Riley welch is a poet from texas living in colorado. She posts three original poems a week. 

Favorite Fridays

This weeks poem is from my good friend and fantastic writer Chris Vanjonack. I found this poem to be quite clever, as most of his work is.

A Shore Thing


One warm summer night, I find myself sitting on the couch. One set of eyes glued to the television set. And despite my better judgment—and supposed intellectual restraint, and supposed 21st century, post-modern, post-consumerism, post everything mindset—I find myself watching an infomercial. But it is not just any infomercial. It is an infomercial I have seen before. It is an infomercial repeat. And so as I am sitting there—not watching, really just absorbing all the ways in which a rainbow sponge has superior absorption—ring-a-ling-ding the telephone rings and the second that I take the phone off the hook—literally down to the millisecond probably—Perry Pullman starts talking as fast as anyone has a right to speak and maybe faster.

So he’s like, “Hey man. Hey. What’s hip? What’s happening? You know lately, I’ve been thinking. And that thing that I’ve been thinking is that we’ve all been doing too much thinking. So let’s go out tonight. Go have a good time. The girls, they’re down to clown down to make a couple mistakes. There’s talk of going to the beach to play a game of beach volleyball or to sit around some campy campfire telling campy ghost stories, but see you know that even if we go for something as innocuous as a campfire that eventually some terrible idea will be crowd-sourced into existence—something to do with drunken water skiing or burying ourselves alive or probably skinny dipping—yeah that’s it, probably skinny dipping.

And that we’ll have a good time, yeah that’s a sure thing, but then there’s this thing about the shore that we’re not really sure about, because the beach that we go to where we dip our skinny bodies feel an awful lot like the beach from Jaws. And we only ever saw the first ten minutes but those first ten minutes had enough ten minutes of some pretty teenage girl being torn to absolute shit by some great white shark to make us all reconsider our nakedly false assumption that swimming nakedly might go in any way positively.

And the guys they all know this but the girls they’re all horny, and so when the topic gets brought up and is subsequently shut down they will all moan and groan:  ‘Oh stop being boring, and let’s all of us go and take off our socks and shoes and shirts and skirts and dip our naked bodies in the cold ocean water.’

As they get to that last part—that last part being the part about taking out their naked parts—they will purse their lips and push out their chests and run their fingers flirtatiously through their hair because there is peer pressure and then there is pants pressure—pants pressure being the pressure that is put onto pants when enough blood flows down to some lower appendage. So we guys we’ll all stand there—and we’ll just be totally erect, totally turned on, totally tentpoled—but even we will resist and stall by saying, ‘Hey, maybe later, lest we get torn to shit by some shark, piranha or gator.’

But the girls—they won’t take no for an answer—and so they’ll push on by saying, ‘Oh come on now pussies, don’t be such pussy cats—all afraid of the water. Go ahead and whip out Neil Patrick Penis or Edgar Allen Penis or whatever hip, clever thing you’ve been calling your penis, and nut up and shrivel up
In the cold ocean water.’

So we guys, we’ll all shrug, and drop chow on our trousers, and begin our baton death march into the cold ocean water. And in the movies, whenever young people go skinny dipping, it’s always romantic, and intimate and all together sexy. But see the thing about us is that we’re not any of us sexy and the thought of each other nude and exposed and unclothed is an odd one that’s not altogether sexy.  And for a good half hour or so, we’ll probably all just bob around coughing and awking and averting our eyes from one another, and then one by one we’ll one by one drag ourselves out of the water, dry ourselves off, and leave without saying good night. Yeah, and that’ll be it. That’ll be our night.”

And then for the first time in our quote-unquote conversation—in which I have managed to squeeze remarkably few words—Perry Pullman takes a moment, and pauses, sighing. And because of how fast he talks and how he talks so fast, that moment feels like a millennium before he finally he concludes by saying: “We’ll all wish we’d been attacked by great white sharks and torn to shit and torn to shreds because at least then we’d have a story out of it. You know no one likes stories where nothing really happen.”

Perry Pullman hangs up the phone and I hang up mine and go back to the infomercial. After watching it for a few more minutes, I consider leaning over and picking up the land line and calling in to order a rainbow sponge, but of course I don’t, because really, who was the energy to do much of anything?

Los Feliz

Gospel and Guacamole