The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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apple strudel

my mama didn’t raze no fool no sir
she razed herself a sporty sophisticate with a taste for fair game and gumbo
one gone off to view an elephant or two
the big apple! the city of angels!
a boy with smarts enough to walk himself around the block
not only once and not merely twice
nor even such as thrice but a fellow who can step out on a block
walk it clear to ad infinitum
never tiring
never flagging not even down a cab

my mama she would not suffer fools lightly no sir
no more than she would suffer a witch to live
she knew what cooks
she could step out on these cheap and dusty streets and walk around with the best
go a few rounds with any local welterweight
float like a raft and sting like something velvet
it wouldn’t bother her no sir
she would brush it off
slough it off
laugh it off
flip it off
get it off her any way she could and go about her business
tend to her affairs
bake the bread that needed baking
knead the dough that needed rising
raze the boy that weren’t no fool

don’t be a fool my mama would say
stand clear of the circus parade!
the trampling dancing elephant or two
spellbound riders of broom handles and baker’s dozens of tinker’s dams
cookie cutters and trimmers of holy rollings
punch-drunk drunks drinking punch drunk from cups
fellow travelers home from afar and points beyond
dragging trophies in the dust
snapping flags in the wind
whistling dixie and the battle hymn both past the graveyard
parading down my street in front of the house where i was born
my mama stepping out of the kitchen and brushing flour from her hands
taking me by my collar and one cauliflower ear
twisting me round to poleaxe my perturbations
sluicing me through the flue straight and narrow and along her merry way
blocking out the path to be followed
row to be hoed
line to be toed
spit-shined spats at heel and knuckle-dusters to hand
mama razing her little angel, the apple of her eye.

(Originally published in New York Tyrant, September 19, 2017. Copyright 2017 by Tetman Callis.)