KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Poem: 439 words [R]

Jimmy Gets Invited to His First
Tea Party Meeting

by Jimmy Pappas

Jimmy wants to make a good impression and become friends 
with all his neighbors, so he brings along his best china, 
you know, the ones made out of bones or something 
with the hand-painted blue floral designs your rich uncle 
gave you when you got married only to be stuffed away 
in a cardboard box for the next twenty years wrapped 
in newspaper and brought out on special occasions like 
when the boss comes over to visit or when your fancy 
ass former best friend who retired to Arizona after making 
a killing on the stock market drops by just to say hello 
and check out how the other side of the world is making out 
and regale everyone with golfing stories and all the problems 
he is facing trying to keep his lawn green and your smile 
gets frozen until your biggest worry is someone will ask 
So what do you think, Jimmy? and you haven’t got a freaking 
clue as to what anyone is talking about any more since your 
mind went blank about fifteen minutes ago in the conversation 
and then there’s that tiny chip on one of the cups, you know, 
the one you need a magnifying glass to spot and every single 
time the tea set is brought out you need to hear the newest 
version of how Jimmy screwed up and chipped off a piece 
when he lost track of all mindfulness in the moment and ruined 
our best china as if Jimmy were responsible for each and every 
problem the world is now facing so that this time he is determined 
to see the chip goes unnoticed as he passes out tea bags from those 
boxes with all those peaceful pictures on the label as if one sip will 
turn you into the Maharaja Maharish Yogi and you and the spirit 
of George Harrison will go prancing off into the sunset while you 
both wear clothing from the transcendental meditation creator’s 
online store bringing an end to all strife until the lions are lying 
down with the lambs and everyone reads the quotes from the tea 
bags about how if you just sit cross-legged in your garden for fifteen 
minutes, you can pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and toss 
them away, although it never mentions how you are going to deal 
with lyme disease after the ticks feast on you, but when Jimmy 
finally realizes what a Tea Party meeting is really all about, he not 
only has the proverbial egg on his face but the whole freaking chicken.


—Previously published in Houseboat (Featured Poet No. 28, 25 April 2014); appears here with author’s permission

Jimmy Pappas
Issue 8, August 2017

is a retired teacher of high school English, philosophy, and poetry; and a recent winner of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire’s national contest. His poems have been published in numerous venues, including Yellow Chair Review, Misfit Magazine, Off the Coast, Kentucky Review, Atticus Review, The Ghazal Page, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and War, Literature, and the Arts. His book-length collection of “Jimmy” poems is now available for publication.

From 1969 to 1970, Pappas served in the U.S. Air Force in Saigon, teaching English as a second language to South Vietnamese troops who were preparing to fly with American helicopter pilots. He’s now working on a book of poems based on his wartime experiences and those of fellow veterans who have shared their stories with him.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Two post-war poems by Pappas in Yellow Chair Review (26 September 2016): “The First Thing They Always Want to Know” and “I Give the Atheist Invocation at My Vietnam Veterans Group”

Saigon Hands, a poem by Pappas in The Ghazal Page (17 September 2016)

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