portion of the artwork for Jamez Chang's poetry

Tonight, Rhoden Robbins Throws a Fit
Jamez Chang
(inspired by Lewis Buzbee’s “Sunday, Tarzan in His Hammock”)

When Rhoden Robbins holds his Gratitude Rock
up to the audience,
he affirms
this moment, the Power of Now,
the Laws of Attraction that led a thousand fans and followers
to his 500th self-help seminar at the Sheridan.
But by the third PowerPoint slide
he wants to throw water over the burning coals,
masturbate into an oven mitt,
talk dirty and shove a Vision Board up Deepak Chopra’s ass.

He is the bastard love child of Rhonda Byrne and Tony Robbins,
and he wants out of the Family Business.

Yesterday he felt so empowered:
he crafted 37 compliments for Level I students, sold 979
I am Godlike, Too audio books,
adopted his third Vietnamese child,
and visualized                            World Peace for Ron Artest.
He heard all the thank yous, personal testimonials,
how Holosync© Audio Technology had changed their lives,
changed                                    their                                     lives.

All day long Rhoden praised his staff
how cancer was just another state of mind,
that by watching reruns of the Marx Brothers,
they too could convert any
Malignancy into Magnificence™.

But Ideas Fall Apart, the Learning CenterSM cannot hold.

Tonight, Rhoden Robbins thinks,
the Holocaust was not caused by a magnet.
That the Buddha was badly misquoted.
Tonight he wants to spit or swallow,
to tell the crowd
what he really thinks:
Self-help is the cock in Magnolia,
The Secret is its peeping Tom.

So Rhoden turns to the crowd, and the secret is out:
“The Universe doesn’t give a shit!
And the Buddha?
Badly badly misquoted:
All that we are is the result of what we have fucked

over and over and over again!”

He pisses on the hot coals and tells the seekers to
“Please remember to think for yourselves before you leave.”
He hears the sizzling cheers,
from all the faces
he affirmed.

Rhoden will write Chicken Soup for the Atheist’s Soul on sabbatical.
He will remind people to think for themselves
and to be less positive.
At eight o’clock Rhoden Robbins spoke at the Charlatan.
At nine o’clock he threw his Gratitude away.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 39 | Winter 2013