Wednesday 16 November 2011

A Poem.

Tongue and Groove, by Dave Smith.

Tongue and Groove
Forms a lock. But how does it begin in this world? The twig
falls, snaring another, and another, a storm’s blackness
gathers and sends its will scudding down and over the quiet
niches of the forest, where a nest of barky remnants
holds, waiting it seems, and is then lifted, swirled away.

Like the afterlife. We never see where they land or in what shape.
We mimic what we can. We remember. We say this way.
The shadow man’s fingers feel the groove. Fits to it
a piece of firm, now barkless wood, slender and pliant,
then into it, then deeper, snugly, and carries it with him a while.
When the wall stands, ugly and crude, needing its wind-cover,
the hand, after the night with love, fashions plank and rib,
wets for entry, slides, sees this cannot be easily parted.
Long years hold up the rich color, the vein-mapping.
Some like to sand hard, thinking to get back the early patina.
My wife from the first wanted to paint it brilliant cloud white.
Such an old look, such dour faces. At last I gave in.
The paper, medium rough, slid like a small hill of gravel
loosing the smell of pine sap. I could see the shadow
felling the tree, making the rib, the lock, nailing up forever
what would soon be lost in the sailing white, layered like mist
you cannot see through. The little nail holes puttied-in,
like eyes, slab after slab shoulder to shoulder, knots where
limbs grew, room like a snow-crypt. We live here.
Still, I know stains will rise some day, the lock split apart.

Save the Sugar-Plum Fairy!

St Charles, Missouri is the town which  fired the Sugar-Plum Fairy. 
The Sugar-Plum Fairy,  like all fairies, is a naturally upbeat and ebullient character. Or she was. Now she's a tearful little fairy, stripped of her wings.
Why? because, the employers of all upbeat and ebullient fairies, who seem to mostly be mean and grumbly trolls and ogres, are extremely suspicious of effervescence and enthusiasm, given that a grumbly troll or ogre can rarely attain even a faint upturn of the lips, let alone a smile.
So suspicious, that they make their fairies pee into a cup, and hand their fizzy yellow fluids to Ogrelab, for drug testing.

Laura Coppinger has played the fairy for the last six years,  as part of a group of characters who add fun and magic to the city's centre during the run-up to christmas. As such, for a few weeks of each year, she's a city employee. And city employee applicants, have, it seems, to be drug-screened.
By submitting a urine sample with the grinch listening to her tinkle.
And this year, she filled her cup, and, as we all do when we've peed in the porcelain bowl, she flushed.
Oh dear. Flushing is forbidden. (This is because the sample provider might just use some flush water to dilute the sample). Therefore her sample was rejected.

Laura was told she'd have to stay until she could provide another cupful of warm pee, ("Note: The collector should also tell the employee that the temperature of the specimen is a critical factor and that the employee should bring the specimen to the collector as soon as possible after urination. The collector should inform the employee that if it is longer than 4 minutes from the time the employee urinates into the container and the collector takes the specimen temperature, the potential exists that the specimen may be out of range and an observed collection may be required.")
An observed collection!!!!
She had another job interview to go to that afternoon. So, frustrated at the delay, she muttered a naughty word.
And the fairy code that the city council uses says “Christmas characters don’t know naughty words".
Surely, the fairy code applies only when on duty, interacting with townsfolk and shoppers, whilst in character?
(Doesn't Snow White, for instance, ever get a break, where she dares fart?)
Laura said a bad word. In the ladies room with only one other person present, that person being a town employee charged with conducting urine collection on city employees, that person told her she need not bother waiting, because swearing precludes fairyhood. Snip. Off with your wings, disgraced mortal.

Three separate campaign pages have been created on Facebook: Save the Sugar Plum Fairy, Bring Back the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Save the Sugar Plum Fairy on Main Street. More than a thousand people have added their support to the effort.

Many of the businesses have spoken out in her favour, asking that the fairy be reinstated, but the mayor says the decision stands.
I, for one, shall be boycotting St Charles Missouri this christmas, and I promise not to vote for the current Mayor in any upcoming election.

Footnote: Because I was wondering why flushing is taboo, I googled  drug test procedure, and found out far more than I ever needed to know. Did you know there are companies which sell 'synthetic urine' and strap-on bladders in which to conceal it?
Oh yes. they do... And I found the (no doubt apocryphal) story of the guy who was told that drugtests were being held the day after he'd smoked a heap of weed, so he asked his girlfriend to help him out with a ziplock baggie of clean pee that he could hide in his pants. "good news", the drugtester quips, "You're clean of drugs, and congratulations... You're pregnant!"

The Handbook on Pee-Testing, as used by the United States Department of Transportation.

Via Arbroath.