Dress Conference

Illustration by Andrea, Children’s Book Illustrator. https://edoodless.wordpress.com

On the first of May in the year 2030 of the Common Era, a wondrous and throughly confusing thing ocurred: the world discovered that unicorns existed. Well, one of them did, anyway.

Even those who loved unicorns were astonished beyond belief. It turned out that unicorns were just a fun hobby for them. They didn’t actually think unicorns existed.

Upon discovery, the unicorn (a Camarillo with a head anomaly) was rushed under cover of night to the city zoo, where it remained safely ensconced until the city officials could decide what to do with it.

And to think all this time everyone believed in God and extraterrestrials. People all over the world were devoted to the notion that they were being surveilled, examined, abducted, studied, and occasionally made to disappear forever by these uber-intelligent green-grey people with ocular monstrosities from some distant galaxy.

Finally, the city officials made up their minds: they were going to rush the unicorn off to a small deserted island in the middle of the south Pacific, where it could live out its days in peaceful solitude, far from the soul-crushing crowds, among whom would certainly be Hollywood producers and infomerical talent scouts eager to snatch it up, get its hoofprint on a contract, and make an instant star out of it – to say nothing of getting filthy rich forever.

At midnight on a Sunday (meaning, just before Monday), when the zoo was closed and they would be relatively sure no one would be about (because they would be in bed early for Monday), the city officials (meaning the mayor and a half dozen garbage collectors) made their way into the zoo to get the, uh, animal.

However, when they reached the zebra cage (where they were temporarily housing it), they were astonished to find it gone! Someone had beaten them to it! Someone had stolen the unicorn! The mayor was apoplectic and the garbage guys were struck dumb – so dumb, in fact, that they froze looking at the floor, waiting for the mayor to do something.

Since the mayor could do nothing without making himself look foolish and ruin his chances for re-election, he went home to bed.

A few hours later the unicorn was having its hair brushed by the makeup department of the local GNN affiliate. Turns out it had broken itself out of the zoo. One of the garbage guys (who happened to recognize that it had the ability to understand human language) had secretly related the mayor’s plans to have it shipped to a deserted island. This was something the unicorn couldn’t allow. It was the only thing worse than being discovered in the forest disguised as a moose.

So the beast had hoofed it straight to the TV station, where (after the news crew and office staff had all recovered from their fainting spells) it urgently explained the need for a press conference, having no choice but to break the news that, yes, unicorns existed and, yes, it was one.

Now, they polished its hoofs and brushed it down and sprinkled glitter on it and applied eye-liner to make its eyes pop, and buffed its, um, corn. And they even wound a silky rainbow around its hair. (This, it thought, was overdoing things a bit.)

“And now a special report…we take you to our downtown correspondent, Merrycay Heyday, who has an amazing story. Hello, Merrycay!”

“Hi, Stan. Yes, we never thought we’d see this day!! I’m super excited because the world is about to wake up to a different world! I mean, everybody is going to wake up to a different reality…Wait…here she comes now!”

“Hi, everybody. Mr. Mayor, I’m sorry to do it this way, but I can’t be deserted on an island in the south Pacific, which is what you were going to do with me…”

(Gasps from the press corps)

“…I think it’s time everyone knows anyway…yes, unicorns are real and I am one. We’ve been in moose costumes for about 180 years now, and…well, they don’t work anymore. The inseams were coming undone and that’s how the hunters found us. Fortunately they were too stunned to shoot at us.”

“How do we know you’re not in a costume, now??!”

“Do you have a name?!?!”

“How many of you are there?!!??!!”

“They put all this makeup on me. Unicorns don’t look like this. We’re just horses with corns. I mean, horns. I’m not going to tell you how many of us there are because that would be the end of unicorns. And to prove I really am one, I’m going to rear up like a stallion so you can see I’m not two circus clowns in a costume.”

(Gasps. Camera flashes going off.)

“Oh, and one more thing. I know it’s been a lot of people’s fervent wish that unicorns really exist. But fervent wishes don’t amount to anything. The only things that are truly real are the things you believe in your heart.”

“Wow, that was impressive…well, Stan, the glitter’s about to hit the fan when this rolls for the morning news, eh? Hahaha! I made a cute joke! Back to you!”

“You can say that again, Merrycay!! Thanks a lot and…wait, what’s that sound?? Is that a flying saucer??!!??!?!?!?!?”

(Unicorn: “Oh, crikey…”)

Thanks to Andrea, Children’s Book Illustrator (https://edoodless.wordpress.com), who gave me permission to have fun with a thoroughly silly story based on her cheeky illustration. Check out her doodles!

where it lies

she has a say in what this is

this sorrow taking residence in her bosom

staking a claim there, sure to make good

the urn she cradles in her hands

made of clay, like we all

goes before her, in solitary funeral march

against the wishes of her people

perhaps the law of the land

in coded disregard of their common end

the food of worms and purifying fire

wholly reduction of our earthy homes

to their component elements

and so going step in front of step

in divine obedience to her very heart and

the sweet, severe and redeeming verity of

spring’s insistent answer to winter’s demand

this knowing, knowing, knowing

traced in muted tracks of salt water

like misty waterfalls from her brave eyes

to where the arable soil meets the ageless sand

and the sand the salt-soaked seas of a million such tears

to stand there nobly broken and fragile strong

she opens the cradle of her swaddling hands

and lets pour herself as she might have been

upon the winds that bear her child’s bones

upon the hallowed waves of each days turbulent tide

for there are ways in which

these things ought to be done

and so

she will have her say in where it lies.

the rules for mules

the mules aren’t there

they’ve been put up

I don’t know the rules for this

oddly, I’m a little disappointed

they’re a fixture of my morning

picture of peace

when I was a child in the toy drawer

there was this picture

yellowing shellac over a cheap print on a

biased cut slab of cheap wood

mare and colt in the pasture

and even then I thought it was peace

and comfort and everything was going to be


of all the things in that boyhood drawer

this is what I still have

I don’t know where it is right now, though

and don’t care because

there’s the mules, may they safely graze forever

an enduring link to a child’s dream

that often did not come true

and they’re not there this morning

they’re put up

I don’t know the rules for this.