Sunday, June 02, 2024

The Orgasmic Nature of Illegitimate Acquisition

 —Poetry by Gary D. Grossman, PhD, Athens, GA
—Visuals Courtesy of Public Domain

How do I write thee, let me count the ways.

The sonnet of my marriages, first through third.
The haiku of fatherhood, kids in one breath.
The haibun of my career, 41 years, then done.
The cento of my published papers.
The epic of our family history—Europe to US.
The limerick of my There once was a man from…
The villanelle of my five hobbies.
The ode of my tongue in yet one more lover.
The ghazal of my repeating illness.
The elegy of my too-short life.


I lasted a week at the first foster home.
There I learned to only inhale, because
a completed breath brought the unknown—
days to come were milk poured into water,
cloudy and without taste, I was underwater.

The second home taught me to hold my breath—
the blue backyard plastic pool, where in June,
my bully foster brothers played octopus.
Binding arms and legs while pushing
my head under water.

Number three included parents who never
left the couch or TV—obesity, cockroaches,
and a baby boy with soiled diapers.
No AC and the thick August air
felt like breathing underwater.

Even a crazy Mom beats this, so I returned
home for a year, then at 17 moved out.
Mom left LA for Tecate, Mexico, and died
eight months later, when her car vaulted
an embankment and ended up underwater.


If the recession of 2008 hadn’t maimed so many of us accountants, I wouldn’t have started shoplifting. And though I floated towards homelessness, I clawed my way back up the economic beach, even after watching that ebb tide sweep so many bellowing colleagues out to sea. I don’t mean to lack compassion, no, really, but like they say, “if ya done it, it ain’t bragging.” At that point I realized my salvation lay in the collection plate of petty crime. I mean, wife and kids sayonaraed me long ago, and I’ve been on my own now for one hundred seventy-eight weeks. My initiation into larceny began with basic needs stuffed down my pants—snickers bars, white bread, tins of potted meat, and pony bottles of beer, really just things to tide me over, but then a better plan skipped across my mind like the way a crumpled styrofoam cup skates over an oily canal on a windy day. Reaching back into my old quantitative tool-bag, I began computer-scamming—targeting the idle rich, sweeping their crypto out from under their noses, while posing as a 40ish blonde widow whose nipples peered like shy buttons from a sheer black nightgown. Twelve years later, sometimes I ask myself “do you really know the difference between want and need”, even though these economic curves are the basis of civilized capitalism? Yet neither produces the orgiastic thrill accompanying a successful theft, abdominal muscles contracting involuntarily at the start and relaxing with each exhalation as the crime struts forward. Nonetheless, my new financial security necessitates greater self-examination, literally, more looks in the mirror, to ensure the moral portion of my face doesn’t start decomposing right in front of me—like so many portraits by Francis Bacon. Which brings me to my ultimate question, can one recover from a life of property crime, and is it even necessary? I mean, doesn’t society owe everyone a living, and doesn’t economic inequality justify my takings? I know those are rationalizations, weak as raspberry leaf tea. Still, how much do I really need, and how much do they really not need, and is enough ever enough, especially given the orgasmic nature of illegitimate acquisition?

Some questions really shouldn’t be asked.


Today’s LittleNip:

All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.



—Medusa, with thanks to Gary Grossman for today’s intriguing poetry!
 Gary Grossman

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