the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




FIVE WORKS
BY ALISTAIR MCHARG

BLIZZARD OF '03 COPY BLOWOUT SALE

Here at Alistair McHarg Freelance Copywriter to the Stars, Inc. (now featuring lighted parking) we rely heavily on walk-in traffic. Savvy consumers driving, or even strolling, down beautiful Bethlehem Pike drop in for the convenience of one-stop shopping that's speedy, courteous, and curiously refreshing. Whether they're in need of snappy one-liners to pepper up their conversations or full-length video scripts that leave audiences with a newfound respect for Gummy Bears, they get it. Our motto is, "If you don't see it on the shelves, hell, we'll just make it up!"

The Blizzard of '03 has Eliminated our Foot Traffic! That's Good News For You!

With drop ins gone and in-person customer visits out of the question we must rely entirely on the internet to deliver our product. (Here's where it gets good.) Effective immediately and continuing through Easter, or whenever the roads are passable again, whichever comes first, Alistair McHarg Freelance Copywriter to the Stars, Inc. is the digital home of truly aggressive customer discounts. (In fact some of these discounts are so aggressive they had to be sent to anger management class.)

50% Off Corpseak! Thousands of paragraphs in stock, each one chock full of buzzwords and cliches, guaranteed to be devoid of any discernible content.

Presentation Scripts - Buy 2 Get the 3rd one FREE! When it comes to weaving a gauzy web of atmospheric moodiness so shamelessly manipulative even a child could see through it, nothing puts a lump in the throat quite like a presentation script. Ask about the Human Resources special, "We Care About our Employees as if They Were Our Own Family," a classic in the genre. Techies will love, "We Build Seamless Integration into Each and Every One of Our Products," sleight of hand that would leave David Copperfield breathless. New to the shelves is "We're so glad you called," a customer support department script that's touching, sincere, and worth waiting and waiting and waiting for.

Web Site Starter Kit Cost Slashed Mercilessly! Already a legend in the industry, this comprehensive collection of key words and phrases provides customers with everything they need to get that web site up and running. Includes such useful phrases as: Next, Back, * indicates a required field, I elect not to share this information, Start, Would you like to install Adobe Acrobat now?, and so much more.

Direct Mail Kits - Order Before Midnight and Your First Payment is 6 Months Away!

Long admired for their inefficiency, lowbrow appeal, and breathtaking ability to destroy forests, this lowly mainstay of sales generation continues to sneer at those who would write its epitaph. Each kit includes a letter designed to create urgency where none would reasonably exist, a product sheet that deftly demonstrates why the reader would want products that should have skipped the middleman and gone straight to the landfill, and instructions about the all important response vehicle, the allegedly valuable object intended to cause the reader to participate.

WHATEVER KIND OF COPY YOU NEED - IF YOU NEED IT, WE HAVE IT!

Don't let a little blizzard cause the gears of commerce to stop. Shop online for less at Alistair McHarg Freelance Copywriter to the Stars, Inc.

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JIGSAW PUZZLE

Paradiddle
Paradiddle
Paradiddle
Rain beats
Rough tattoo
Slips off slate
Like an otter
On a slide
Racing to arrive
At the bottom
Fireplace pops
And hisses
Cut glass dark
With elixir that
Burns the throat
And eventually
Torches the manor
And the barn
Sprawled face down
On a parquet floor
Drowning in a
Puzzle piece
Puddle
Reaching in vain
For a starting point
Corner, border
Anything at all
Every piece has
One blank side
The other side is
Even more blank
Don't yet know
How to solve it
Good chance
I never will
Even if
It keeps on raining
After the firewood's gone

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FORWARD MARCH

Femur in a furry hand
Stone
At the end of a stick
Dagger that slips
Through muscle
Like a spy
Through enemy lines
Suits of steel
Fit for a prince
Rifle, bullet
Grenade
Silver fortress
High above
Rains
Annihilation

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CAPE WRATH

From the fearsome
Craggy beauty
Of Cape Wrath

To the lawless sanctuary
Khyber Pass

To the endless green hunger
Of the Amazon jungle

It's all the same to me

All of the wild places
Are desperate and frightful
Beautiful, seductive
Each in its own way

You can wander in the world
Like a pariah
A blind man with a stick
Or you can spend your life at home

It doesn't make a difference

The most dangerous place of all
Is the place
You carry with you every day
In your chest

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MINOR IRRITATION

Minor irritation
Grit wandering
In my shoe
Chewing through
Soft spun wool
Ravenous
As a moth

Minor irritation
Scratching away
At my skin
Nagging like secrets
I've kept from myself
Kept for myself
To stew in

Minor irritation
Scrapes a tattoo
On my bones
Crimes of dispassion
I got away with
But can't seem to
Get away from
So many things
To own up to
So little time
Not to try

Minor irritation
Hidden
By alligator hide
The gaping aperture
Passing through my foot
Is large enough
To poke my finger through
Large enough to fit
A railroad spike