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Ascots, Neckerchiefs, and a Robinson Crusoe-like Hero

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by Zebulon Huset

The Dixie cup or the tumbler?
Picture yourself at a barbeque—
and if you must, that you are one
who isn’t made sad by said affairs—
two napkins: one cloth, one paper;
sun consistently softened by sifty
clouds which only gesture shapes
while yielding maximum blue.
But that’s not important—and
neither is this. This is etiquette.
This is nothing but arbitrariness.
The big this, but also this this.
Ascots, neckerchiefs, these characters—
these semi-controlled scratchings
which mean so much of nothing
on their own—like a man marooned
on a tropical island and never found.
Mainlanders speculate, though
they know somewhere in their
brains that their heart pumps blood
not truth. Because blood is thicker than
maple syrup if the syrup’s, like, super hot.
Or the blood’s begun coagulating.
Mainlanders know their guesses
were keys loosed into the well
rumored to hold a dropped lock.
But they damn well knew an ascot
was worn pinned to a collared shirt
and a neckerchief was informal. Who
wears a neckerchief to a formal
event? Some asshole who wants
to be marooned, that’s who. But—
those ticks on the cave wall,
the bulbous and pointy shapes
like deformed and dismembered
stick figures. What a mystery.

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