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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Poem: 636 words
By Gary Glauber

Another Bad Year for
Florida Man

It’s become less a state and more a state of mind. 
He wakes daily not knowing what perils will present themselves, 
nor can he safely predict how he might react. 
Life is unpredictable. That’s his motto. 
Will it be another python in the toilet? 
That’s not the best way to start out any day. 
But he is brave, creative, a man who recognizes opportunity 
and seeks to seize it in true carpe diem fashion. 
Like the day when released from prison, 
all those sweet late model cars tempting him 
spot after spot in the jail parking lot. What? 
In his defense, he only tried to steal 26 of them. 
No one mentions the ones left undisturbed. 
He feels like a super hero, 
because in a sense we’re all super in some ways. 
Besides, it’s cool to dress as Spiderman 
when power washing that Spanish-tiled roof. 
People take notice, as well they should. 
Because he is a hero at times: 
fighting alligators to save his dog, 
or pouring salt on the Walmart’s floors 
in order to remove evil spirits there. 
See, he cares about others 
and, like MacGyver, utilizes whatever is present 
to solve pressing problems, 
from pouring ketchup on his sleeping girlfriend, 
to that time he attacked his own mother with a cob of corn. 
Mostly, he is misunderstood. 
That cocaine the cop found on his nose wasn’t even his. 
He tries to live a life of compassion and empathy. 
When he broke into that elderly woman’s home, 
he wasn’t there just to steal her belongings. 
He also wore her clothes, trying to gain perspective, 
walk a mile in her shoes, literally. 
He is not a man of great skill or accomplishment, 
asking a passerby to help start the scooter he wanted to steal, 
or attempting to attack that ATM with a blowtorch. 
They all seemed like good ideas at the time. 
Does any man deserve to be beaten up by the Easter bunny? 
Life is unfair, even for a guy with deep authority issues. 
He now knows telling the cops to go to Dunkin Donuts 
was far better than the time he told them 
he would behead them and eat their eyes and tongues. 
It was a metaphor, perhaps. One that no one understood. 
But all the great ones are that way. 
Further, he is a freedom fighter, often going about his tasks 
shirtless or completely naked. Feel the breeze. Open up. 
It helps my basketball skills, he claims. 
No one relates things in a fair and balanced way. 
That time he fought a tree, did anyone mention 
how the tree was the one that started it? 
Or when he attacked that mattress—did anyone realize 
that mattress was where his girlfriend’s lover had been hiding? 
He is a victim of incomplete and subjective reporting. 
They never tell the full story. 
Does he have anger issues? Doesn’t everyone? 
Perhaps he overreacted when stabbing his nephew 
for taking too long in the bathroom. 
In hindsight, that seems obvious. 
Or when he threatened the handyman with the sword 
just because the power outage ruined his video console. 
Or when he beat up his folks over that acidic pork chop. 
He promises to work on the anger thing. 
This year will be different, he swears, 
a new start and some practical resolutions: 
no firing the gun inside the house, 
no stealing boxes of golf balls stuffed down his pants, 
no pooping in the yard, 
no power washing his neighbors. 
This year he’ll finally disband his army of turtles. 
He’ll remember to wear clothes when visiting the mall, 
and try not to burn down the house 
baking cookies on the George Foreman grill. 
It’s the thought that counts, he tells me, 
even when the road back to jail 
is paved with good intentions. 
Gary Glauber
Issue 1, January 2020

is a widely published poet, fiction writer, teacher of literature, and former music journalist. He strives to remain a thinking warrior against the absurdity of life in these United States. His two poetry collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) and Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and a chapbook, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press), are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publishers. His chapbook of surreal poetry is forthcoming.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Two Poems in Cultural Weekly (16 May 2018): “The Unearthing” and “Luggage”

A Capitol Idea, micro-fiction in KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 2019)

The Sum of Three Parts During a Humdinger, micro-fiction in KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 2019)

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