Parochial Horse Shit

OK, so I’ve been watching a lot of slam poetry on YouTube and have come to the conclusion that a lot of the courageous sons of bitches that do it have an amazing amount of talent — more than I could ever ask for. Take for instance George Watsky, a man I’ve come to admire for being some sort of David Copperfield of words. (If you like this, then you’ll love his rapping abilities. Seriously, check him out.)

Anywho, after viewing Watsky, Bo Burnham, and several other lesser-known-yet-just-as-capable individuals, I decided to try my hand at something similar to slam poetry. I emphasize the word ‘similar’ only because 1) I’m not that good at spoken word anything in front of a crowd of people and 2) since you’re only going to read it for now, it’s honestly up to you to add your own voice to my words. Think of my little “poem” here as a slice of free verse. I threw in breaks where I felt they were most natural, so it honestly has no set rhyme pattern — though there are internal and end rhymes aplenty — or Shakespearean meter, but dammit it flows nicely. Without further ado, here it goes:

When you were a kid, you went to the parade, smiling

It wasn’t a charade, you were genuinely excited

To smell horse shit and see Miss Small Town in her thrift store ball gown

She wore it, smiled, and waved a white glove — the Queen —

As buckets of sweat poured and gleamed from every pore


“Look son,” your Mom says as she puts her hand on your head,

“Look at the big red fire truck!”

You look and think, “Hmm, fuck, she was right…”

But you see no fire, no fire in sight

You’re totally lost, until you see the Chief toss a handful of

Candy from the side of this massive machine

It’s like early Halloween, except mom doesn’t need

To check the pot for razor blades or syringe holes

The only thing holding you in worry is the slight chance

Of choking if you eat in a hurry or maybe

Your vision going blurry if a rogue Tootsie Roll

Locks on to your cornea and transforms you

Into a nine-year old Stevie Wonder,

Without the dreadlocks or piano chops, just you, completely under

A blanket of blindness, like a midnight Linus

Nevermind this; the truck is gone and your patience is done

All the candy has been tossed and all that remains

Is a Cadillac of veterans with oxygen tanks and wooden canes

“Mom, this is boring; those guys are old; I’m tired; let’s go home.”

“Leave me be, son, leave me alone. I want to thank these men for their service.”

What nerve! It’s those guys that get thanked and you have to wait

To ingest your taffy and toffee? You’re scoffing: “Uuuuugh, that’s lame.”

Fast forward to today and the parade holds less appeal

Life is real: Miss Small Town still lives in the same house

With the same neighbors and still has the ball gown

She clings to the past, her peak, even though her job

At the grocery store got cut last week and

The gas station took down its sign: Looking to Hire

The fire truck is still technically “in use,”

Though its parade days have been put on hold

Fires are as frequent as a case of polio

Building codes just aren’t as fucked as they used to be,

So the truck sits in the garage down on Maple Street

Twenty-one years old and you still often stroll by

In hopes that more bubblegum will be hurled at your eye

Disappointment sets in until you remember you have a job

And you can buy your own goddamn candy

It’s not necessarily a job you’re proud of,

But that’s what you get when you drop out of community college

You had dreams, but eccentricities and major differences

Are shunned by the townspeople that love

“Rolling coal” and automatic guns

They tell you that you must know

How an engine runs or how to make a time clock go,

But it’s all meh as long as you can buy your own butterscotch, right?

What a pathetic, dim bright side when you waste away your time

Don’t forget the vets like it seems everyone else has

Not long after the parade in ’01 some kids lost their grand dads

That Cadillac’s been scrapped; a new pick-up’s taken its place

Fresh faces on leave will soon ride in the bed on a hot summer day,

While your kid tugs at your shirt asking if you HAVE to stay

You tell her, “No, we can go. This part’s kind of boring.

Besides, daddy’s gotta work in the morning.”

This is as good as it gets: Believe it.

Welcome to Eden.




Thank you.



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