Procrastination used to be Mungo’s great motivator.
He would always tap into it and rely on it as an unfailing source
for tomorrow’s creative plans. So nothing can be more inconvenient
than to learn of the immediate end of the world. Forces him to prepare
for the absence of himself and all his good ideas, especially
the ones he had always for tomorrow. Mungo finds
that tying up loose ends is exceedingly time consuming.
From a German aunt, Mungo inherited
a bag full of prepositions. Hinter, vor,
oben, unten, neben, zwischen, gegen, von—
After much soul-searching, Mungo decided
against donating them to the library.
Where they would be of service, he concluded,
would be at the shelter for abandoned poets.
Mungo has learned to play the Richter scale.
The effects on his audience are immediate and
work every time. As soon as the crescendos
fill the concert hall, men in tuxedos
and women in evening gowns shriek
and begin to scramble over seats and each other
to reach the exit. Mungo is not a little dismayed
but calms himself like any other man
by using the fault line for a little fishing.
Mungo learned from Gran that time must not be wasted,
lost or killed. He therefore keeps an eye on it and puts both
on the mantel, making sure that not one second remains
unused and not a single minute gets left behind
in dark corners where no-one will ever find it again.
When Mungo finally goes to sleep at the end of a busy day,
he ties time tightly to his left toe to be alerted to its escape
should such be intended. He uses a hangman's knot.
Mungo suffers from insomnia, sadness and wet pillows.
He doesn’t need a psychiatrist to know what
is overwhelmingly obvious: no texts are coming in
on his new smartphone. He soon finds the internet
folks who spread good will, especially around the festive
season, and subscribes to their daily service. They send
him messages around the clock full of kind thoughts.
Mungo now sleeps every night with a beatific smile.
Mungo decides to have his horoscope prepared
by Alicia Arcadia, astrologer of local fame. Much aggrieved
by its content, he thinks about a way to make up for
its unacceptable predictions by acquiring a better one. One night,
just before dawn, Mungo raids Miss Arcadia’s filing cabinet
and finds one he likes, keeping it henceforth
in his personal strongbox. Mungo can’t tell by the stars
whether his ruse has worked, but Miss Arcadia has taken on
a position as housekeeper for the archdiocese.
Mungo states the obvious
and hangs it over the mantelpiece.
Pilgrims come from afar to behold
the evidence of indisputable truths
which they all interpret
in their own way and soon come to blows.
Mungo repents his action and moves
the work to a Swiss bank deposit box.
A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and a poetry collection published in 2011 in the UK, ‘TANGENTS’, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in a good two dozen US poetry reviews as well as some print anthologies, and Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet. She won third price in in the 2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse (US), was semi-finalist in the Naugatuck poetry contest 2012/13 and has been a finalist in several GR contests, winning it in October 2014.