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May 27, 2024

Too Muchness

By Charlie Brice

Too Muchness
After, "Muchness," a poem by Tony Hoagland

Judy and I appear before the Edgewood Borough Council,
petition that august body for a variance
to enclose our dilapidated porch. We sit behind
a barrier that resembles a communion railing,

listen as the fanatically thin council secretary,
hair so crewcut, glasses so wire-rimmed,
she could have shot a Czar in 1917 --
this woman reads our petition as if it were

a codicil to the Communist Manifesto:
"The Brices hereby request the Borough
of Edgewood for a five-foot variance
so as to enclose a dilapidated porch."

Our four-hundred-pound Council President --
road-tar hair, double-breasted suitcoat, lips
that mourn their missing cigar -- asks if any
witnesses are present. Our neighbor, Pat Doyle,

raises his hand. "State your testimony," orders
Mr. Double-Breasted. "I attest," Pat proclaims,
"that the Brice's porch is dilapidated." After
a whispered conference with Ms. Soviet Union,

the portly president wraps his sausage fingers
around a tiny gavel and brings it down.
Capitalism's local captain proclaims,
"The variance is approved," at which point

my sweet wife flies past me wearing her
Jewish basketball referee pants -- gold glittered
capris streaked with long black stripes --
and, unbidden, addresses the Council:

"Here's what I want to do with the porch,"
she chortles, and begins, I fear, to talk
Mr. Poundage and his shorn revolutionary Portia
out of what they'd just granted us. They might

take the "wood" out of Edgewood by the time
she's done. But the huge man has irrevocably tipped
the scales of justice in our favor. And so
it came to be that our enclosed porch,

lined with stained glass Chagalls,
adorned with skylights designed by Judy,
today cocoons our home, sunrayed
on this wooded edge of love.

Article © Charlie Brice. All rights reserved.
Published on 2019-05-06
Image(s) are public domain.
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