“Farewell, My Lovelies,” “A Chameleon Named Silencio,” and “The Unwoke Wizard of Oz”

In Issue 77 by Robert Eugene Rubino

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Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

Farewell, My Lovelies

Good riddance, alcohol.

Good riddance mary-jane.

Good riddance hashish and uppers and downers.

Good riddance Timothy Leary … we hardly knew ye.

Good riddance to

those bottles of quenching cold ice-cold cottonmouth-inducing beer & ale

and those steins of on-tap room-temp Guinness stout

 — it’s good for you the billboard said and the billboard wouldn’t fib.

Good riddance to

those three-finger wrenching shots of Irish whiskey

those two-fingers’ worth of cognac so fuzzy-wuzzy warm & welcoming

those before-during-and-after-dinner tumblers of wine

those joints those pain pills that made life so painless so senseless.

It was fun while it lasted and it lasted a lifetime.

It was fun while it lasted … or was it?

Maybe feeling your idealized extrovert emerge from hiding

and exchange places with your despised ashamed introvert

maybe that was fun

for a few minutes a few hours a few days a few weeks

too many years.

But the jibber-jabber pseudo-intellectual philosophizing …

was that really fun or was it more like third-rate hipster-blowhard shtick?

Was the altered consciousness fun?

Or was it more like

a ground-rattling sky-ripping rip-roaring exploratory NASA blastoff

closely followed by a white-knuckle broken-propeller flight from Fargo to Dubuque

helplessly hopeful for a sooner-the-better safe landing or at least a non-fatal one?

Good riddance, alcohol

despite the lingering seductive bright and bubbly thought

of an occasional celebratory glass of champagne.

Good riddance, marijuana

although that aroma

— somehow simultaneously sweet and acrid —

seeping through your nostrils

while strolling down almost any street in any town these days

that sensuous scent tripping a live wire sparking a nostalgic maze

of moments shimmering

in an autobiographical semi-fictional wholly imaginary

magical-realism alternative-history fantasy-horror haze.

A Chameleon Named Silencio

I.

Silence is golden. Silence is golden?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

Silence can be wise kind discreet

courageous even.

Silence can be awkward

cowardly

destructive

more than a nodding acquaintance

with unkindness injustice evil.

Complexity confusion contradiction

if they be golden then ok so be silence.

Knowing when to speak up when to shut up

— it sounds so easy

but it can be a daily lifelong challenging education

a road cluttered with cobblestoned missteps.

II.

The enlightening silence the fortifying silence

of an early-morning meditation

— there are monks who take vows of silence

speaking the tough tongueless language of transcendence

... or of pointless pious masochism.

III.

Silent movies

some of them grandly glorious

Chaplin, Keaton ...

all that charmingly choreographed wordless slapstick hilarity

all that emoting

all those eyes-wide-raised-eyebrows

all that swooning passion

— much of it truly cinematic art.

But then there’s Birth of a Nation

— a silent poisonous pill of a landmark film

twisting history hideously.

IV.

The awful awkward weaponized silences

of the silent treatment — no treat at all —

that can emerge between friends lovers

between spouses.

The ultimate comfort zone of silence

— the trust that can emerge between friends

lovers

between spouses

the knowledge or at least the abiding belief

that there are times

perfectly at-ease moments

when vocal invasion would spoil the moment

would be like space aliens

arriving from a woefully wordy world.

V.

The debilitating haunting silence of loneliness

where emotional thirst & starvation thrive.

The contented nourishing silence of being peacefully alone

— of keeping yourself company ... good contented company.

VI.

Silencio

is a chameleon from the undergrowth

of your innermost jungle

sometimes dreaded

as if it were a hired gun

a terrorist

an inquisitor with a taste for torture

...

but sometimes ...

sometimes it’s welcomed

like a savior

survivor

like a long-lost soulmate.

Silencio.

The Unwoke Wizard of Oz

Gotta think Dorothy is a way more savvy young teenager than that

gullible golly-gee-whiz goody-two-shoes (or goody two ruby slippers)

wide-eyed wonderment role paternalistically imposed upon her.

Gotta think the wildly cackling Wicked Witch of the West

shines as the most intriguing character in the Oz drama and that

the so-called Good Witch nothing but a sweet-tooth-decaying bore.

Repetition of ‘there’s no place like home’ sounds more like

keep-Dorothy-in-her-place brainwashing rather than a comforting mantra

since home offers no parents and a drab farm as depressing as the Depression.

It’s all a dream anyway? Seriously? After all that huffing and puffing

and singing and dancing? After all those menacing monkeys flying around?

Is there a lazier way for Hollywood to revise (or wreck) the original story?

Gotta think it’s Tinseltown misogyny telling Dorothy in fact insisting

she didn’t have the most amazing adventure of her young lifetime ...

that it’s all in her head her adolescent female hyperactive hormonal head ...

Gotta think it’s pure sexist condescension to tell Dorothy

she’s neither heroic nor resourceful and her story and her claims

too fanciful to be believed ... she’s not to be believed. And to get used to it.

And let’s play closer attention to the wiseass wizard behind the curtain

exposed as a gift-of-gab grifter with a philosophy as flimsy as flimflam ...

it would be poetic justice to stick him in a hot-air balloon bound for Kansas.

About the Author

Robert Eugene Rubino

Robert Eugene Rubino is a retired newspaper copy editor and columnist and a former adult literacy tutor who has published prose and poetry in various online and print journals. He's also the author of three collections, including "Douglas Knocks Out Tyson" (UnCollected Press).

Read more work by Robert Eugene Rubino .