Roots of the Earth

I'm working--really, I am--but I'm also at home, and I'm also on Facebook, which complicates matters. My aunt and I--who have several recent shared experiences, included among them a love-hate relationship with Vacation Bible School programming, found ourselves in an instant-messaging conversation about politics as parabled at the middle-school lunch counter.

You may recall that school lunches are allocated through the use of punch card technology, which--as recent elections have shown--is not always particularly reliable. So we imagined a scenario in which children stood in line for hours, waiting for their food, while a bipartisan committee reviewed their punch cards to determine whether they had requested green beans or tater tots. As any reasonable person might imagine, most of the kids wanted tater tots, but what they were given was an eight-year supply of green beans.

All this led to the following collaborative poem, which we've titled "Roots of the Earth."

I would not have to be hungry
To eat a whole tray of tater tots.
I would simply have to be.
And in that being, I would greatly increase
Till all the earth were awash in ketchup
And all the world’s tired, its poor, its huddled masses,
Would gather at the great coastline of my monocultured feast
With spork in hand and napkin in collar
And we would all smile at one another
through our carbohydrated sweat
And wonder aloud, “Is there more to life than this?”
To which, if we were lucky,
the universe would respond,
“Stand by for dessert.”

I invite your literary critique. In other news, I've added videos from a recent book signing/reading event to my sidebar. I've been told they're reasonably funny. Hope you like them; feel free to share them.


Anonymous said…
It's good?
I laughed. I cried.
I found myself wishing for a large order of tots.
Anonymous said…
Tater tots, and dousing the world in ketchup!!! Amazing! And I thought I was the only one allowed to be insane in this family.
-Colleen of the M-Town Gradys
Unknown said…
Excellent, transcendent poetry about tater tots. I would never have even thought it was possible.

Here's my Ode to a Garlic Press, in a similar vein:

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