postmortemWelcome to the next installment of Poetry Post-Mortem. People commonly ask writers and poets where we get our ideas. Usually, it’s a pretty convoluted process and my personal answer is usually a shrug and an adamant “I dunno.” But, occasionally… rarely… I can actually give an easy concrete answer as to where an idea came from and how it developed. The subject of today’s post is “Cereal Serial” from my first collection, See No Evil, Say No Evil.

This one had a very specific inspiration and point of origin: A sketch from The Kids in the Hall.

It’s that line that stuck with me. “Gonna need a whole lotta milka.” So I stole it. And it cocoa krispiesbecame the starting point for the rest of the poem. As far as jumping off points go, I’d say that’s not a bad source to borrow from.

As I explored the cereal theme, I found I needed to go with Rice Krispies. They made noise, they had excellent mascots, and they were a wonderful tool, since they had the two flavors, regular and cocoa, that could stand in for the yin and yang I needed for the piece.

spockFinally, I had to take those three characters and mold them to my idea of good and evil. To do that, I had to call on the ultimate illustration of good and evil: Mr. Spock from the “Mirror, Mirror” episode.

Put it all together and you have a geek stew of a poem. It was accepted by and appeared there in 2004.




Cereal Serial

Part I

Bathed in the dull yellow
First thing in the a.m.
Of the open refrigerator door
Gonna need a lot of
Open the kitchen cupboard,
Look past one box,
And finally reach up
And pull down the
Box emblazoned with the visage of
Saint SNAP!
Flanked by the apostles Crackle! and Pop!
Combined with the milk
“Be a good person” they whisper
“Love your fellow man” they advise
and I lean closer.
From the still open cabinet
Tony the Tiger Glares and says

Cereal Serial

Part II

There are the mornings,
Dark, lonely
When just the puffy rice isn’t enough
When I need other counsel
And I reach under the sink
Grabbing the package
Unwrapping, unveiling
Until I can see Saint Snap’s
Evil twin on the box of
Cocoa Crispies
He looks like his good brother
For the dark, thin goatee and
Arched eyebrows
(Actually, I drew those
in with a marker myself)
I dump the cereal in the
The milk I pour over them
Turns dark immediately
Pure thoughts evaporate
And my day is off
I’ll be helping no old ladies
Across the street today.