Bob King πŸ”ˆ

The Ships Hung in the Sky Much in the Same Way that Bricks Don’t

After The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams.

The chips crunched in the mouth
much in the same way that yogurt
doesn’t, and yet her homemade
pudding crunched on my molars
much in the same way gravel might.
She tried to poison her spouse much
in the same way soulmates don’t,
and they first made love much in
the same way people with extra
limbs and little coordination might,
marionettes marionetted by other
marionettes, an infinite line of strings
and janky elbows elbowing their way
into somehow always being in the way
and thus their offspring acknowledged
their lineage much in the same way
royalty would never not acknowledge.
The car stopped in the road much
in the same way boats don’t, and so
they avoided accumulating snow
much in the same way the city’s
plow trucks do. His meaning in life
was clear much in the same way
a stained-glass window filters light
at 6 o’clock on a Northeast Ohio
January evening. The brain functioned
much in the way seamless garments
don’t. The eyebrows furrowed much
in the same way cliches are unique.
And so a new commandment was
born: the only acceptable furrow to
date is, “He furrowed his brow until
you could grow some of the smaller
root vegetables in it.” Yes, of course it’s
proper that in today’s culture to compare
any person to any vegetable ought
to be cause for cancellation, but on
the subject of vegetables, don’t ask
me to consume them again until
their resume is as diversified
as the potato’s. Get out of here
with your cauliflower pretending
to be bread & pasta much in the same
way aluminum foil decides it’s delicious.
Furthermore, the Cleveland Browns
footballed much in the same way
champions don’t. Ditto for the baseball
club. And basketball team, save one
miracle, and the city, for that matter,
developed the lakefront much in the
same way Chicago, or any prosperous
& gleaming waterfront town, didn’t.
I balanced our checkbook much in the
manner teeter totters don’t because
finances make sense to me much in
the same way as astrophysics' subgenre
helioseismology does. The pillow soothed
his face much in the way her hair doesn’t,
the stray strand tickling his cheek just
under his eye, and so he slept much
in the same way overcaffeinated
overthinkers do. And couples in movies
make out in the morning before brushing
their teeth much in the same way no real
couple with a proper sense of smell, taste,
and gag reflex ever could. And so when
she propped herself up on her elbow
and asked him, “What do you think?”
He responded by saying, “I think
a 100-pound dog is a pretty big dog.”
And from that point forward whenever
he asked her, “What are you doing
with that?” She responded with, “I’m
training it to like whatever I’m doing
with it.” In that way they began to
communicate with each other not with
love, or words of love, or all the little
details and actions of love, but love began
to rise out of silence & reflexiveness, just
as if with a mind of their own so too do rise
their middle fingers as they pass each other
in the hallway. His middle-aged reflexes
responded to the doctor’s hammer
much in the same way as a 50-pound
bag of powdered cement sits out in the rain
beside the wheelbarrow and white chickens.
Cement is an ingredient in concrete much
in the same way cake layers are ingredients
in cake. He mowed his lawn much in the same
way his neighbor doesn’t, which is to say
he mowed his lawn, picked his dandelions,
and showed consternation much in the same
way a seasoned art critic when asked by
a stranger on a plane, “Oh, can I show you
my portfolio because it contains a point
of view much in the same way no artist
ever has?” And so he undermined much
in the same way actual miners in an actual
mine under an actual lake mine. The salt
was salty much in the same way salt tends
to be. And he thusly therapied much in
the way his ancestors didn’t. He drank
much the same way his parents didn’t.
Which is to say, he forsook what he’d
been taught much in the same way
cults don’t. And he caught in the rye
much in the way Holden couldn’t just as
the plane landed on the runway much
in the way models don’t. We then parked
on the driveway much in the way parkways
don’t. And went on to Great in the Gatsby
much in the same way the working class
can’t. I’m living in a fantasy much in the way
religion doesn’t cause war. But we nonetheless
arose among the roses much in the way roses
rise. And Paris shone much in the way
Akron can’t ever, and so we Gertruded
on the Seine much in the same way
the steins emptied. No. Wait. Strike that.
The river emptied into the beer stein
much in the same way Gertrude exuded
exactitude exactly as exactly attitude exactly
Gertrude, for after all, we couldn’t stop in
the same way should became shouldn’t,
would wouldn’t, could couldn’t, did didn’t,
want wanted, meaning meant, the elusive
illuminated, and a wood chuck could chuck
wood. In this manner, forever and beyond
the end of the universe and through all things
indefinitely and infinitely, thought should
be discouraged because panic begets panic
begets the fact the panic sometimes cannot
be unpanicked simply by saying, “Don’t.”

Author Reading

About the Author

Bob King is Associate Professor of English at Kent State University at Stark. Bob holds degrees from Loyola University Chicago and Indiana University (MFA, poetry). His poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Dillydoun Review, American Poetry Review, Narrative Magazine, Muleskinner, Allium: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Northwest Review, Quarter After Eight, and Green Mountains Review, among other literary magazines. He lives in Cleveland with his wife and daughters.