When people say how are you,
I reply, Pumpernickel,
because they were not really inquiring
due to some social rules
that do not exist in solid form
or in any manifesto I’ve read on the internet.

On Sundays during football season,
I reply, Da Bears.

Most folks do not notice and proceed
with whatever they meant for me to know—
for me to at least hear and empathize,
though my empathy may be as faked
as their inquiry into my state of being.

Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger. Coke, no Pepsi.

might be a little brash and a dated reference
for the younger generation who never saw
Saturday Night Live in its early years,
though the internet makes all digitally stored moments
retrievable for the curious.

For the few, who are uncomfortably misplaced
in noticing my Pumpernickel
and thus engage me a bit more fully with a smile,
I wish them to find the proper fit of underwear,
a key-phrase upon their tongue during a job interview,
and that their hot shower washes off the day’s worry.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

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