Ode to the Club Cracker
18 holes in 3 X 6 rows,
soft serrated edges,
blond burst of butter
The grownups got their salads
while I waited impatiently
for my burger and fries.
Mom passed Club Crackers to me
and I tore open that two pack
from its green and red wrapping,
not quite Christmas,
but a happening,
breaking those delicate delicacies,
placing pieces on my tongue
to hold and dissolve,
not quite sacred
but an event,
There was a country club
north of Sabetha
where they likely served these daily,
but our country club of Mom, Dad, me
pretty much stayed on the farm
the better in retrospect to fancy
each Club Cracker occasion,
dress it up in nostalgia,
go to town with it.
I am trapped inside a lovely suburban home.
No, my life is not so grand as a Kafkaesque nightmare,
rather the north side of the garage door is stuck
at a height of approximately four feet while the south side
has come to rest about half that distance from the ground.
My dad had an automatic opener
for the garage of our 100-year-old farmhouse
in that he didn’t have to utter a word
to prompt me to hop out of the Chrysler’s back seat,
turn the handle and lift the wooden door.
Have I resided in a subdivision so long
this once ingrained action is forgot, all she rote?
My first thought is not to trip the manual release cord.
Instead, like a psychotic expecting the same action
to produce different results,
I press the glowing button a second time
mangling the track and freezing the door at an aberrant angle.
On the new Main Street, USA,
no neighbors make their way over to gawk or commiserate,
but the tradeoff is at my fingertips,
where I reach a kind soul who visits at 6 a.m.
for an emergency fee of just $300.
The dumb will inherit the earth,
my Aunt Priscilla would say,
and maybe I have,
or at least privileged my way to a lot
more than I deserve,
this plot many in this world would die for,
that my people have undeniably killed for.
I pay the man his price,
the price of rugged individualism,
our bargain until our offspring underpay
some barely essential workers to let us pass out of sight,
out of mind.
Still, Jesus died to pay for our sins,
so I whisper a sincere transaction
that those who have not my capital
be better with their hands or community than I.
I calculate what my wife and I make in a day
(make being the cash crop of create),
back out, press the button, drive to work.
Oh, you holy beings behind drawn doors,
what kingdom do I inherit
if I learn to love you,
which I do slightly better than yesterday,
if only because my discomfort is raw enough
to pay attention.
I wish for us all, if not some sort of bounty,
that at least for one more day,
we break even.
This Poem Has an Ending.
This poem will end.
There will be no sequel,
no prequel, no spin-off,
no origin story, no franchise reboot.
There is no it-was-all-just-a-dream sequence,
no main character back from the dead.
There is no episode two, season two, …
This poem is not remotely binge-worthy.
This poem is not streaming.
(It barely flows.)
Subscription to its channel is not required.
There is no algorithm embedded,
directing you to other verse you might enjoy.
Adults nostalgic for their childhood
will not co-opt this poem
for any type of remake.
This poem is not part of the 24-hour news cycle.
There is no virtual content.
Heck, there’s hardly any actual content.
This poem will not show up on your feed,
claims no social media influence,
will never go viral.
Don’t worry about this poem resurfacing
on your timeline:
It will not be liked years from now.
It is a pleasure to know no one is trolling these stanzas.
Your comments on merits or their lack
are not solicited.
No point in sifting through background information
for clues about the author’s motivation, sexuality,
previous accolades or indiscretions.
Suffice to know that he, too, will end
or has ended.
This poem has an ending
and isn’t that, conclusively,
the most satisfying thing
The Language of Men
from the service department boys
at the John Deere dealership
and the response,
It takes a big bull to weigh a ton!
always elicited a chuckle
before Dad commenced describing
the 4020’s latest ailments.
a guy in green strode confidently
into the back stacks
shelved with genres unfamiliar to me,
seal retainers and worm drive
hose clamps more fictional
than the tactile world-building
for which they were designed.
Dad was fluent in the dialect
of cattle breeds and futures,
but he spoke a Pidgin Machinery
and never lost his brute force
by guess or by gosh accent.
Back in the province
of our native implement shed,
the factory-florescent parts
would transition via WD-40
and elbow grease
to more earthy instruments,
Dad likewise interpreting
for his bookish boy:
clutch pilot bearing
shaft link plates
but tone and body language proved
most essential to understanding:
a Johnny Cash-register Attaboy!
accompanying a callused hand
gentle on a shoulder,
a fleeting smile between laboring men
impossible to misconstrue,
never lost in translation.
Boyd Bauman grew up on a small ranch south of Bern, Kansas, his dad the storyteller and his mom the family scribe. He has published two books of poetry: Cleave and Scheherazade Plays the Chestnut Tree Café. After stints in New York, Colorado, Alaska, Japan, and Vietnam, Boyd now is a librarian and writer in Kansas City, inspired by his three lovely muses. Visit at boydbauman.weebly.com.