What if, instead of holy, cows were holey? If the black spots on the average dairy breed were empty spaces rather than splotches? Where might the rest of the cow be? Would these pieces just pop out like donut holes and roll away? Or would they sprout into new cows once they hit the ground? Perhaps they would remain that size, a herd of Mini-Holsteins grazing at the hooves of the normal ones. Maybe they'd scuttle off in search of greener pastures to avoid being trampled and squashed by accident to cow pies, then sizzled and slapped between the halves of buns. Or to evade getting rounded up for sale in curio shoppes, as trinket cows and purse pets for wealthy ladies. I can just imagine it. Yes, my mind does ponder the strangest things.
Might it be that a holey cow is a metaphor? The embodiment of optimism and pessimism, like a half-filled cup of milk? Could it symbolize the positive and negative aspects of our perspective? Could it even represent some deeper significance, an esoteric principle reserved for those wearing a special type of glasses? Yes, I believe it has something to do with signocology or reading the map of the stars. Oh snap, I've figured it out! Of course, it's so obvious! A holey cow would produce Swiss Cheese. There you go.
Now that I have practically solved the mysteries of the universe, I must contemplate a topic for this column. It has to be about something. I've already done one or two about nothing. Soooooo then, hmmmm, what to do, what to do . . . . . . .?
Yep. Waiting for an answer.
Uh-huh, you guessed it. Waiting.
What? You're waiting for me to quit waiting and answer the question of what to do? How should I know? I was asking you!
Have you ever wondered how someone can draw a blank? I wonder that a lot.
The silence is echoing, you just can't hear it. I think it has made you deaf. But don't mind me. I am not myself. I'm not sure who I am except that it's not me. It could be anyone else, I suppose. That can happen. Especially to me.
I also think I may have injured my sacroliliac, a part I'm told most people do not have. I happen to have one, which makes me pretty special. It is very useful too — keeping my sangfroidity in balance, my larnyx in tune, for bowing and scraping to my temple lobes. It enables me to fold at the waist, which comes in handy when burying your head in sand or counting on one's toes. But it is tricky to write or maintain coherence aforethought without distraction. I tried putting a bandaid on it, but that keeps coming off. I have even attempted to X-ray the part but was informed they couldn't find it. So next I will smear gooseberry jam on the thing and make a toast to the moon before the cow jumps over it and a pack of greedy blind mice start gobbling the cheese. If that doesn't work, I will be at my wit's end and hopefully not have to worry about it anymore. If you've ever stubbed your toe, I'm sure you can sympathize. Not that this is like that, but I'm sure the experience has made you a more sympathetic person.
We are all shaped by our course through life, just as the rock walls of a canyon are shaped by the river that carves through it or the Silly Putty is molded by the fey fickle fingers and thumbs of Fate. Even as a holey cow might be perforated by a cosmic hole-punch.
There, now that I have waned and waxed profound, on with the poems! I have no idea what they will be about, and that is your fault. Tisk, tisk . . .
Maybe, just maybe, on the whim of a breeze
Cows could be cratered like a moon made of Swiss Cheese
Perhaps an illusion, a touch of the surreal —
What other quirks might a lark's flight reveal?
There is magic in the waft of a fanciful notion
Like the somersault of waves on a tumbling ocean
The catapult of dreams upon a fusillade of stars
Our vague yearnings flung to sprays of flickerent quasars
But desires we hold most dear shoot for meteoric showers
Sometimes the greatest strength is holding on a few more hours
We can see one way at present and another in the past
While tomorrow may bring hope from dire wishes that were cast
Glib caprices swept by gusts of an imaginary kind
Whisked by calliope refrains of Time's galloping unwind
Through dorsal-finick crests of enraptly textured hills
Where buzzards buzz, turtle doves are shelled, and goats have beaks or bills
In which rows of holey cows click their tongues like metric-gnomes
With measured disapproval at homing-pigeons without homes
As greenhouse bottom-feeders root for veggies that bite back
And oranges are purple, grapes a pleasant shade of black
Where peepers grow on trees and flutter limb to limb
Unblinking as they sightsee until the morn grows dim
And the crane will crow to slumber as flamingo-salmon yawn
We are never far from madness as we go to sleep at dawn
Skinny dogs chew their own bones with a dislocated air
Trash is sold again as retail to consumers who don't care
Slender walruses work out, forming Water Polo crews
There are five-ring flea hotels that double up as zoos
I am living in this world that is almost make-believe
Were it not for a grain of truth between the threads of tales I weave
And dyslexic inattention to fresh-cement details that pour
Like figless pudding from outside the recess of my core
In the turning of its pages flows line-dancing clandestiny
A font of confusion penciled in to erase Reality
Thus huddle the vagarent holey cows, the spectral boldface types . . .
If you can't handle the consequences, then just udder wow or cripes!
One crackly autumnal stroke of dawn
As trees held their leaves like bated breath
For a moment of sinister apprehension
In silence as still as death
A bleak and swirling atmosphere
Impended off to the distance
A vaporal gathering of enmity
With a stark gray stern insistence
That slowly crept into a burg
Until it hovered to brood above
A roiling mass of suspended malice
In which portended no drop of love
A storm, a storm had come to pass
Rife with dazzlings and zigzag darts
Ripples of luminant venomous tongues
Like jagged soldiers playing their parts
A war of emotions, commotions and passion
A turbulent stockpile of natural volition
With the promise to rail and rant in fury
Until it should run out of ammunition
A dark day ahead, a negative omen
A dismal fever of tempestuous rage
The rabid distemper of a howling fiend
An ill wind blowing a surly rampage
Then broke the thunder, deluge released
Crashing, slashing, a tremendous downpour
Out of sorts and spite, a derisive torrent
A mere appetizer of what lay in store
"It's raining cows, by golly!" a man cried
Ere flattened beneath the weight of the clouds
Further words were drowned by thuds and splashes
Of a vertical flood spilling watery shrouds
The sins of the town were washed away
And all they could do was scream
Stepping to the ground with a snarly grimace
The storm was a walking bad dream
Its voice emerged garbled, an echoing bellow
That shook the buildings with each mega-stride
A cyclone regaled in static-charged glory
Its virulence tore chimneys and roofs aside
Then came a dame gripping a black and white umbrella
Who impatiently answered that it was "Enough!"
To send the brute packing, its wallop backtracking
"Be gone with this damp and wretched stuff!"
Shaking her fist at the colossal nerve
She swerved to stomp a puddled terrain
Disgruntled and soggy, her footfalls boggy
Drenched, fists clenched, not one to complain
But this was too much so here she was
The only brave soul to raise her voice
And disapprove of the storm's behavior
As if it were a matter of choice
The storm was astonished and fled to blubber
Soundly scolded by a grouchy maid
Reduced to tears, suspending its rancor
That wicked wind's bluster did swiftly fade.
You never want to get
On the wrong side of a cow
It's a little like declaring
A zombie apocalypse now
Such a foolhardy action
Could kick you in the teeth
Or the cow might tip and crush you
Upon a grassen heath
And there you'll lie to wither
A casualty of war
Except there'd be no motive
It would leave you feeling sore
Which probably won't kill you
Until the ants arrive
They'll sip your blood and nip your flesh
And eat you up alive
If you ever cross a pasture
Beware the bovine wrath
For you don't wish to experience
The calamitous aftermath
Don't say I didn't warn you
To hike cow fields with haste
'Tis a risk you should avoid
Like swallowing toothpaste.
Be careful if you've sprung a sprock
You may find it will leave you never
Whatever it is (I can't be sure)
It could cause your head to sever
It might also eat your slippers
By swallowing the canine gnawing them
No closet is safe from being organized
Into bits or pieces of rubbish and phlegm
Once it's in your house you're doomed
It will mop your floors as well
By licking with a bumpy tongue
To leave a coat of slime and smell
No, I don't advise springing that sprock
Should you encounter one coiled on your doorstep
Whether free to a good home in a wicker basket
Or curled in an alley with a sign saying YEP!
Just do your best to ignore it
And hope it didn't grow attached
To your ankle while you glanced away
Rather like being alien-snatched
In fact, I wonder if it's from Outer Space
And hit Earth by accident or something
A splurge of complicated common nonsense
The sort of lunacy a full-moon can bring
If you've ever sprung a sprock you'd know
When your ping-pong balls began to vanish
All your lightbulbs were crunched like candy
Bowling pins and needles made you think in Spanish
The doors were locked from the inside out
Rugs replaced by carpets of hair
The phone rang and rang unanswered
Then your ears would ring with nobody there
I can't stress enough the need to giggle
At the absurdity of the situation
A sprock could turn your life upside down
Be your biggest source of agitation
Or lift your spirits like a contagious yawn
No, wait, I mean an infectious grin
Unless you were allergic, then you would sneeze
And the sprung sprock would do you in.
Near a village called Norwester was a woman name of Mag
Who resided alone in a shabby hut, its thatched top all asag
Nobody came to visit, no other shared her blood
She had risen from the dirt and would soon rejoin the mud
One day a knobby fellow tapped a weather-roughened door
"How do, good madam?" greeted he, nigh bending to the floor
Unused to guests yet starved for contact, the lady bid him enter
He removed his brim and took a seat, then spoke a little gentler
"My lady, what I offer thee is a chance to compensate,
For I see you've no companions, neither child nor household mate.
Simply swallow these and your grief will ease, I guarantee you that.
You will have a friend to the very end, or I shall eat my hat."
The stranger's palm held a pair of seeds: one black, the other white
Though her garden grew abundant, these were not a familiar sight
Mag accepted the gent's kind offer and did as he suggested
Her stomach lurched, her eyes went wide; a wistful face protested
What had the scoundrel done to her? A look of dread replaced her need
But the cad assured she would be fine, then left with all due speed
As if an evil spell were cast, the old woman writhed in pain
And collapsed to the bed, her belly enlarged, thinking this would be tough to explain
Instead of a babe, something else was born inside that humble cottage
To the mother's shame and amazement both, a figment of her dottage
The critter rose on shaky limbs and gave a bleat of greeting
As inexplicable as extraordinary, it was quite the peculiar meeting
Nuzzling her neck and licking her cheek, the calf melted the woman's heart
Mag now had a cow who called her Moom, and they'd never be apart
Sharing pints of milk with the four-legged creature, she raised a healthy daughter
Who eventually repaid the gesture, cream gushing like a stream of water
Delilah wore a shiny bell and followed the woman around
They were close as could be until poor Mag was laid into the ground
The lonesome orphan would be adopted by the village of selfish crabs
Fighting over milk so rich and sweet, like the cow was up for grabs
Unable to agree, they roasted Delilah and feasted on her whole
Clawing and snatching, savagely dining, till there only remained her soul
And a soot-stained cowbell lying forlorn, charred in the fire's pit . . .
Clangs are still heard upon the wind, faint laughter trailing it.