Bad hair day revised ex.., p.1
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Bad Hair Day, Revised & Expanded, p.1

1 2 3
Bad Hair Day, Revised & Expanded


Revised & Expanded


Spit & Vinegar Publications


Revised and Expanded, June 2017

ISBN: 9781370238545

© Copyright 2017 RC Monson

All rights reserved.

Cover art by Livewire Productions

Cover illustration courtesy of



Homer in a Satin Bag

Michele’s Wishing Well

My Own

Collars Starched, Creases Perfect

As the Woman Shrieks

Hannah’s Bandana

Too Self-Conscious for Popcorn

Waiting for the Green Light

Fanciful Notions

A Letter to Dayton, Ohio

Careening into Upheaval


The Mean Time

Snow Jobs



Our Tribal Dance

Bad Hair Day

Parting Shot


Homer in a Satin Bag


He calls himself.

And when he went to jail

We couldn’t visit because

We didn’t know his name was


He has six teeth

In a straight row

Across the bottom

Like an upside-down grin.


He knows the dark side

And claims he never projects;

He has seen what evil

Does with good intentions.


He got too drunk

And when the cops arrived

They discovered Homer,

A constant companion to


Who carried Homer around

In a satin bag,

Inside a silk bag,

Inside a paper bag.


Received the skull as a gift:

It was a human skull,

Burnished with age

And had even fewer teeth than


Who tries to describe

The look on the cop’s face

Upon reaching into the satin bag

And pulling Homer out.


He snickers through

A big upside-down grin and says:

They said I can have Homer back

After they run a few tests.


Michele’s Wishing Well

Way out on the edge again

Atop a sheer granite precipice

Michele surveys the strange ghostly

Magical allure of an extinct ocean.

From a mountaintop that formerly

Presided under blankets of water

She can almost remember the uproar

Of submarine volcanoes oozing life.

With a graceful flick of her wrist

She sends a penny soaring thin air

On a wish and promise that love

Can only hurt as much as she lets it.

The little shells she’s woven in her hair

Ring out bright blue as her smiling eyes.

Her collection of fossils and tattooed boys

Attests to a history of torrential passages.

The penny seems at first to float

And already cloaked in a green patina

It darts off like a breeze-blown feather

And gradually, gradually drifts out of view.

When at last it plunks the surface

Of Michele’s wishing well, she envisions

Copper bells chiming long-ago oceans

Like the waves themselves learning to ring true.


My Own

When I was small

I didn’t know they called

the busy streets arteries.

All I knew was

I couldn’t have a bike.

I couldn’t have a bike because of

a bad dream, Dad’s bad dream,

involving crushed spokes

and the severed artery.

This was a dream he often had.

So, I couldn’t be trusted

to stay off the busy streets

we lived between,

two narrow one-way streets

lined with elm trees,

all the way down the hill

to the valley—downtown,

the hub, the heart,

where fields of asphalt

were set aside

just to park on.

Maybe if we lived there

I could have a bike,

because cars only park there,

and when they drive

they drive real slow,

so a kid on a bike

would be safe there.

I learned to ride

my friend’s bike

on the tennis court

at Wellesley and Lead.

If Dad had found out

he’d’ve brained me,

even though I was only a child

and didn’t understand

the complex anatomy

of daily traffic patterns.

In school

they taught us

simple biology by dying

stalks of celery red

or blue or yellow;

they explained how

plants and trees have arteries

just like people,

how blood carries oxygen

on highways that branch

into roads and cul de sacs,

carrying oxygen through

arteries and veins and capillaries

to our fingers

and our toes.

And so it was

that my child’s mind

was able to comprehend

the tragedy when—

early one morning

on the tennis court,

as we watched the cars

go hurling by—



brakes screeched, tires skidded, a horn honked

and kept on honking as a loud thump

tossed a car over the curb

into one of the old elms

that lined the street

all the way downtown.

We ran to see

and wished we hadn’t as a woman slowly emerged,

bleeding and bleeding all over her face,

her hands, her blouse, and she staggered

to her knees on the lawn,

and there were men telling us to get back!

And they surrounded the bleeding woman,

and we peeked in,

and the men cried out, “Get lost, kid,”

and pushed us away.

So we went

with some other men

to look at the car,

its solid chrome face

lodged in the elm’s bark,

and the tree was weeping sap,

and I felt like crying too,

because I knew

about arteries now,

and a little something more

about the agonies

of the human condition.

The tree still has the scar;

it lives with that scar,

and when I drive by

I always remember

bits and pieces

of Dad’s bad dream,

almost as if it were

my own.


Collars Starched, Creases Perfect

My father possessed

in place of a chip on the shoulder

this mean little sergeant

according to Aunt Shirley

the little sergeant was always there

Dad took the sergeant with him

when he joined the Air Force

promoted to staff sergeant before discharge

nine years later his college years

delivering laundry, selling shoes at Sears

up half the night, mom typing term papers

beans, fried spuds, tortillas

eaten so often they return in nightmares

with flatulent cold-war jargon

Dad’s beloved AIR FORCE

jet turbines churning out

powerful streams of hot air

linear aeroglyphs of frosted plumage

hundreds of miles long

years of tedious government liaison work

a cramped cubicle one can call one’s own

issuing and receiving orders

it wears a person out

but don’t look for comfort in a bottle

I told him not to do it

but it was too late for him to start learning

how to take orders from me

According to Aunt Shirley

Dad’s first home furlough came

long before he actually attained sergeant status

This strapping teenaged private comes home

spouting orders like he’s fit to take charge

He doesn’t bother to ask

He delegates the laundry detail:

“I want the collars starched

and the creases perfect!”

He never suspects that in his absence

all of his younger sisters would develop

little sergeants of their own

“Collars starched,” Aunt Donna scowls

“He’ll get his collars starched!” Bee snarls

“And that’s not the half of it,” Shirley chimes in

And so it was that the wanna-be sergeant,

upon return to his stark barracks,

unpacked a duffle bag containing something of himself—

a neat stack of clean uniforms

each piece as stiff as a shingle


As the Woman Shrieks

Quincy hears her ranting through an unpadded wall that probably should be. Her ravings alternate between uncontrollable weeping jags and violent tantrums that spell out the complete meaning of psychosis. He has a feeling that
1 2 3
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Add comment

Add comment