Cabinet of Oddities
by Bill Stinson

When the last pint’s been drained

And the customers fled,

The tap room falls silent,

And the front light turns red.

 

It’s time to reflect

From the corner of your eye,

Did something just move?

Or maybe I’m high?

 

But The Pour Farm is new!

Surely free from lost souls.

So how to explain

These implausible trolls?

 

The six tales that follow

Recount visitations

Of pour farming sorts

Seeking astral libations.

 

An audit of oddities

To warn and instruct

(Still, the spectre of evidence

Suggests that we’re fucked.)

 

So consider these hazards

When you chill at the bar,

And shelter your spirits

From exploits bizarre.

ONE

When the Dolls Fell

October 31, 2019

Creepy dolls are a thing

And they don’t give a damn.

So we signed up two dolls

To help with the Slam.

 

Hanging by strings

The trick was all set.

The butt of a joke

But no safety net!

 

So crashing they fell

Onto porcelain knees.

The curse is now doubled;

Their jagged edge seized.

Though we saved the old dolls

From Elmer’s Barn fair,

We then broke their legs,

And now here dwells their glare.

TWO

When the Glass Broke

(sometime in 2020)

Filling three pints at once

With an effortless hand

A backflip, an axel,

A beer-foot-handstand,

 

The publican dance

Is a worthy affront

To synchronized swimming

And the jet skiing stunt.

 

With one at the tap:

It’s a study of grace –

The confident knuckler’s

methodical pace.

 

With two at the tap:

Pitchers dodge, weave, and bob

To fling the right beers

To the hankering mob.

 

With three at the tap:

You’d better hang on.

Their fastball is fired

Like a drunken photon.

 

But the fine-tuned machine

Of bartender perfection

Broke down one fine day

With ferocious inflection.

 

Broken pint glasses

Growlers ashatter

Shards on the floor

Antimatter.

 

The epic upheaval

Caused a blot on the bar,

Blood in the floor drain,

A trip to the ER.

The very next day

When the cyclone was done,

The bartenders

Retended their bar with aplomb.

 

Like nothing happened.

THREE

When the Tree Menaced

Spring, 2021

Forty-five feet up

In a white pine not far from the deck

A broken limb teeters in near perfect balance

Like a tightrope walker’s pole.

“You got a widow maker up there.”

It withstood

The hardscrabble storm of October ‘17

And a half dozen nor’easters since.

 

Now primed to club the earth

At the slightest provocation.

FOUR

When the Brewery Wasn’t Here

2019

Perhaps the brewery was built

On top of an Indian burying ground.

That would explain a lot.

 

Perhaps the brewery was built

At the site of an alien abduction.

That would explain a lot.

 

Actually, the brewery was built

Where minks were raised in cages in the 1950s.

That might explain a few things.

FIVE

When the Cows Crowed

Sometime in 2020

On a run down Middle Road

To clear out the brain

To the place where the friendly herd

Chows down our spent grain,

 

At Sunnyside Farm,

Cows were making quite a fuss –

Mooing, groaning, calling,

Clearly something to discuss.

 

The normally quiet heifers

Caused me to scratch my head,

Could there be a weirdo fungus

In the batch the cows were fed?

 

Then past the sign of Sunnyside,

I upped the running pace.

Wait, did I hear an echo

Of the noisy crowd’s deep bass?

 

The Chadwick cows, just up the road,

Another stoic crew,

Were likewise crowing loudly

Their own deftly coded moo.

 

Though the better of a mile

Stood between the two cow factions

They clearly shared a viewpoint

Of developing infractions.

In charge of field ops and grain,

The captain Chadwick wailer,

Called out to warn the Sunnysides:

Now six head on the trailer!

 

When I drive by slaughterhouse

Or pass the grocery store,

I think about the Chadwick cows,

And the day they went to war.

SIX

When Blood Dripped from the Cold Room Ceiling

October 14, 2021

Ask me sometime.

I am not shitting you.

Slam 4 poster.png