The world is going to end soon,
My brother informed me
At our family barbecue
In my parents’ front yard.
Chemtrails! Too many damn people.
They’re tryin’ to kill us! Chemtrails man…

I pretended to listen.

My tousled hair blew
In overzealous summer wind,
While 17 ladybugs that looked like
Speckled tomatoes
Rambled along my arm.

I was reminded of my 6th birthday party,
High fructose corn syrup children
Then crashing,
Aimlessly wandering my backyard
Looking for their mothers.

But today I ate too much carne asada.
My brother drank too much beer.
And a yellow Miata headed our way
Then made a u-turn
Noticing the sign—
Not a through street.

Friggin’ conspiracy man…

Not a through street
Not a complete thought
And they flew away,
A spotted, ruddy procession of gentility,
While the Chemtrails laughed overhead.

My brother says,
It’s the end...

Riding My Schwinn to Wienerschnitzel
During My Conference Period

I should be grading papers right now,
even though I already know the outcome:
a steady stream of scarlet scores, fragile,
low, like the concern from those
whose apathetic hands birthed them.

They don’t care; why should I?

I was craving chili-cheese fries,
a manufactured mountain of grease, gluttony,

Ask any poet their definition of escape:

      stepping outside oneself, AWOL,
      always coming back to the source
      of inspiration.

Ask any teacher their definition:

      running outside the campus,
      away from PTA, SATs, ADHD,
      never second-guessing or looking back.

Part of me wants to sit in the
cracked leather chair
the bankrupt district has furnished me,
scribble obscenities in the form of
letter grades,
an assembly line of procrastination
and consternation.

The other part wants to
sip soda on the fast food bench,
chili-fried legs dangling from my lips
like processed past participles,
contemplating the consequences
if my principals ever see this in print.

Daniel Romo teaches high school creative writing, and lives in Long Beach, CA. He has been recently published in Monkeybicycle, The Northville Review, and Verdad. He is an MFA candidate at Antioch University, and thinks gray sky the utmost inspiration. More of his writing can be found at Peyote Soliloquies

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