The Laugh and Smile of Blue Paint

Humor Demands Distance
by Gabriel Ricard

Comedy requires common sense hang.
Wit means painting all the soup cans blue.

She’s a rebel, rebel, (yeah, yeah),
and everyone is too uncomfortable
to disagree with her.

Her childhood took up seventy-nine separate acts.
Twenty-hour ballerina classes spent trying not to get pregnant.

She doesn’t write about it,
or about running Manhattan for ten full minutes,
so people tend to hear about her circumstances naturally.

Hearing tragic stories by accident! Jesus! The horror!
Fuck yourself blind! Write a letter with a fistful of paint!

She wears her hair like Mabel Normand,
and only puts on a coat when she’s half-sick to complete death
of keeping things to herself.

Wake up. Beg down. Buy some good weed
from the grief-stricken serial killer at the 7-11.5.

Visit South of the Border,
and then tell everybody that the situation in Mexico
is worse than anything they’ve seen or read.

She falls in love with semi-pro cult journalists,
steals their parents’ good vodka
and drinks it from the paper cups
found in all agreeable hotel lobbies.

Blood-alcohol levels are for those who like a little science
to go with whether or not they torched a cop car.
If they might have married the bottom half of a horse costume.

Grocery shopping takes up hours of her airborne days.
She can still dance to the same five songs from the August 1995 playlist.
She licks what’s left of the cashier from her fingers.
She robs JROTC kids with candy bars
pressed against the back of their wooden necks.

And her mental health has never been better.

Her psyche doctor is from the collapsed, detrimental old-school.
He smokes lights. Empty packages all over his office.

Pills are administered in sealed envelopes,
but he throws in a few candy hearts
for the sake of personality.

She’s the only one who ever laughs at that,
because his usual clients are too busy
trying to slip through the bars on the windows.

Bake your loose screws into a pie, bring it to a cakewalk,
win the impromptu pie-throwing contest,
and then make an obvious joke to someone about life
not being as easy as everyone would like it to be.

She paints the soup cans blue.
Demands love for fifteen minutes of every hour.
Took rubber bullets to the stomach in Oakland one time.

Found eighty grand in unknown poker chips
in a Wal-Mart shopping bag at Union Station.

Ask her about it, stupid.
She’ll just smile
and maybe take fifteen minutes away from you.

It’s as good as capitalism is gonna get these days.


Gabriel Ricard is a writer, editor, and actor. He is a contributor with Cultured Vultures, an editor with Kleft Jaw Press, and the Film Department Editor with Drunk Monkeys. He lives in Oregon. His first book “Clouds of Hungry Dogs” is available at and


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I am a dreamer, as well as a doer, who lives in the North Georgia mountains. I started my publishing journey August of 2013, have had moderate success, but my utmost passion is my "daytime" job, which is working with adults who are constantly striving to better their lives as they obtain the GED credential.

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