(The following poem is only an original composition inasmuch as I've taken lines from the poems of a few of my favorite practitioners of the trade and strung them together as an experiment. I'll record the names of the poets and the poems cited later on today, after plummeting back to bed for awhile.)
Great Poet Mix
We are blessed by everything. (1) Man hands on misery to man. (2) Time has ticked a heaven round the stars (3) Till the last syllable of recorded time. (4)
Less celestial, I celebrate a tail. (5) This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon (6) And yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp (7) That heaven's vault should crack. She's gone forever. (8)
I do not pity the dead; I pity the dying. (9) Heat is the echo of your gold. (10) There lives the dearest freshness deep down things. (11)
We must be kind to one another, while there is still time. (12)
1. William Butler Yeats, "A Dialogue of Self and Soul" 2. Philip Larkin, "This Be the Verse" 3. Dylan Thomas, "The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower" 4. Shakespeare, Macbeth 5. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick 6. William Wordsworth, "The World Is Too Much With Us" 7. Shakespeare, Macbeth 8. Shakespeare, King Lear 9. James Wright (I'll have to look it up--sorry.) 10. Philip Larkin, "Solar" 11. Gerard Manley Hopkins, "God's Grandeur" 12. Philip Larkin, "The Mower"
Friday December 9, 2011
THIS TONGUE TWISTER'S AN INSIDE JOB
Delirious delinquents delightedly deleted debilitated denizens and dealt them their debt, duplicitously doubling their dozens of donuts and liquidating the assets of citizens they'd been assigned to protect in the process, dancing on the devastation of democracy's detritus and defecating their demands on the landscape with devious demonism and demoralizing declarations of decency, deceiving only dunces and deluded Draconian Draculas.
Thursday December 8, 2011
I don't know how much I will change when I am called to fight. The key to making sense of words is setting them in order, so that they may present reality as clearly as can be, at least as far as you can see, which is not very far if you are me.
SCENES FROM A MIRAGE
The devil's velvet elevator lifts love's evolving vermin, developed in an envelope by a veritable dope and mailed to the moon by a perfect buffoon, an immortal baboon in a hot air balloon.
Lampooned, she shampooed her hair in the cartoon behind her hanging underwear while lunatics stood in a steep soup spoon, marooned marines treading broth in a tureen, reading redundant red letters in fetters in a wind-driven magazine.
And as the pages fluttered better than the leaves of the trees in the breeze, unaware and unprepared for the bee's dramatic sneeze,
"Please, Jesus!" cried the geese to the unsuspecting fleas, but the jumpy little bugs were much too small to ever recall the meanings of the words by the time the vibrations reached their uncomprehending ears, too tiny to perceive such voluminous adenoidal announcements.
Some things live to make others itch. In this world in which some get rich, for many others life's a bitch, whose happy puppies whimper and twitch; they know to sew you need a stitch, so don't go driving in a ditch.
THE WOMAN WHO LIVES IN THE MOON
Sadly sinking summer sun setting, sizzling then fizzling in the sea. Big red face is watching me, saying so long, silly simile, because it knows it looks like me, a burning ball of blasphemy.
I depend on you, Moon, to tell me how to feel. I don't know what to do in the daytime when the sky is blue and the moon is unavailable. Which emotion should I go with? Like picking out a tie as an eagle plucks out your eye--almost enough to make you cry, say bye-bye, Miss Moonlight, silver streaks across the bubbly bay, traffic jam of tears for the one that got away to stay, uninhibitedly exhibited in the museum of decay:
It is, dear predator, still you on whom I prey, although the one who tricked me into tripping on my prick would prefer to make me pray.
Okay, I say--hooray! Go ahead-- make my day. Deliver me to evil, lovely lady of the bay. Although the odds are by now you're almost as old and ugly as I, I might as well play since all I do is pay while you play keep away, born in May, wielding your machete, making my heart spaghetti, swaying all the way, till there's nothing left to slay.
ACCIDENTAL LOVE STORY
Malevolent Evelyn stole my broken heart, then she left me with a bitter fart. My love for her is off the chart and in my bed she left a shart.
Sometimes your feelings aren't so smart. If you've got whiskey, drink a quart, and don't fall for some little tart-- you'll end up working at Walmart.
Loneliness has a funny way of tearing you to bits. You talk too much, too jittery to listen; you give your friends the shits.
But hold your horses before you opt to call the whole thing quits. Things change, love comes, doors let you in--you might as well exist.
the best is when you sit so still you forget that you're around, like an iguana crouched on a rock; a cat curled on a couch, eyes narrowed in silent sleep; a dog waiting for nothing at the door.
beyond boredom, see through pain and ever-shifting states of mind that melt under the blaze of your all-seeing gaze.
sit up straight, refuse to budge breathe. . . slowly. . . you are free
You spend a quarter of your life lying down--a third if you're lucky; half the time you sit around, broadening your seat.
When half-assed plans do not pan out because you've overslept, you stretch and yawn and have some coffee; before you would have wept.
At last you rise and walk the dog or drive your kids to school, then feed the fire another log, doze on the couch and drool.
Sometimes you let them pile up in a greasy stack or sticky mountain. They seem to gather fast. But if you have the patience
and time to slow down, take them from them from the sink, clean them one by one with soap and the plastic brush or sponge.
The water will be happy to wait for you.
That way you'll have some quiet time to think about your day, a moment to reflect on things, without a word to say.
And every plate and glass and fork that passes through your hands will serve you many times again, make of you no demands.
I eat at home a lot these days, and savor every bite. My wife says, "Chew it twenty times"; she knows my appetite.
PEDESTRIAN ROAD RAGE
The other night I had to shout before I crossed the street at some unseen fast-moving lout whose wheels approached my feet.
I walked up several wooden steps and sat to catch my breath before returning to the depths like my old friend Macbeth.
Perhaps I would have calmed down more had I walked to the top but some reflexive laziness insisted that I stop.
And so I shouted once again as someone backed his car into the space where I had moved-- you see, he'd gone too far.
I really wanted to explode-- it happens every time. My neighbor parked and staggered home; drunk-driving's not a crime.
My friends who stand attentively in silent watch on shelves, I thank you for providing me with love you've earned yourselves.
It's sad how many stores have closed in the United States, so many libraries yield to those computers, seal their fate.
Yet I'm no stranger to neglect or playing hard-to-get. Too many volumes I've picked up, then brought home to forget.
The ones I have endured to read from start to bitter end too often fall from memory-- on that you can depend.
And so I ask that those who love to sit down with a book, please hold it dearly in your hands: don't let it be forsook.
You just kept thinking all those years, forgetting how to live. The buzzing swarm of doubts and judgments will not let you forgive.
But tough times keep you guarded when you feel cut off from love. You tiptoe through the lion's den, flip off dear God above.
You hurry up and waste your time, complain so little's left, react to things in pantomime as if pursued by Death.
Why not step off the treadmill now and get some needed rest? Who cares who knows your head will bow because you're so depressed?
Folks are too busy anyways to judge you and condemn. They're on the same road to decay; why be afraid of them?
As we approach the finish line in wheelchair or on foot we'll recognize diminished time, slow down, or just stay put.
You can really clean up if you're lucky enough to have a range of temperatures, from piping hot to freezing cold, excellent water pressure.
I accept my foibles in all their flabby glory in the bathroom's foggy mirror; try not to get the toilet wet; it gapes in wild surprise.
To humor my wife, who loves to skimp on little things like bars of soap, I use the liquid stuff instead, shut off the tap to lather up, and rinse my trunk and limbs until the skin shines.
Afterwards I wipe myself dry with a towel in the usual order of motions, put on clean clothes, and use bamboo to scratch my back.
Then I join my wife for breakfast, feeling fresh--germs banished at my humble command.
Shake up a can of shaving cream; click-click, go ball-bearings; nipples jiggle in the mirror. The can is nearly empty; it pukes a white cloud of foam into my hand, as if it were slowly dying.
I daub my collops with a dollop, and coat my sunken cheeks and gentle jowls, then shake the can more violently for what could well be weeks.
This time the nozzle yields a spray that ends with a brief sputter. I paint my throat with what remains, some toast receiving butter.
The water in the sink, at last, is hot enough to use. The well-worn razor in the cup my face may now peruse.
But then the dull blade tugs a hair that smarts and makes me wince. The foam turns pink under my nose; blood trickles from a spring.
I'd grow a beard if itchiness did not drive me insane, so how come shaving still feels weird, like trying to fly a train?
Wednesday December 7, 2011
Needless meddlers cannot mend the malady of madness with their medicine; pedaling bicycles too close to the cliff's edge, they risk following the less than patient
over the precipice. A summer called insanity led one to sunburn, thundering headaches of memories' rain.
Not the most gregarious fish in the aquarium, he swims in place and waits for flakes
to rain down or some bigger fish to eat him, breathing bubbles, unable to make out the faces of strangers in the glass that seem to neither feel nor see.
In a world lit up all night where food is in your face, it's hard to know how much to eat or when to go to sleep.
The feeling that you're wasting time is hard to beat when you are not sure who's in charge of things you're told you have to do.
The quest for love that ends in death revolves around desire. Life moves along from breath to breath until you feed the fire.
The choices that a person makes to go from here to there will feel to some like big mistakes and fill them with despair.
But all that rises crumbles some day, regardless of your state, so now that you are humbled, some say, there's no more need to wait.
Alive in times averse to verse I fight to rescue beauty, and even when I'm feeling worse, I know that it's my duty.
It's easy just to let things go and watch them be destroyed. And though I still enjoy the show, it's crowded in the void.
My noisy heart has found a place where I can rest awhile, till I become a basket case riding a crocodile.
The body breaks down over time and with it goes the mind. Your knees give out, your shoulder too; your back's not far behind.
But I will help you make it through the terrible new storm. Meanwhile, I'll try to find out who is waiting to be born.
A lack of faith dictates that I must wait to fade away.
A wasted weight from eye to eye, a mirror of decay.
False selfish flesh, a fish flushed from a flashing shelf
So foolish for my wish to bask in waves of wealth.
Outside it's cold and dark, the moonlight choked with smog.
One all fours now, I bark at you just like a dog.
A Bum Defends His Rights
Born in a hospital, I filled my folks with hope. They thought it possible I might not prove a joke. But I made all mistakes they dreaded that I might, wiped out in hockey skates and lost the game that night.
Now I am at the point where everything comes clear. My throat I shall anoint with several pints of beer. As I walk down the street, taxis will honk at me, yet I'll refuse defeat and hide behind a tree.
Whatever you produce in this embattled life will not evade the noose--fame, children, or a wife-- so give your cash away to those who are in need before you pass away with only worms to feed.
Let's Have a Toast
Why is it so hard to learn what you can't understand? Every credit card you burn just melts right in your hand. As the polar ice caps melt and bookstores go extinct, I will have a tuna melt and wind up in the drink.
Torture has its own technique, a logical mystique:
working for a control freak, a bully of the meek.
Meanwhile, children try to grow as painful as it seems.
In the end, they too will know the way to sell their dreams.
Friday December 2, 2011
On Behalf of the Ones on the Menu
How to simplify your life without becoming a simpleton? Avoid the complicated electronic thicket of sizzling civilization.
Say no to burgers made from cows murdered in indoor death camps.
Eschew eggs laid by hens whose male chicks were fed to a meat grinder.
Steer clear of fish arrested in a dragnet among a mass of slippery, silvery brothers and sisters writhing and flopping and gasping on the deck of a sun- drenched ship, drowning in breathless air before they're gaffed or dumped back in their green glassy grave.
Don't eat fried chicken raised in an airtight cage, their beaks seared clear, making a tender wound that torments them till the end.
Spare the poor pig who squeals for her life before the bolt blows out the light in her brain.
Deny yourself lobster boiled alive in a bubbling vat, scalded to hell for your delicious delight.
You shouldn't smoke those damned cigarettes made in a laboratory by madmen with a deadly medley of chemicals.
Refrain from alcohol, the poison that stains your brain, rots your heart, shrivels your liver, and rusts your guts.
And please, for the love of God, stop telling other people how to live their lives. Focus on your own.
Saucy Sally superciliously sails with silly Saul Cicero to Sicily.
Abundantly gallant Abigail allegedly bludgeoned her curmudgeonly husband with a frozen cudgel of fudge.
Chipper Chip chopped chipmunks and chimps into cheery chunks on the clipper ship.
Harmonious Hortensio ostensibly lamented the mentally indenting calamity.
Alfonso foolishly felt aloof as he fled from false Aldonza with fleeting flatulence.
Persephone preferred pepperoni prepared by a leprechaun to the perilous peregrinations of a parsimonious pauper like Penelope Pinocchio.
Jabbering Joe joked that Jesus jumped like a jackrabbit when Jehovah gesticulated at the jeering jamboree of jubilant jerks.
Shakespeare shook his head, spit, and said, "Shit," as Sheila shivered on the silver shoreline and shimmied in her sinuous slip.
Bubba blew a big-ass bubble as big as a balloon and belted out a bluesy blast from his brilliantly labeled barracuda-blanketed bassoon.
Tenaciously tendentious Terence Tennyson tackled the ticklish tube of toothpaste and tucked into his tuna fish tamale.