to the top, she could not see:
They upward faded into misty cream;
Seemed each had equal probability.
She picked the nearest, hoping for the best
But found this 1 just led to deadened end.
Th’way back they came across a salmon-skinned worm
With a black top hat & tweed sweater.
He puffed his pipe without e’en glared rebuke
While staring downward @ his Shroom Tribune.
Asked Autumn, “¿Know you th’way up to the top?”
The worm returned with such inflated pomp:
“¿& why should I deign answer pap like that?”
She swiped his papers with a swifty snatch,
To which the worm did blurt, “¡Hey, give that back!”
“’Gain: ¿where?” She shook the papers in her hand.
“¡Extortion! ¡Theft!” was all the worm did say;
She held the papers ’way from him all th’same.
“¡OK!” the worm exclaimed in bitter tone:
“As red as rose is th’path in which to go.
“Now, ¿may I have my papers, please, returned?
“I must know what occurs in Mary’s Worth!”
& thus she dropped his papers on his head
& climbed the red-stemmed vine by his request.
They hoped from here the path would all be clear,
But then they sensed some bulbous bees come near,
& squirmed when they had heard their piercing buzz
Thought Edgar, ¡Bulged white eyes stare straight @ us!
Th’bees’ febrile yellow spines so scorched their eyes
Mo’ bright than any shine from blazing skies.
Th’bees jangled all together as strange bells;
’Twas difficult, not brushing such spiked shells.
When they had passed the last, they sighed, relieved,
Till saw they next the stick’bush symphony
O’ bramble shoots shot up from an abyss
that packed together mo’ the higher they went.
But saw they to the right another route,
Which witnessed was a much mo’ safe way out.
For though ’twas bound in brambles so deplored,
’Twas bottomed by a sturdy wooden floor.
Yet when they looked ahead, their eyes weren’t pleased:
For there they saw more o’ those blasted bees
That fluttered o-so-fast in space so close.
They knew attempted passing lacked all hope;
So searched they for an alternate way,
When saw they just beside them a short crate.
Thus, Autumn chucked it @ the nearest bee
& watched it sputter dead with piercing squeaks.
She tried the very same on th’red bee ’hind;
It just bounced down without a broken spine.
So they had to make do with dodging, ’stead,
& barely passed sans being bit on-head.
Then stopped they, sighing, seeing no mo’ bees,
But just another stalk with dappled leaves,
All painted in a rainbow gradient
& swaying, wavering in thickened wind.
No wasted time ’fore they began their climb
Up th’vine that climbed from red to orange to lime
To pink just ’neath the milky nimbus roof,
Which stopped them not @ all —
They plunged right through;
& ’bove they witnessed such a wondrous thing:
The vibrant, & yet dusky, Kingdom o’ Dreams.
The 2 Bald Eagles
A bald eagle gazed as others passed her sights, flying through the azure sky & warm clouds. She sighed as she stared down @ the eggs under her & moved her feet a li’l to become mo’ comfortable.
“¿You enjoying yourself?”
She turned her head to see her husband fly in, panting, as he dropped the fish on their nest.
“Hey, stupid: ¿d’you hear me?”
“¿Huh?” she said.
“It’s my turn to sit on the eggs — God, you’re not even doing it right: you’re barely covering them. You’d better not cause them to hatch wrong”.
Don’t get married; ¡for God’s sake, it’s prison!
They saw the angry sun had melted ’way
With blithely dozing crescent in its place,
Replaced by steamy sky with inky black
While lights cream-white poured through starry cracks.
Clouds now below had stretched th’extent of view
& bubbled stew-like from the gales that blew.
All scattered round the cloudy ground they saw
Red grass; clay, ancient pots; & tall, thin palms.
But th’sight that truly captured all their eyes
Was th’towering golden palace O-so bright
That it emitted its own very light.
But as they made their way to the front door
They noticed all the holes in th’cloudy floor.
Edgar stared down to see the fall was deep
& said, “Gee, ¿how will we get through this thing?”
But Autumn’s eyes weren’t aimed down @ the star pits,
But on the black birds riding scarlet carpets.
(You’re likely wondering how Autumn
Could see these bird so black gainst blackened skies;
Well, I can answer such a question:
Instead of black they had deep purple lines.)
1 blinked @ Autumn with its wide white eyes,
Then suddenly it struck a wicked dive.
She had no time to dodge, it was so fast,
& hit so hard she fell back on her ass.
Edgar asked, “Autumn, please tell me you’re not hurt…”
“Edgar, don’t hurt, please, the iambic meters”.
So Autumn leapt back to her feet, now scowling
& searched for something that could foul that fowl beast.
’Twas when she saw red grass beside her feet,
Pulled out a beet more big than e’en a flee
& chucked it @ that bastard bird’s fat beak,
knocking it off into the airy deep.
Then she jumped on the carpet still in-flight
& said, “Come, Edgar, let us ride”.
With this the trip no longer posed a challenge,
& in 1 swoop they crossed o’er to the palace.
The halls all opened out in all directions;
’Twas much too large for any close inspection.
As arrows aimed they for the dark doors,
Leaving the heavy valuelesses ignored,
Such as the rusty middle-agéd armor
Or th’breadcrumbs dumbly left along the floor.
But when they pulled a knob, ’twas uncompliant —
Though opened soon, regardless, by a giant.
“I say, ¿& who might you 2 be?” asked she.
Our heroes only answered blank with blinks.
But Autumn soon devised a scrumptious lie:
“Why, we’re the cleaning service”, she replied.
The giant held her hands against her hips,
But said, “If you say so — but make it quick;
My husband never found you small folks sweet:
’Fraid that you’d steal his magic MP3.
But if you promise that you’ll work for free,
Why, his highness won’t need to hear a peep”.
To this part, Autumn nodded. “Let’s agree”.;
& the 2 started scrubbing cabinets clean.
Edgar had asked, “¿What are we doing now?”
Awaiting th’chance to nab some sparkling sows”.
But they were interrupted by a noise,
Echoing through the halls, a booming voice:
Dim, damn, dish, dumb;
I smell a woman & skeleton.
Be they ‘live or be they dead,
I’ll grind their bones to make organic bread.
“¡O no! ¡My husband comes this very way!
¡Quick! Get you in this oven; you’ll be safe”.
Autumn would cringe @ such suspicious risks;
But saw no time for no alternatives.
So they did do just as the wife implored,
Just ’fore the husband burst in through the door.
Inside, he turned his head all round the kitchen,
& asked, “Dear, ¿did I not smell smalls within?”
“That’s just the TV dinner cooking, hon”.
“O”, he replied, him frowning ever glum.
Our heroes sweat in air so choking hot,
Learning the wife had left the oven on.
So out that dungeon door they did erupt,
Panting & wheezing on the linoleum.
“¡Aha! ¡I see them right before my eyes!
My dear, ¡what such a wonderful surprise!”
“Whatever”, said his wife with a short shrug;
But Edgar shook, for he knew they were in quite a pickle.
8, 265, pi, 1;
I see a woman & skeleton.
¿Will ye live, or will ye die?
I’ll grind your bones to bake a perfect pie.
“Hey, ¿where’d they go to?” asked the giant husband.
“They ’scaped while made you your vain declaration”.
Our heroes scrambled hall to hall, though not
Preventing Autumn’s deep intrigue to stop
Their feet @ each few feet to see
The inside in all its entirety;
She still remembered the whet words the wife
Leaked of the magic musical devices,
& hoped to pack such fatty snacks ’way
In hopes this stupid scheme not be in vain.
Since they could only guess the way throughout,
Anyway, traced they in a confused route
For fruit of losing their most ardent hunter.
Yet still, this plan came not without a shudder,
Because the gain from losing their huge fox
Was balanced by the loss of being lost.
The deeper that they plunged, the halls went dimmer,
Till light was nothing but a distant glimmer;
In sync, the giant’s footsteps faded ’way
From earthquakes now to distant tepid shakes.
They felt their way throughout the crowding gloom
Toward the shine they spied across the room;
& there they saw when ’twas within their reach,
in open chest, the mentioned MP3.
Its silver screen was soft & hard as diamond,
Its light on eyes smooth sugar on a spry tongue.
But they were knocked out from their revelry
When from the MP3 escaped sharp shrieks
so aberrant & with a pitch so fierce
they knew it’d soon ensnare the giant’s ears;
& sure enough, they heard his thumps increase,
& knew he’d be around in a spring’s breeze.
She stuffed the MP3 into her pockets,
Hoping to muffle its sirens just a sprocket;
Autumn then stopped to search in each direction
To find a proper place to make defection;
Autumn said, “¡Quick! Let’s find a place to hide”,
Then noted speaking loudly was not bright.
They hid behind ubiquitous wood crates,
Lying in wait.
“¡Master, they’re here!” the MP3 had screamed,
“Rinse, lather, repeat; rinse, lather, repeat;
’Neath I hear some thieves revealed to me.
¿Have they the gall to rob a giant’s mits?
Their end’ll be hanging @ the Baguette Bridge”.
Its timber shooting through the room like beams.
Our heroes watched as a light beamed ’cross the wall.
“¿Where did they take you to?” the giant called.
They felt the flooring fall beneath their feet;
’Twas when theirs & the giant’s faces’d meet.
But Autumn didn’t wait to see what would
Happen; she kicked them free with 1 swift foot
Against his thumb. The giant never guessed
’Twould happen, used to scrimmaging pests
More easy-beaten. Autumn eagled Edgar
Out of the hall as fast as Dodo feathers.
Not a tick died before they found escape:
Leapt out the 1st window to which they came,
They hopped through holes between green teeth & thorns
While their pursuers honked their siren horns,
& pushed through bushes, cauliflower, & vines.
Despite these pikes so always ’hind their throats,
Autumn still stopped when she witnessed an oak
With its colossal branches grasping stars
& shadows spread by leaves across the yard.
But what had flooded Autumn’s blood with lead
Were golden apples bigger than her head.
“But Autumn… Not ’nough time…”
“We’ll make ’nough time”.
& thus begun her ardent arbor climb;
But matterless how many branches passed,
The apples always steadfast’d out of grasp.
’Twas when an eagle landed on her branch.
“You crave the golden apples, ¿yes?” it asked.
“¿& what makes you so curious to learn?”
“Let me make you a deal you might find worth.
Halve me your profits & I’ll grant you help”.
“If so, ¿why can’t you just do it yourself?”
The eagle paused…
“Look, ¿do you want to get that fruit or not?”
So Autumn grabbed the eagle’s legs, & it
Lifted her higher through the foliage.
Until she reached an orchid bucketful
& filled her arms as much as they could hold.
Then she slid down the trunk just like a playground —
Though that perhaps may sound far-fetched, don’t beg how.
The eagle swooped down to request its cut;
But Autumn told it it could go get its own apples.
This only served to make the eagle steam,
So it picked Autumn up into the breeze.
No struggling acquiesced Autumn’s escape,
& both dissolved behind the miry haze.
Edgar ran aimlessly in search for Autumn
When he discovered a long trail of hot crums.
Hoping it’d lead him to his lost accomplice,
He followed them directly to a coppice.
Black copse crowds blocked the light o’the moon & stars,
Burning his food to dust & shriveled chars,
Leaving him shiv’ring in the cold & dark,
Hearing just owls hoot & squirrels scrabbling bark.
The dark was broken by a single other:
A rose tree glowing with so many colors.
He asked, “Please, magic roses, tell me this:
O, ¿have you seen where my friend Autumn went?”
“We have been in the ground where all th’dead lie,
So, no, we have not, stupid —
“We’re not ’live”.
Edgar profusely had apologized
& then proceeded through the forest, blind.
But not for long, for there he glimpsed
A house made out of aliments.
Its walls were built of fibrous celery,
The doors of ses’me seed & crispy wheat,
Windows composed of lemon-lime bright ice,
& a roof thatched with fine-grained spiced brown rice.
There Edgar halted, shook, & stared, resistant.
¿Do I dare knock & ask for some assistance?
So Edgar stepped up to the door & knocked.
“¡Go ’way! ¡Go ’way! ¡I say you’ll ne’er come in!
¡Not by the skin on my lippy-lip-lip!”
“But I don’t mean to eat your home, Madame;
I only need to get out of this bosk”.
The front door opened just a shady tear,
& through that shade an eye peeked out & stared.
“Hey, wait a minute, you’re no vile raccoon;
You’re just a kid in a bony-reaper suit.
I didn’t know ’twas already Muertoween;
Here, let me go & fetch you a li’l treat”.
“No, that’s OK…” was all could Edgar say
Before the woman turned & went away.
Then she returned & handed him a sack
Chock full of Skittles, Smarties, & fruit snacks.
“They all are meat- & dairy-free”, said she.
“Thank you, but today’s not Muertoween.
I was just wond’ring if you’d help me leave;
I need to find a friend seized recently”.
“¿Was your friend taken by the vile raccoon —
The same who ate my pigs in just 1 swoop?
So now I only have my Snowball left,
Whom I’ll protect till my last very breath”.
But Edgar shook his head. “No, ’twas a bird”.
They halted when they heard some shrubb’ry stir.
“Why, ¡that’s the vile raccoon! ¡Quick, get inside!”
He did, then heard a lock click from behind.
Soon after they had heard a pounding knock.
“¡Tick, tock! ¡Tick, tock! ¡I want to have that hog!”
“¡Get lost! ¡Get lost! ¡I say you’ll ne’er come in!
¡Not by the bruise on my shinny-shin-shin!
But I have vegan candy if you’d like:
It’s so delicious & will fill you right”.
“Please save me all your hippie tripe;
I’ll get that meat if’t must be swiped.
Now, I shall give you till the count of 6
Before I break through with my trusty pick”.
Neither knew what they possibly could do.
“Let’s ask that cat that lives in that 1 shoe”.
Then Edgar asked, “¿& where is she located?”
“On Peanut Plain by Butterscotch-Bread Bay, kid”.
“¿But how without letting th’raccoon in?
O, what a conundrum he’s locked us in”.
The vegan’s eyes had twitched with such ballistics.
“¡You can’t rhyme in’n itself, you heretic!”
They both were interrupted by a quake;
Edgar knew now he had to leave this place.
The Ant & the Spider
An ant poked its head out its hole in preparation to sneak some fallen peas when it saw a spider with its head down, sadness in its many eyes.
So the ant took 1 o’ its peas, set it before the spider, & told it ’twas a gift.
Then the spider jumped up & devoured the ant.
Don’t e’er be nice to anyone e’er.
Autumn crashed down upon a mountain plain,
Dropped when she tickled that damn eagle’s leg.
From there she wandered ’bout in search for Edgar;
& then she found a giant shoe of leather
Covered in windows, doors, & bent drain pipes.
In front a black cat sat, as mute as mice,
Staring down @ the sketch book in her lap,
Drawing toon boys in spiky hair & capts.
She jerked ’pon seeing Autumn block her light
& stared up blankly, eyes like yellow night.
Autumn said, “I don’t mean to bother, but
¿By chance have you come ’cross a skeleton?”
The cat shook head & said, “No, sorry. But
I did see’a troll with 14 sapphire ducks.
He claimed he found 1 in an endless pit;
But when I jumped down in’t, I couldn’t find it.
Your friend might be somewhere in th’woods o’er there —
Just watch for th’witch who lives in th’owl-legged lair”.
Felix was pointing a finger westward,
& Autumn followed without ’nother word.
There Autumn found a trail that slithered up
An olive-colored summit packed with mumps,
Dark ’neath the shade of leaves that loomed above,
& was so thick she could get lost for months.
She startled when she heard a hoarse voice drone,
“¡Madame! ¡It’s dangerous to go alone!
There’re boars & dancing mushroom people &
Frogs that will make your pa wed you to them.
¡Take this!” he said while handing her a sack.
“These crumbs will circumvent these beasts’ attacks”.
She shrugged. By then the man had disappeared;
So she continued through the forest o’ fear.
’Twas when she heard a pile of bushes rustle
& saw a boar ram @ her in a bustle;
So Autumn tossed a hand of crumbs ’tween them.
It said, “¡O Jesus! ¡Crumbs! Why, ¡that’s the best!”
He stopped & slurped them slowly like a bird
& simply let her pass without a word.
Despite this, she still walked a tranquil sway,
Oft kicking pebbles getting in her —
She clambered backward with wide surprise:
In flashed a scarlet ghost before her sight.
“I saw you kill my bloody son, you git;
¿why don’t I just Firaga your ass quick?”
“I think you have the wrong guy”, she implored;
“I’ve never killed, nor known you ghosts before”.
“Did, too. I saw you, too, with my own eyes —
Crushed him with that li’l stone you kicked. Don’t lie”.
“None could be bigger than a bee”, said she.
To which the monster said, “Right: nor was he”.
Well, she had no excuse against this charge,
But still she wished to shake off being charred;
So she appealed to th’monster’s duty sense:
“But you can’t kill me ’fore I pay my debts;
Plus I have yet to win my 1st degree
& neglected to turn off my TV”.
The monster fingered his transparent beard.
“Well, promises are something I revere.
So if, when done, you promise to return,
I’ll free you now & later make you burn”.
“’K”. Autumn nodded, & then rushed ahead,
’fraid that the ghost would learn he’d been misled,
Till later, when she found a little lake.
Thirsty, she bent down on the edge & drank.
“Whoever drinks from me will become rich”,
To which said Autumn, “I already did”.
Well, didn’t I sure pull the dirt ’neath you”.
By then already Autumn had vamoosed.
Sighing, the lake said, “None are e’er impressed”.
& then it cried itself to silent death.
Anyway, let’s return to Edgar a’last,
Hiding among a colony of cats,
Cleaning their kitchen,
Baking peanut-butter jellies,
& most important: scratching ’neath their bellies.
But buried in his ribs, his heart strings shivered,
Waiting to feel ’gain those familiar quivers
Warning him when the giant’s come again
To crumble Edgar into buttered bread.
& still he didn’t know Autumn’s new location,
Though images were fest’ring his imagination:
The eagle shredding Autumn into sinews,
Making her dance herself to death in red shoes,
Feeding her veggies till she colored gray,
Making her read all Wheel of Time in’a day.
His soggy frowning Papa Gato noticed:
“Why, Edgar, ¿what makes you as mum as locusts?”
Edgar besquirmed. “I didn’t mean to be rude,
When you’ve so nicely let me ’neath your roof
I just don’t know still where my friend’s been carried —
Also, a giant wants to bash my berries”.
So Papa Gato scratched his whiskered chin.
“Hmm… Well, that does sound like a jar you’re in.
Then he was crushed by a huge foot.
Ding, dang, bling, blong
¿What the fuck is going on?
¿Be you ’live or be you decayed?
O, you’re dead. OK.
Focusing only on the kitten’s corpse,
He didn’t see Edgar run the fuck outta Ford,
Only to find himself now in Toyota,
A valley chilly as a bubbling soda,
Smothered in shadows by branches & leaves,
Where ground was cracked full of purple streams.
I need a place to hide, he told himself;
But saw he nothing that could help to help:
Fir bark was much too itchy to the touch;
The caves were dirtied, floors all strewn with crumbs;
The cardboard box was just a trite allusion;
The stump thought climate change had been refuted…
Till finally, he found a bright mauve bush
In which the giant’d never think to look.
The Horses & the Cats
The horses toiled under the whips o’ the pudgy cat masters in black suits in steamy factories, chopping off hooves, falling into a glue vat, or being forced to watch boring political rallies for the cat’s favorite candidate while the cats hypocritically punished the horses for being “too political” on Decantr.
Then ’nother horse rallied them together into a political party & with their superior manpower they took the election from the pudgy cats & banned their faces, turning the city into a worker’s commune where everyone was equal, nobody died, & nobody e’er called my stories boring ’cause they speak out ’bout such brave topics, unlike Ruphort’s work, which is nothing but people breaking their nuts on rails — the joke’s lost its steam, Ruphort.
¡The worker’s commune will triumph over capitalism, I tell you! ¡Just you wait!
After escaping th’forest maze @ last,
— O yeah, ¿did I neglect to mention that? —
Scaring ’way hares by blowing on her hand,
Dodging the rocks spit by land octopuses,
& trading acords with some hamster’n bushes,
Suddenly, she had heard her name called—
& witnessed Edgar burrow out a mauve shrub.
“Aha: I’ve wondered where you’ve been”, she said.
”Come, let us go to that big house ahead”.
So they both climbed the hill outside the wood,
Where stood a grimstone keep on 1 owl’s foot.
They stopped before a window, peeked inside,
& noticed cobwebs, dust, & lack of light.
“If you want to enter, be my guest”.
They turned & witnessed on the steps
A robe-cloaked woman in a red bird mask.
“¿Octopuses got your tongue?” th’woman asked.
Autumn replied, “We shouldn’t get in your way…”
“Nonsense. You can help me, anyway”.
So Autumn turned to Edgar, & then nodded.
This’ll let me see where treasure’s to be gotten.
They followed her in through the pebbled door,
Espying trinkets decades old — & more:
A raccoon kettle, a box full of snuff,
& other indecipherable stuff.
“That recipe’s someplace in this place”,
Heloise had said with her head in a vase.
While Heloise had her back askew,
Autumn & Edgar snuck to ’nother room —
Only to feel the floor fall under them,
Dropping them in a dark & dreary pen.
“A diller, a dollar,
A midnight marauder;
¿What makes you come so late?
You used to come @ noon,
But now you come past 8”.
Pretend you did not hear her, Autumn thought.
“Hope I haven’t broke your voice box.
Thief of your fare should not be so shy.
Why, I have even better rhymes:
“Autumn the robber, the fat-pocketed lanker
Stole mo’ goods than a jet o’ bankers;
She took a coin, she took a nugget,
Took the whole bank & everything ’bove it;
She stole the show, she stole our thunder,
She stole the very meaning o’ the word plunder.
Gems & jewels,
Chests & stocks,
& the whole rainbow with the pot.
¡& yet she complains that her pack was too light!”
Autumn thought, Talk & she just might shut up,
& said, “¿So that is how you treat guests, huh?”
“Please, no need to undersell yourself;
I’m aware of all your plundered wealth:
My li’l crystal cube foretells all threats;
— Plus the weather’n whether Jane weds Jeff —
But I’ll grant you just 1 little chance:
Win my game show & I’ll let you go —
Just like that”.
& suddenly the dark was cut by bright
Lights of all neon hues, faster than light.
“1st contestant, here are 2 orange pumpkins:
1’s enlarged, the other, it is shrunken.
Pick the right 1 & I’ll set you free,
Else you’ll rot here for eternity”.
Autumn said, “I don’t know — the small, I s’pose”.
“Let us open it so we’ll all know”.
They bared its front as if it were a door
& found inside but just dried pumpkin gore.
“Aw, too bad. The key was in the other;
Over-thinking tore your chance asunder”.
& thus the neon lights shut off again.
“Sorry spoken, but this is your end.
Now, please ’scuse me, I have pie to cream, ¡hence! —
With sweet skeleton & thief ingredients”.
They heard egressing steps & jangling laughs,
Followed by a melodious, drifting cant:
“There was a crooked woman, & she went a meter;
She found a crooked witch.
She brought a crooked skeleton, to assist her crooked games;
& they all lived together in a li’l crooked cage”.
They tried to squeeze through th’space between the bars,
But they were far too thin;
They searched for secret exits in the bricks,
With no luck in their cards.
“¿Is it becoming colder?” Edgar said.
“Yes: she most likely wants us froze to death”.
Then a voice said, “Hey, ¿are you guys all right?”
& there before her eyes clicked on a light —
& there she witnessed a familiar face:
The cat who introduced her to this place.
“¿How’d you get in without you being seen?”
The kitten shrugged. “¿Why should one notice me?”
Autumn said, “Great, then can you help us leave”.
Felix dug through the pockets of her jeans.
“I’m probably too dumb to know how, though;
But I do have this towel & this comb”.
“Try searching th’giant pumpkin right ’hind you”.
Autumn heard stumbling. Felix shouted, “¡Ooo!
“There was, indeed, a key right where you claimed —
Gee, I sure wish I had your brilliant brain”.
“That’s fine”, said Autumn, “just unlock this pen”.
She heard a scrape & felt fresh air come in.
The Anteater &
The anteater sighed as it wandered through the savanna, turning its head left & right for signs o’ others.
He jumped & turned round when he thought he heard a noise.
All he saw was a fire that had started from the dry heat.
He turned back forward & continued his slow trod with heavy sighs.
When it looks like you might find a companion who loves you… ¡Nope! ¡That’s just the Programmers fucking with your head!
“We must be silent as we climb these steps;
We’re fucked forever if we’re caught again”.
But th’steps didn’t only creak, they hiccuped, too,
Making them cringe @ every step ensued.
Felix said, “Sorry that my feet’re so loud;
I can just stay so they won’t rat you out…”
Autumn replied, “Not talking would suffice”.
So Felix zipped her mouth & nodded a’ight.
Then they emerged in ’nother cluttered chamber.
Autumn said, “’K, ¿where’d she hide the treasure?”
Felix just looked down @ her feet in shame
& said, “I’m just too dumb to know, I’m ’fraid”.
Autumn was too distracted by the clatter
& looked out th’door to see what was the matter.
Grasping the over was a ludicrous show:
tanuki in a hat & ermine coat.
’Fore they could flee, it swung its head to them.
“O, don’t mind me: I’m only doing some baking.
It’s rice. I’m recently been having cravings”.
The plump tanuki rubbed around its belly;
Autumn watched it as shakily as jelly.
Finally, Autumn said, “Don’t mind me asking,
¿But d’you know where the treasure might be basking?”
Tanuki scratched its chiny-chin-chin.
“Hmm… Well, I s’pose I could…
for an incentive.
Autumn’s brows fell down to her lids. “¿Well, what?”
Tanuki stared @ her, so blankly dumb.
It scratched its head. “Hmm… Let’s see… I dunno.
Well, I could always use sauce Robert, I s’pose”.
“¿& where am I s’posed to find that?” she asked.
“If I knew it’d be as yet in my hands”.
So Autumn led them out the front door.
“We’ll likely have to go to some dumb store”.
But then they saw the house boxed by a gate.
“’Course they put that without a try to ’splain…
Perhaps we could try climbing over it”.
A voice then said, “This I shall not permit.
But give me oil & I’ll let you pass;
Else I shall use my spikes to keep you back”.
Autumn turned. “Edgar, ¿could you hoist me up?”
“’K”. & with that she easily reached th’top rung.
But as she tried to climb, the spikes, they enlarged
& knocked her back onto the dirty yard.
“¿What’d I just say? No oil, you can’t come through.
¿Would you stop wasting my time? I’ve things to do”.
“& where would oil be found here?” muttered Autumn.
Edgar replied, “¿You think in th’dirt @ th’bottom?”
Autumn was ’bout to dig up verbal dirt,
Only to realize ’twas contrived ’nough t’work.
They searched inside for something they could use
& found a shover under some refuse.
Then the 3 dug the next half-hour outside,
& yet no oil had ever entered sight.
Edgar said, “¿Should we dig inside instead?”
“No worse than any other thread we’ve tread…”
So the 3 pulled this board, & then that board,
Finding a bottle on the 24th.
“Here’s your oil”, she grunted to the gate.
“Hey, this is great. Allow me t’open ’way”.
However when they tried to pass this time,
They were all scratched by branches on a pine.
“If we try going through our health’ll run out”,
Said Autumn. “Augh. ¿& what d’we have t’do now?”
“Madame, if you give me a sexy tie,
You might find my demeanor much more nice”.
“¡O come on!” Autumn shouted. “¡Not another!”
“Yes, if you still desire to pass by, youngster”.
“( Sigh. ) All this shit just to get out alive;
You'd think we're getting in the Cinnamines”.
So they all turned back to the manor more
To search again through all Heloise’s hoard.
When none was found, they checked the kitchen ’gain
To ask all ’bout it from their furry friend.
“¿You know if there’s a tie ’mong all this street junk?”
“I’ll tell you for a magic ocarina”.
“¿What? But I need it t’get your stupid sauce”.
“Each favor has its independent cost”.
“¿Can you direct me to the treasure, then,
In payment for the ocarina, ’stead?”
“No. Every product gets its different price:
Sauce for the treasure; ocarina, tie”.
The person eating rice out o’ a slipper
Turned to them, causing Edgar to get shivers.
“¿Should not you 2 be in jail?” asked Heloise,
Only to see the 3 begin to flee.
“They always make my problems much mo’ great”.
She raised a cleaver & began their chase.
She chased them through the anteroom,
She chased them through the kitchen,
She chased them to & from the moon,
Just so she could get them.
Until she cornered them into the bathroom,
“Mmm…”ing & “Ahhh”ing them all to their last doom.
But she couldn’t find them anywhere in view,
Every endeavor having been eschewed.
She looked ’hind curtains, under toilet seats,
E’en in the hole in th’middle of the sink,
& only halting her search ’pon her hearing
A voice: “We must speak a moment, dearie”.
She saw her own reflection in the mirror
Point @ herself & say, “Here, turn”.
“¿Why, me, do you waste all my attention?”
“This is what we call an intervention”.
Heloise stared blankly as if in a dream.
“We must speak o’this eating-people thing”.
“¿What could you be capable of teaching me?”
“I could teach you not to do it, please”.
Now Heloise was frowning awkwardly.
“Just that it’s not very friendly, ¿see?”
“I suppose your message resonates:
So I’ll go full lukewarm finch today”.
She heard a squeaking pipe & turned her head
To see the robbers back away with dread.
Heloise said, ”You 2 need not fear O-so;
I’m not th’selfsame witch I was ago —
Fact, to sorry for the way I’ve been,
I now shall show you where my treasure lives”.
Nevertheless, they stayed against the back.
“¿What, you can’t trust me?”
She raised her knife-held hand.
They all heard rapping @ her chamber door.
She slapped her forehead hard till it was sore.
“In distraction I forgot ’bout him;
He’ll surely not be pleased, no, not 1 bit”.
She opened her front door & there she gazed
A huge face covering the entranceway.
She bent her head to th’floor, releasing sighs.
“Sir, please forgive, but I forgot your pie”.
“¿You what? But… but we both had a deal”.
“Yes, I swear it’s done tomorrow, f’real”.
The giant winced. “No. There won’t be tomorrow”.
Heloise began to slowly back away.
“O, you always act with too much haste”.
Then she heard clambering & turned her head
T’see sneaking Autumn & her bony friend.
“There you are. Now, ¿why d’you run in fear?
As I swore, the treasure’s riiiiight here”.
From a small desk Heloise picked up a box
That spewed gray smoke that covered every spot.
The Starving Man & the Dog
The starving man sat on the curb unable to look up from the spot o’ the street just below his feet, waiting for the Engine to finally throw ’way his worthless, memory-wasting code.
Just then he saw a pound o’ ham rolling down the street & jumped to his feet. He figured this must’ve been the Programmers hearing his prayers.
He ran toward it, only to slow & frown when he saw a much-faster dog run up to it & devour it.
He starved to death later that night.
Life’s a bitch, & then you die.
All 5 sat on the roof under the starry sky,
Heads full o’ philosophy.
“What d’you think, Sir Snuff Box”, Heloise said.
“You think she should date him, ¿yes?”
Everyone giggled while Felix shook her head shyly.
“No me mete en este, por favor”, said the snuff box.
The moon shook his head, too.
“Man, I can’t even do anything;
& you don’t want to be with a guy who you have to use a spaceship to visit.
Try the wind ’stead.
I hear he’s quite dashing”.
The moon winked.
“No, no, no”, the wind said.
“You can’t even see me.
That means I can’t be dashing @ all.
You should try the wall, ’stead.
A good, steady soul”.
Everyone looked @ the wall,
’Cept Felix, who was still blushing.
The wall didn’t say a word.
1 day in the city there were 3 children named Ralph, Roger, & Jack playing pretend. They drew straws, & Ralph agreed to be the pig, Roger agreed to be the butcher, & Jack agreed to be the curator. So Roger tossed Ralph to the ground & chopped his neck open while Jack collected the blood in a li’l bowl. A police officer walking by saw this abomination & immediately took the butcher down to the city council for the mayor & parliament to decide how to punish the kid. “Here’s what we’ll do”, said the mayor, puffing on his cigar: “We’ll hold a gold coin & a shiny apple up in front o’ him. If he picks the coin, he gets death; otherwise, let him free”. Parliament voted, & the majority said yea. So they held a coin & apple in front o’ the kid & he picked the apple with a laugh, so they let him go. ’Nother afternoon 2 kids saw their father slaughter a pig & decided to play butcher themselves. 1 agreed to be the butcher & the other the pig, & then the 1st kid ran out to grab a clean knife from the kitchen & slit the other kid’s throat. The mother, who was bathing her daughter in the bathtub, ran out in her robe & slippers when she heard the latter kid’s blood-curtling screams. She became so enraged @ the sight o’ her son’s blood-soaked corpse that she grabbed the knife out o’ the other kid’s hand & stabbed him dead in the heart. Also, her daughter drowned in the bath tub. & then their father died from unhappiness.
1 day in the city there were 3 children named Ralph, Roger, & Jack playing pretend. They drew straws, & Ralph agreed to be the pig, Roger agreed to be the butcher, & Jack agreed to be the curator. So Roger tossed Ralph to the ground & chopped his neck open while Jack collected the blood in a li’l bowl.
A police officer walking by saw this abomination & immediately took the butcher down to the city council for the mayor & parliament to decide how to punish the kid.
“Here’s what we’ll do”, said the mayor, puffing on his cigar: “We’ll hold a gold coin & a shiny apple up in front o’ him. If he picks the coin, he gets death; otherwise, let him free”. Parliament voted, & the majority said yea.
So they held a coin & apple in front o’ the kid & he picked the apple with a laugh, so they let him go.
’Nother afternoon 2 kids saw their father slaughter a pig & decided to play butcher themselves. 1 agreed to be the butcher & the other the pig, & then the 1st kid ran out to grab a clean knife from the kitchen & slit the other kid’s throat.
The mother, who was bathing her daughter in the bathtub, ran out in her robe & slippers when she heard the latter kid’s blood-curtling screams. She became so enraged @ the sight o’ her son’s blood-soaked corpse that she grabbed the knife out o’ the other kid’s hand & stabbed him dead in the heart. Also, her daughter drowned in the bath tub.
& then their father died from unhappiness.