Lousiest Origin Story in the Whole Madhouse
Carmen brings Kenny, the line cook, a dish
of white lumps, the guy at my table says
these eggs aren’t basted. Kenny takes off his hat,
wipes the sheen of work from his forehead,
leans into the heat window and earnestly asks,
what are they? That’s all I remember.
They say I kept repeating what are they?
what are they? what are they?
writhing in the mop corner near the ice machine,
slobbering laughter. Tears.
Nobody wanted to touch me, as nobody trusts
a man laughing alone. Handcuffs. “Rehabilitation.”
I tried to explain to doctors that laughter
must’ve been our first music, before words –
those tricky devils – just listen to it pirouette
the major keys of what simmers inside.
Listen to it score that unphraseable
Rorschach of a moment that can pare you.
Listen to it sing the dangerous trajectory of joy
Now I’m “The Eggman.”
What did they catch you laughing about?
About the author:
Brandyn Johnson is an adjunct English instructor at Black Hills State University. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife, Anna. Their first child, daughter Ari Lisboa, was born on March 15. Brandyn's poetry has appeared in Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Dunes Review, Coe Review, The American Aesthetic, The Bijou River Poetry Review, Pasque Petals, Hartskill Review and others. If he has things his way, he will spend the rest of his life carrying on with his writing, teaching, and occasionally traveling.