A Steady Recline

by Bill Richardson

Written and Performed on the Occasion of the Gabriola Arts Council’s The Chair Affair – January 31, 2015

for Shelagh Rogers

 

James visited the local mall, one fragrant day in June,

Cloud-like in his loneliness, and drifting at his ease.

He’d latterly retired, he would sleep till nearly noon,

Then breakfast at the Food Fare, something Thai or Japanese.

 

The mall was undistinguished, it was verging on the dour:

A Walmart, a computer joint, a low-rent bath boutique.

Here were no emporia to lure the connoisseur:

Most were merely links in chains; but one store was unique.

 

“Harold’s Fine Home Furnishings: An Independent Store,

Serving Our Community For Fifty Years With Pride.”

James had passed by often, but had never stopped before,

Never been intrigued to see what wonders were inside.

 

But on the day of which I speak – in June, as you’ll recall –

James, while on his practiced path ‘twixt parking lot and chow,

Stopped to check out Harold’s while he motored through the mall:

Paused to browse and felt God’s thumbprint press upon his brow.

 

For there among the sofas and the consoles and settees

And bibelots of interest to interior designers,

And there among the hutches and the trays for serving cheese

Was row on row on row on row of La-Z-Boy recliners.

 

“Holy Doodle,” James exclaimed. He thought his heart might fail –

Had he had digitalis, he’d have promptly popped a pill in –

He felt like some Arthurian knight who’d grasped the Holy Grail,

Like Banting meeting insulin, or Fleming penicillin.

 

His appetite had vanished with his Protestant reserve.

He brazenly advanced upon the model labeled “Basic.”

The staff was elsewhere occupied, and James was unobserved,

In the throes of first-sight love, essentially aphasic.

 

Now James’s life to date had been a long way from monastic,

He wasn’t Rip Van Winkle, narcoleptic in the sticks,

He hadn’t been from La-Z-Boys entirely abstracted:

The only explanation was, he’d just turned sixty-six.

 

A saintly and ecstatic cast was stamped on James’s face:

He felt the swift annealing of his spirit’s gaping schism.

The rocker seized his bottom in a passionate embrace,

As though he were the main man in a movie set in prison.

 

And this was just the Basic Chair. Its repertoire, though small,

Was nonetheless sufficient for a tugging of the rug

Beneath his feet and James, before he knew it, was enthralled:

The Basic Chair, for La-Z-Boy, is but the gateway drug.

 

The back goes down, the legs go up: in sum, it’s rudimentary.

But James was done, he’d pitched his tent at ruination’s junction.

The path of his trajectory was crude and elementary:

Remote control, then heated seat, then vibratory function.

 

In yellow woods, two roads diverged: he chose the wrong direction,

And, free of moral compass, passed the point of satiation.

Surveillance tapes subjected by police to close inspection

Showed how man plus chair can sometimes total consummation.

 

James received a lifetime ban from Harold’s Fine Home Furnishings:

The evidence was plentiful, the tapes were far from hazy.

James swore up and down that they’d enjoyed consensual skirmishing

The chair reclined, did not decline, and never once seemed “lazy.”

 

In French, by way of wrapping up, the word for flesh is “chair.”

La chair est faible: flesh is weak when sin and skin co-mingle.

If James had stayed awake in French, he might have been prepared:

The grave temptations “de la chair” are moot when you’re bilingual.

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