Opinions from the Jukebox by David Plumb

Opinions from the Jukebox

David Plumb

Mar 16, 2014

A $100 permit and microchip implant for iguana identification? Too many iguanas? Watch out. Iguanas growing to be six feet long? May live twenty years? Terrorist iguanas?

Never mind iguanas. Just take off your shoes and don’t bring too much shampoo or shaving lotion to the airport. Is your pen poison? Are you a little weird in the lips, oddly dressed, say a suit and tie? Well, stand by. No microchips yet, but we hired a few thousand donkeys at the airports to search our “iguana” for weapons of mass eruption, fondling our parts and bags, dipping into the nothing they so dearly love. Heaven help your orange for lunch. Have a pretzel, a plastic glass of Coke. No iguanas on the plane. We double-fine iguanas, and no gum.

A seemingly innocent man in blue suit, black shoes, and unmatched white socks attempted to leave his spearmint gum on the wall just outside the security gate at the Albuquerque Airport. Cameras caught his disguised calmness and his thumb pressing the gum into white paint. He was taken into custody and sent to Guantanamo.

Another passenger, Mrs. Emilia Gorman, switched flights after her flight was canceled in Detroit. She was taken into custody because the print sheet of her boarding pass had two flight numbers. A housewife from Grafton, New York, was ordered held without bail for transporting an illegal substance but released after authorities revealed the container held her husband’s ashes, which she intended to toss, as per her husband’s instructions, to the sea lions in Northern California.

Hints of retraining security at airports are in the wind. A more hyperactive machine is in the offing. The new device is said to detect penis movement and other unmentionable activities that flag irregular and dangerous behavior.

Cockroach detection is an issue. Instant microchipping for large palmetto bugs with detonation devices applied up to fifteen miles are a serious threat. A Washington news correspondent was quickly censored for suggesting cockroaches are bank products and that some eat parts of Iraq and New Orleans. He asserted that some cockroaches are asked to run for office.

Microchipping cockroaches will come before the Senate for a vote in the near future. Iguana Rights Activists have requested a hearing at the Washington Monument.

Mar 19, 2014

A single great white heron passed under the last half of the moon just before dawn. Another morning in Paradise and the courage to drive on, or at least to the pump. But wait.

Pressing issues overslept between all-night movies and Paid for Programs, secretly wrapped in drive-through Mc Muffins and see-through napkins. If only we could get it, whatever the hell it is, to own, steal, lend, bend the market, slip a fid, cash in, move to Dubai, Maine, or whatever. One man’s floozy is another’s gift certificate.

America watches the screen for the prize night after night; boinked, mesmerized, the hooting pundits shine themselves, berating, amending, frivolous laughter, a chewing unending sound byte staring down their own cameras. The screw that might turn the tide, the real meaning of ID, and the subservience of intellect, the jokester, the fool, tucked carefully between a Mercedes, cologne, the drama of drugs to keep it up, cool it down, pad the calamity, thin the mind and belly for the price of a gallon. Intramuscular please, a song to remember, the election up for grabs depending upon whose hand slips up America’s skirt at the moment.

“Good fences mean good neighbors.” Who said that? That integrity basked in towers and long reflecting pools between Lincoln and Washington. If we just stood on that faithful hill, that braved spaciousness we own, or at least claim, but alas the Island in Maine has loosed the bad meat in Texas, the crippled, the superlative, the world-grabbing hustlers who sell guns, say no, who play the “Star Spangled Banner” on their heart pumps and wave judiciously.

TVs blink somewhere between aghast, awe, and chest thumping; the children awash in flash, ready or not, all in line for the next rocket, the bombed-out skulls that cooked them. Tampons rule, a little Viagra in the medicine chest, the polar bear leaps for a chunk of ice, college students stare down dim unemployment halls, geezers roll despairing eyes, and the gunning down of Kennedys, MLK, is but an echo in our hearts.

It rips on. Real-life drama flashes the screen. Who’s real? Who’s not? Step up to the mike. Let’s hear the cracked tenor kid, the soprano squirrel. Beat each other senseless with bamboo sticks on a strange rehearsed island. Click it. Text it, phone it, bleed on the floor, gamble the rest, fall in love with your own particular discontent. A cure.

Ask them. They talk about change. Watch the candidates march the stage from Oshkosh to Hawaii, the University of Ding Bunny to the Preschool of Lulu—They are freedom. You know. Like that. Wasn’t it the famous astronaut Edgar Mitchell who said that one of the first things you discover when you enter outer space is, “God is not up”?

Mar 20, 2014

Today the refrigerators hum. The price of milk matches the price at the pump. New ice cubes clunk in all the freezers. Yesterday a man got out of prison after serving three years for throwing his black worker in a lion cage to be eaten. A startling parody. A rise in measles, radiation for spinach keeps the E. coli at bay, no need to worry about poop in the fields or the kitchens. Bucks to be made, a little zipper for the tummy, a few Rads for the soul. Plastic ducks from China danced in the ponds from San Francisco to Bennington.

Sirens wail, the limos drive candidates to froth and crowd management, to the latest condo, the fervent backyard BBQs, the fallow rooms, deer heads nailed to old wood, their glass eyes witness from coonskin cap, to tipping one for Jesus. The band thumps in time to clanking tanks rolling the sands, the hills, along the rivers from Georgia, Palestine, Darfur, and Pakistan, the latter, a perpetual shrug, cash passed under the table, fists around the oil pipes from Venezuela to Afghanistan.

Who will be the Vice of Whom? The obvious napkin and fork, the plate on the table in the house of discontent. The cluttered week soon to scatter and subside, the claptrap—the unwizardry of zigzag politics fading in quiz shows, crime repeats and softporn until dawn. Then Saturday and the roads, the parking lots, the giant warehouses stuffed with must-have 10 pound packs of chicken wings, wide screen TVs, Martha Stewart bedding specials, millions of chemically ripened tomatoes, Georgia peaches from New Jersey, entire mountains of cell phone possibilities, eight pound Gorgonzolas, one a day Cialis for a daily crack at the prize, all on tap for a simple swipe of the card.

Whatever you want to be owned by. Slip on the Bible of your dreams, get real, the organ will play, and for a few short minutes, perhaps America can fake attentiveness between the wafer and the wine, the signs, the blessings, perhaps a sacred universe, a digression to quieter times, of ruthless crucifixions, promises of renewal, awakening, sitting in the pews, restless.

Today fades in newsworthy bombs, the theft of America’s wallet, change chanted again and again with the working, unemployed Americans, reaching for something, somewhere beyond the weekend off, or the howling, drooling, speculating, electrically magnified news, wheedling, and gnawing at the remotes, the hearts, the very strings of the sweet harp we thought we heard in the clouds.

© David Plumb


David Plumb has worked as a paramedic, cab driver, cook, tour guide, and adjunct professor. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Beatitudes 50 Years, Blue Collar Review, Sport Literate, Outlaw Poetry Network, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, and Voices from the Porch Anthology. The author of ten books, he volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project and is past director for a homeless shelter. Will Rogers said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Plumb says, “It depends on the parrot.”