The other morning I opened my front gate and
noticed on the sidewalk an abstract design made of
some kind of clear liquid.
It started at my place, on the corner,
and trailed down the block as far as I could see.
It must be water, I thought.
Someone had just walked by and poured it out like that.
But a day later it was all still there, just
as it was the day before, glistening wet
in the summer sun.
How odd! What in the world was it?
I followed it all the way to the end of the block.
Right where it ended, on the other corner,
lay a discarded plastic one gallon jug. The label read
“Neutral Slush Syrup Base Concentrate.”
On it was a barcode too and
the company logo stating: “Flavor Master.”
Bending over, I squinted my eyes, and
examined it some more.
I read its words again, silently to myself, and then again
out loud in a whisper.
Then I straightened up and laughed,
as little birds chirped and hopped about in the trees.
But a week has passed and nothing has changed:
it is all just the same, still glistening wet
(even in the shade) like it’s almost alive.
It is a mess that’s hard on the eyes and even
harder on the soul. The plastic jug is still there too-
no one wants to deal with it.
I had laughed but it isn’t funny.
It is absurd, it is alien.
It is diabetes, cancer, insanity,
an angry child grown old,
the slug slime product of our times.
I thought about evil and how it is like this:
when it happens it looks so innocent,
so normal, so neutral.
It is poured out in a smile, a handshake, a hug, a favor,
a word of advice, a heart-felt conversation, or an
But there’s something a little odd, abstract, not quite
alive; we come to sense this, we even know it.
But we laugh it off or ignore it- we don’t want to deal with it.
Besides, we all do it. “It’s only human,” and “no one’s perfect,”
and “do you really believe that?”
It goes on all day long, and into the night, year after year,
decade after decade,
an abstract and glistening, alien self-interest,
in your country, in your city, in your neighborhood, in your workplace,
in your home.
It is absurd- you’re so angry about it. How is
everything so slushy, so syrupy, so artificial, and yet so
Why doesn’t anyone do anything about it?
You feel so lost and hopeless.
The fucking flavor masters!!! What nerve!
we silently scream.
as you pour your chicken shit Neutral Slush Syrup Base Concentrate
all over your children’s souls.