consuelacooks

cooking, poetry, and unapologetic intense moments in a life

Category: Poem

Coke cans and Swiss cake rolls

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When I was six I decided to run.
So I made a plan  for a decent getaway.
Saint Peter’s uniform was really more of a jumper.
A plaid v stemming from my waist and covering my shoulders.
I had not yet mastered buttons,so no undershirt was applied.
I could not reach the sock drawer, and did not yet
know how to tie more than one criss-cross
So shoes were moot too, I was sure.
I retrieved a hefty bag from under the sink,
and kissed each stuffed animal as I plunged them into the plastic.
I went to the soda drawer, figuring I would need at least a six pack
I had miles to go after all, and a new life to start.
It was heavy, and I knew it. I packed light after that–
only pringles and some swiss cake rolls.

It was a sad thought, leaving everyhting I’d ever known,
But we are all writing our own book, and I knew
I couldn’t take this for much longer.
Who could?

I said goodbye to my Mother’s door. I would miss her.
I could hear him snoring off the Scotch, still.
I thought of Christmas coming, and maybe I would miss presents.
I welled up at this, but knew I had to follow through.

Into the night I went. No shoes, no shirt, and a Catholic School jumper.
My hefty bag of supplies to carry me into the new world.
I stepped out into the hot Ybor night, brave.
The humidity licked my face, reminding me of the coming sunrise.

It must have been a couple of hours before Mother found me sleeping
a street over, in a neighbor’s convertible. I had stopped to
momentarily rest, seeing the plush back seat.
My bag ripped when I had to start dragging it, only a few houses away from my own
and gave my mom the trail of stuffed animals, coke cans, and swiss cake rolls
that led her to my oasis.

I didn’t know how many more hefty bags I would fill by 44.
I didn’t know how welcoming a plush oasis felt.
words wash welts and whelping clean away.
And Summer makes it all new again in Memphis.

 

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May, 2018

you always loved, despite the art
the impetuous
the impoverished
loved the submissive, smaller, quieter version

made regular retreats to holy landings
awash with dolls, records, bad dinners, and holocaust
replete with sanitizer, blood, spinal fluid, and remorse

we couldn’t find that signal
looking, days, mornings, fire, from behind
in crevasses, tantrums, fantasies and heroic feats
of cosplay she-roes, of mystical magical beasts.

You went down slow, imperceptible.
Carrying the porous bones through sand
wishing them lighter, but more important
wanting a simpler story
for us, you said.

catcalls and dance halls,
you took me in ecstatic arms
and showed me what forbidden was
in the mist of the midst of
that ocean sadness, that Mack truck of

fuck, I can’t.
I need to fly, you know?
I won’t endure the thumb
or the girl boy her they him madness

love me, and see my dark rooms
all I ask, is twenty seconds of this
thirty or more, and I’m done
whisper your prophecy so only I will hear.

And say my name, sweet, sweet one.
Sing it like a howling Memphis

July heat.

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Tami Sawyer said

memphis-statues-come-downTami Sawyer said

So we start again.
Nathan and Jefferson came down.
The newspaper said,
“Mayor Strickland, City Council and city attorneys deserve much credit for their years of patient persistence.”

(A pause to let it sink in who was credited for the win)

Tami Sawyer said,
“–they felt they were superior to black people and their treatment of black people was odious at best, no matter what Nathan Bedford Forrest did when he got dementia. Don’t Give A fuck, and you can print that. ”

(A pause to let it sink in who was responsible for this win)

And before they came down, she said,
“I don’t care what happens to them. If you pull them down and they turn to dust, I’m sorry. People want me to be politically correct about it, but I do not care as long as they no longer stand in the city of Memphis.”

(A pause for you to consider who was responsible for the longevity of these statues casting shadows on children)

It turns out we don’t need a Delorean for time travel
just a flight delay, a scent on midday breeze.
A plush pillow with a thread bare
a freckled kid with an AR-15
a random Memphis flurry on a cold morning
looking into the shooter’s den at the Lorraine
staring at the beautiful barista who looks like Erykah Badu
dancing with family at a night club, then praying for your life

Let’s get back to wildness in this year.
Talking back, taking back, taking the opportunity cry out against
a hooded man who calls hismself supreme, forgetting his pseudoscience
when he unknowingly sings that Marvin Gaye song
to his silenced manicured fearful Stepford wife
before performing the fornication that he believes will spawn
the dominant race.

Let’s wear defiance like a wound that when opened strikes the bigots blind
paint Memphis like Kehinde Wiley would
Languorous, wealthy in fabrics, grace
Melanin in swirls, libidinous in words, grace
Let our lens be warped for hope
we are the new world.

You, poets, write a man, gynic, maverick, fertile and bursting
You, poets, echo a woman, jock, gallant, resolute, full with new life
You, workers, create a tactile masterpiece of rage,
then keep it from those who want it, need it.
You, Queers and Queens, parade your music of the spheres,
teach us your bloom, your elegance
You Spartans, sharpen your swords, and your pens. It’s time.
You, students, walk out and let them know you are done
being fucking afraid to learn

We mix our bloods in our babies making rainbows,
both antidote, chemical warfare
We, two-fisted, pound our history into the backs of those
who, head-hidden, die off like chanting raptors
ripe for the welcoming rebirth of earth that will only remember them
as fertilizer for hydrangeas.

The cynics say there is an art to stocking the cache.
Reaping repose and required wealth with a click.
Substituting stuff for status, serving rapacity before the homeless
Serving rapacity before those who are differing shades
of brown, black, cocoa, tawny, fawn, ginger, amber
Before those who love differently, learn differently, worship differently
Forgetting mouths, hands, bodies, that serve,
forgetting that they are strong,
forgetting the danger of
thier inherent and righteous brilliance.

You fill your mouths, coffers; the artists in avarice.
You have no idea what is coming.

The bridge still stands, majestic.
The statues are coming down, Delta town.
The poets still go to the theatre, the welfare, the doctor, and the judge
and we sing a song of
judicious enchantment.
A song of glory now,
and surely glory to come.

 

twenty and six

Zooming through some hill-town we were invincible
dirty Berkshire kids loving company who could talk Shakespeare,
love, loss, and the best dance music.

Zooming in that emergency room we knew it was coming
the inevitable snip rendering an absence
it created space, though. We all knew it would.

A righteous anger blanketed us in some Maine town.
You had sealed that deal with a tequila shot
a kiss, a flower, and a promise.

We played football in the snow.
We built fires.
On time went, and distance crowded into some car and went.

Winter’s tale-like years passed.
A call, a drive, a union, warriors, changing everything
and we were Southern, perfect and thick in cats.

Delicious pines dotted days of wars,
paintings of memories, and ice storms
that tree divided your house, brought love in three to my flat.

But the cats fought.
The neighbors complained.
And again, snip snip went my brain.

In the midst, some cousin made love to me
laughing, blatantly, unapologetic-ally rife
with mischief, then roses.

Again, space was made, we filled it with birthdays
walks and talks and locks on doors
that only we held keys to.

We all went to school
We sat in cafes, singing loud
We wept, fumed, sighed and lived wide.

I fell off the world awhile
There was too much escaping and I couldn’t find my feet
I lost play, I lost love, I lost mirrors and beauty

When the heartbeat ceased a moment
I saw the three of us in that amphitheatre
40 kids battling at agincort

I wasn’t done, I guess.
We all weren’t.
There are still records to listen to.

Zooming to Memphis
we came to the compound
we played, talked a little

I saw more cats, more fire
the creations, sublime, you two molded
in observation and questions- your best art.

We had a meal again.
Again, it was all shifting for me.
My feet were hazy, nearly gone, but the shadow was all.

The sunset reminded me we were young.
And so it was.
It was all right.

At least it was for me.
There’s an equal elegance to sadness, joy.
I’ve always known. I had to admit it, though.

It’s raining in Memphis,
so don’t zoom.
Take the road easy and make sure to breathe.

You all know I’m here, same as it ever was.
Still short, still unsure, still the worker bee.
Still pushing, shoving, defiant and scared, but

My feet are in full view.

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Flurry, Memphis 2018

So we start again.
It turns out we don’t need a Delorean for time travel
Just a flight delay, or a scent on a midday breeze.
A plush pillow with a thread bare
or a random Memphis flurry on a cold morning
(Brings me back to laughing in the Berkshires
in some house in some hill town
recovering from some deviant switchback
and becoming pure again.)

Let’s get back to wildness in this year.
Talking back, taking back,
and wearing defiance like a leopard-print thong.
We are like the women in Mucha,
Languorous, wealthy in fabrics, grace
Sex in swirls, libidinous in our words
Our lens is warped for hope
we are the new world.

We write a man, gynic, fertile and bursting
We write a woman, jock, gallant, resolute
We mix our bloods in our babies making rainbows
We, two-fisted, pound our history into the backs of those
who, head-hidden, die off like white-hooded raptors
ripe for the welcoming rebirth of earth that will only remember them
as fertilizer for hydrangeas.

We close our eyes and let go.

The cynics say there is an art to stocking the cache.
Reaping repose and required wealth with a click.
Substituting stuff for status, serving rapacity before the homeless
Filling mouths, coffers; the artists in avarice.

The bridge still stands, majestic.
The statues are coming down, Delta town.
The rock stars still go to the theatre, and we sing a song of
judicious enchantment.

A search for soul, worship and welcomed weakness in the new year.

mucha-advertising-monaco-monte-carlo-1897-dvdbash.jpg

12:06 AM, Irma, Fire and Verona.

It’s 12:06 Am and there are quiet hours at Gatito Vito’s salon except
there is no quiet to be had, but vague ethnicity and troubled
dreamers wondering where supper is next week and where the
next handshake will emerge in this orange drowned town north of Mississip-

And fire burns and ash churns and so many foxes and hawks find silence
in cubbyholes and sand traps made for scorpions but now they house
refugees of fur and far and hope and wet and the new world in spades
and Trump(s) and storms, cataclysms, conundrums, holes of comfort.

There are not enough water bottles to sell, enough aid, not enough
purifiers, too many diapers to hold feces, piss of fleeing babes,
not enough gas to fuel the flying multitudes. It is dangerous, you know.
The storm will come, you know. It is here. IT IS PRESENT. It’s now the

bedfellow you needed to look in the eye, only the electric is gone and
the water is red with cruiser escapes filmed for the pleasure of
so many internet wanderers, and they know their time is limited, so
precious this time they have to bear witness to it all, bone and marrow,

and we write each others’ books, we do. Like some kind of Victorian
journalist, bearded and boheme. Finding the chinks, the holes. and
calling it all for scandal. It’s a business, these days, the scandal.
it’s all we can do to keep up, to sleep and strum, to remain upright and

here we are, at the cusp of eternity wondering who we can be in the wake of it
all, is all, is some, and we love each other don’t we? Don’t we? Or rather yet,
Do we hope for the moment we understand melody again? Do we pine to wake
and know that we have become enough, and the screen is safe to close?

Your body surges with the cancer, looking for a sweet spot, and you, warrior, let it
know the eye is near, and it will have to stay the interest until Tuesday. You
smooth tiny Evan’s hair with promise as you board windows, knowing the wind
cannot rival this year, this trial, this manifest of scars. It is a day, a week of

wheat from chafe, light from stark, wonder from womb, and tender lullabies.

 

Today there was Tea

Today there was tea.
Some lavender, a few magnolia blooms, a siren and a song of sorrow.
It steeped with fever, waiting for the moment
It slipped into the cup, subtly steaming
with fog of uncertainty, ultramarine
It blinded her as she sipped,
accompanied by the Memphis Sun.

This day curled, doleful in her dressed lap
Purred with necessity, yawned with thirst
Blinked in the same Sunbeam,
Forgetting the smell of Maine Solstice
the taste of  Midsummer madness in the barn.

She drank it down, only wincing a bit
at the scattershot sensation happening inside
her petite mouth.
Brown, red, and smooth,
The dregs spelled
SYMPHONY.
and
SERVICE.

Startled, she bounced slightly, purging her lap of her familiar.
She was left with only the Sunbeam,
this Delphic message,
and the aftertaste of sorrow, tart, like Ohio Blackberries.

Her lap, still warm with need of rain.
Cooled by the Four O’Clock Tennessee breeze.

 

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Painting by Rob Hefferan

 

Holy, Holy in the Magnolia Tree

I cannot act with prudence, or temperance,
Guileless innocence, forgetting the incidents
the compounding fractures of chapters growing backwards
cheek staining battleground pounds, the whitest noise
The whitest noise,

Illinois was the leap, so steep and such a snowy night
I saw three angels on the roof, they asked in earnest
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US?
WE CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH.
The snow was such a soft touch when I climbed the roof and flew
Next thing I knew, next thing I knew
There were two in blue, one on each arm,
That collar was stiff and warm
The lights were like crazy Thracian birds,
They whirred in my head, concussed
chattering how snow was too soft for the higher purpose
I failed at this ultimate act, the two in blue an accessory after the fact
I was so sad I couldn’t care less that Chicago was so damn pretty
That night. I thought of, was thinking of, the flashes of laps and
Pabst and old man laughs and currency for
love by commitees, they would come by committee.

by committees they came, in prides and
congregations they came, in murders they came,
in colonies, cultures, clouds,
braces and broods and bevies and beds
convocations, catches, skeins,
shoals, swarms, smacks and salts
feral parliament of manged dogs
into Florida house in the night

light fades, It faded, I was called for,
I floated in, above, and watched the swelling scene unfold
AND THERE I WAS! there I am
REALLY TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM.
Or two. Or five. Stay alive, Stay alive. Just stay alive
Stay alive little one, or grow some teeth.

Sink beneath the flash and pomp.
Feel cool Saint Petersburg breeze,
the smell of the VW bus
the thrill of the sprinkler on July days
Count the pennies, but slowly, slowly.

Holy, holy in the poetry
Holy Holy in the wait
Holy Holy in Magnolia Tree
Holy Holy operate

this machine with caution, it’s a clever
cunning beast, It can float and flee
Weep and growl, squeal with glee, roar with love,
be silent as the grave, never caving, carving life from
tree husks with success, feeling in excess, but less apt
to be trapped than any other little girl.

Handle with care, she said.
Kid gloves and kid fears
are key.
I still see the grass wave in wind like you.
I  can taste the difference
between a peach on Tuesday and a peach on Sunday.
I know what’s up.

And the house of my childhood was made of glass,
each several window blown sugar,
each strand of sugar spider webs,
each web the finest dew line,
each dew line the stuff of Abbadonian dreams


I want to fly this place, but I can’t.
I’ve got beautiful babies coming to some class somewhere
To talk of witch trials or thundercats,
-which flavor of blow pop is superior
which Roman was right in killing Caesar

I want to fly this place but I can’t
I’ve got shit to do and a flock of friends
We head into battle with thin air for weapons
Doing some other sort of flight fight
And shaving peach fuzz off of Salem
Going into the woods with Tituba
Finding a snake and naming it McCarthy
And filling the theatres with men
Who could’ve sold our skin in gross, but wouldn’t dare.

I want to fly this place but I can’t,
so I’ll keep
donning the shoes and
Running I guess.
laughing when inappropriate.
And being absolute.

Sometimes it’s breath I hold
Sometimes you
Other things include music, pans, mail and soap
A skull in a graveyard
Or the bird that is made of glass
(I have to be very careful, you see)
And I don’t really understand where it ALL comes from- this courage
Some birth I guess – some haircut brainwash toothbrush
Some late night fit of artistic dune painting or
Maybe a ring around the posy, rosy, red, or finger
Maybe it’s the wail of fire trucks
the man I speak Hindi to, the sun through the trees
Perhaps the feel of my Step father’s hand as I rub out the pins and needles-
Those plague him after the surgeries.

Maybe it’s so simple that it won’t be named in any
chump piece of a poem-
Maybe it’s so secretive, we don’t have a file on it
Maybe this bravery is some DNA
floating in some thigh bone
deep in the center of me with all the women who came before-
The ones who fought the war and took back
The kingdom God gave us as a safehouse,
this lockdown, this red hold, inviolable,
this invulnerable fortress we were divinely bestowed
to provide the nectarous beating home
for our tender beloved babies to grow

You know,
Stay alive was the mantra,
stay alive,stay alive,
sweet girls just stay alive.
and count the pennies slow, slow.

Holy, holy in the Magnolia Tree.

 

How many synonyms are there for affection?

On a Saturday morning, effortless
We were 18 year-old forty somethings.
unmistakable giggles
stories of bloodsheds and watersheds
bedheads, retreads, some reds and blues and my God
the unsaid, the apparent, the ready the resonance.
The path of the empath, the love swelling scenes of midnights and
florida forlorn kids, pounding those warrior days with
what it took to keep breathing amidst the certain uncertainties that
left us breathless, those crazy albatross pains
the colic of adolescence, the way we wove
our secrets into each day
and let them set with humid sun, burning in
shades of city and wreck.

Our sides were burning with want, all of us.
All we knew was heat and water, spaceships and tree swings.
We were bred for this. This. This
shade of indigo. some desire of the unmapped, the
Chartless seduction submerged in the
sweetest trust of childhood playfellows
now with the most minute of wrinkle lines.
the new breath of honey
A lexis of kisses, lost loves,
car payments and some self-examination:
really the only true distance, you know?
I can’t explain the pull, I don’t need to.
The propulsion, palpable, makes it easy.
The conversation, easier.
The same eyes, mouth, and laugh
The history of us, the heart journey to Mercury,
Mars, Africa, Eden, Abyss of
trying to figure the fucking thing out.
the solid ground under our feet we can stand on
hearing a familiar voice, (one I adore)
without losing  balance
without trying to qualify why we find it comfortable to stand still.
why it’s enough to understand the shape of your hand
and remember it in mine while singing together
on some stage at 16 feeling our feet under us, even then.
Even then, even now, the ease is all.
The curiosity is filling the cat.
Willing travel, and a feeling of flutters.
A thought of a what-if-butterfly kiss
a hand solidly resting on the low of my back.
a slow dance in some music hall, or a walk in the rain.
or maybe, just a hunt of Memphis Town, and a friendly tour guide.
I really don’t have any idea what this urge is.
I’m not going to question. I’m not going to shove it down.

The clearest expectation for us all now is to stay alive until we don’t, and find each others’ eyes. We find the hand and hold it tight for dear life, because by God, it’s time. We laugh and eat days and nights, and sing songs loud.

All else is time, and all is all.
And it’s short, you know?
how we touch, how we hide, where we can get to, and where we are to go.
the thing is, mostly of most,
to admire someone and wish them with you
is to see the underside of the Gods.
The places they secret away for the most amorous and best mortals
The ones who will carry on the work of
loving like they did, the Gods,
The demigods. The deities, The Titans, the giants, and the poets.
With Athenian chastity,
The patience of Daphnis and Chloe, waiting for the storm, wishing to be whole
Writing us, sans plot
Charting the path with Artemis-like precision,
(Catch and release, catch and release)
We imagine the Aphrodite in us, sweet friend.
Thirty years seem to speak volumes in the silence.

Or perhaps just a day, a breath of what it feels to be home.
laying on that stage.
staring up, looking at our broken lights,
wishing we were more in control of our life, our bodies
wishing for a slower dance, another field trip
another bus ride, another chance to sing songs
in the chorus room at lunch.

Maybe we are just laying on the stage again.
Humming songs in seraphic harmony
Getting those goosebumps we did
When we knew that our sounds,
mine and yours,
made us more immortal than any God
more beautiful than a Magnolia,
bursting in wet bloom.
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Two years of a march (Portland, Pulse, Memphis, the Sun)

It was nine in the morning that first year
JJ and I had tied one on, dancing with beautiful women
Deep into coastal night
(only after walking into that curious little store with many rooms)
I walked the Mile, flowers in hair, colors of the rainbow.

I loved all of us. The sea. CALL JOE blazing on the time and temperature sign.
And it was there in the bed of a truck.
It was slick and shiny, blazing rainbows in all directions.
I was new, but you wouldn’t know it. We all had a job.

Just unraveling it took an hour. Hundreds helped.
It covered the whole square and then some.

It smelled of coffee, revolution.
late-night fits of artistic frenzy.
The AIDS epidemic. Harvey Milk.
Brandon Teena. Matthew Shepard.
Backstreet Cafe. Otherside. Upstairs.
Augusta. Montreal. West Virginia. Moscow.

By touch you could feel Dale McCormick, Gia, Nancy.
Baldwin, Polis, Frank. Michaud. Maloney.
You could feel the tangent of hatred interwoven, turned to deep blues.

You could taste Portland rigor. The sweat of activism.
The nerve, the nerve of this tiny town in the whitest of states.
The Oddysean journey for voice and a patch of land.
40 blizzards, a kiss, the grace given by old white men to marry.
A child was cradled there too. Surrounded by love, and the purest of songs.

We carried it, danced under it, wept into it.
Let go of it for another year.

The second year there were different names.
Stanley Almodovar III, age 23
Amanda Alvear, 25
Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
Martin Benitez Torres, 33
Antonio D. Brown, 30
Darryl R. Burt II, 29
Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
Luis D. Conde, 39
Cory J. Connell, 21
Tevin E. Crosby, 25
Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50
Deonka D. Drayton, 32
Mercedez M. Flores, 26
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
Juan R. Guerrero, 22
Paul T. Henry, 41
Frank Hernandez, 27
Miguel A. Honorato, 30
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
Jason B. Josaphat, 19
Eddie J. Justice, 30
Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25
Christopher A. Leinonen, 32
Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49
Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35
Akyra Monet Murray, 18
Kimberly Morris, 37
Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27
Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
Eric I. Ortiz-Rivera, 36
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24
Xavier E. Serrano Rosado, 35
Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, 25
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
Shane E. Tomlinson, 33
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
Luis S. Vielma, 22
Luis D. Wilson-Leon, 37
Jerald A. Wright, 31

We carried that flag amidst SWAT teams.
We were not afraid, but really, we still looked.
Over shoulder, behind.
The police did too. We all were reminded of how
the carrying of this, this symbol
this mantra, this, this multitude
is a blessing, a gift, and act of extreme love
it’s so threatening, really.
All those rainbows and hearts, all the beautiful people,
screaming with pride and adoration for their bodies,
their beats, their bravado, their babies.
More terrifying than bombs, it seems. Scarier than the rapture itself, it seems.
This love is infectious, liberal, whole.

Run for the hills, they are coming. And they are probably well dressed.

A year more, and in Memphis I sit calmly, not knowing my town.
feeling smaller than before. Feeling subdued.
Without the invincibility of Portland.
Without the ocean, stripped of the joyful nights of that town.
But I know what it is to rebuild, by God I do know that.
But I do think I want to feel it in my fingers again.
That gorgeous emblem. My friend’s hand in mine.
The awe and majesty of it all. The many tears wept in vigil.
The candle of protest dripping wax onto my palm.

Well, at least we know there are people available for impeachment.
they wave another flag, wear different hoods in secrecy.
There are injustices that still appall,
and poverties beyond imagining.
Right. Here.
Right in this 901 snatchy homeland of the blues.
So it’s time to get back to fucking work I guess,
and leave the pining for some other whiny freckled short girl.
Roll up the sleeves, and write some anthems.
No rest for the lonely, they say.
and for the wicked, it is only a matter of time.
There’s shit to do, and parks to clean.
Kids who don’t eat.
The action is all. It’s like molasses here,
but the guns are quick, the hunger quicker, the trafficking quickest,

the homicide meter running.

so, dignitaries, I’ll see you on the court.
make sure to bring a snack.

 

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