Girl with Flame

Photo by Connie Payne


Walter Cybulski


Crossed wires and mild case of heebie-jeebies,

but otherwise everything looks to be in working order.

The floor lamp and desk lamp keep on shining.

The dog that always barks keeps barking.

And the knuckle-sandwich roar of the jet plane

punches at the night sky to remind us of its power.


The bronze mouths of abandoned pennies

cry out from molten asphalt parking lots.

Dust collects in the parched throats of empty

potato chip bags gasping for air in the heat.

Military-industrial product labels appear

wherever two or more are gathered.


If Candy Jernigan were here, she would help us

make sense of all the evidence.  With nothing more

than some colorful debris, a used syringe and a can of beans,

she could map out the cheesy surface of this, our present

hotsy-totsy turmoil, that stinks, of late, of rancid language,

overpowering deodorant and an obscenity of money.

Using only a bag of shrapnel, a dead bird and burnt matchsticks,

Candy could haruspicate a psychedelic whopper, in which

she exposes the tawdry behaviors of this, our present miasma —

our disenchanted, conflicted, so-called society teeming with sharps,

common corporate thieves, and heartless, boring busybodies

hellbent on dishing out prefabricated summary judgments

of lives about which they know absolutely nothing.


If the beautiful, brilliant people we once encountered

in the pages of our books, in the grooves of our records

were to stop by for coffee, we would be at a loss for words

to describe how far below the old benchmarks we have fallen,

how much has been forsaken, lost, broken.  We could establish

a new world record for shoring pigments against ruin,

though it might take a school bus of Candy Jernigans,

working overtime, without compensation,

to gumshoe the filthy streets and collect all the pieces.

One thought on “Candy

  1. “we would be at a loss for words to describe how far below the old benchmarks we have fallen,
    how much has been forsaken, lost, broken.”

    I often feel this, and think “what happened? How did we allow the current state of the world to happen?

    Did we not try hard enough? Or were we just outgunned by billionaires with their editorial policies in all the media they own, all the disinformation spread by their corporate-funded “think” tanks, and now the internet troll factories they and the Russians support? Or both?


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