It has strong legs and sturdy wings,
and for them both has need;
although the legs grow weak with age
and will get cut and bleed.
Two wings, then, of the standard sort:
half butterfly, half bat;
quite useful when it just must dash,
or fuel a lively chat.
The hands, or claws, if you prefer,
its clutching, pinching tools:
for picking nits, and wiping shits
and scratching eyes from fools.
The torso? Lean, but runs to fat
toward its middle age –
especially when fed on crow
and left in a small cage.
The eyes, both pairs, are large and round.
One tends to humanize
their often sad, pathetic looks
when coupled with their cries.
And yes, the voice, the squawk, the squeal:
like metal on a plate;
a symphony for sadists
it’s hard to appreciate.
The whole, in sum, is quite a feat
of luck in blind design;
that this poor thing survives at all
is in a word, sublime.
15 NOV 2010
Well, fiddle-dee and what’s the stuff
of which I have had quite enough:
the spring’s been spring, the fall has fell,
the echo’s back from wishing’s well.
Oh well a dell a dill a day
Quite overdrawn, and hell’s to pay.
Well, riddle me and jump the gun,
who’s loaded, and who’s set to run
along the lane despite the pain
of up and sleep and up again?
Oh gee a fill a dill a dee
Who’s overslept the night with me?
Well, rumble tumble grimp and gyre,
one spins and spins, and then retires
to whence the winging whimper wrings
and takes its place with other things.
Oh pish a dish a dilly damn
You is, you was, you were, you am.
07 NOV 2010
Speak to me in ancient tongues
as if in my subconscious mind
the threads of some genetic past
can be rewound around a lingo
neither you nor I now know;
or better yet, just make it up
as you go on. For heaven’s sake,
don’t let the conversation drag;
it wouldn’t do now to let on
that it’s just nonsense. Go on, spew,
and we’ll agree, the two of us,
that it’s either a fragment from
some yellowed scroll of Babylon,
or else the language demons use
when they’ve got naught but bullshit, too.
24 APR 2006
She flung away rapscallion locks,
two dozen rare embroidered socks
of carded wool from royal flocks
as priceless as the chicken pox
for separating poofs from jocks
and as her jaw was full of rocks
said, “if good fortune comes, and knocks,
and would remove life’s pains and shocks,
please let it know the privvy crocks
are in sore need of dumping.”
Alack a-day, the world will spin
and at dawn start up once again;
and win or lose and come what may
you laugh or sing alack a-day
To which her stolid beau replied,
“You’ve grace and charm, that’s undenied,
but some things are beneath my pride,”
and further, as if an aside,
he whispered, soft, and slow, and snide,
“and furthermore, this eventide
I plan to stage a suicide
that will slow, if not stop, the ride,
which others methods, failed when tried,
have with good conscience been applied
so much that it’s hard to decide
which way the wind is jumping.”
Alack a-day, the wheels will roll
from dusk until the dawn patrol;
you live and learn enough to say
c’est la vie or alack a-day
18 OCT 2005
Art for art’s sake? Some mad Protestant Hell:
give glory to gods too quick dethroned,
the crowds that crowned them discharged early
and now gone home,
their purpose found too soon,
before they grew strong.
Without any message, pure art, placed alone,
not impeded by method or philosophy,
no subconscious symbolist message conveyed;
has any such work ever been shown?
The portrayal of struggle, when experienced second-hand
through books, and paintings, and endless streams
of made-for-television movies,
simulcasts of refugees,
and cameras no longer hidden,
cannot help but pose an inference or two,
even against the observer’s better judgment.
All things serve some purpose.
Those that last, that affect real change in the world?
The few that have a chance of achieving longevity
in a world obsessed with fifteen second sound bytes
find that purpose outside themselves.
No thing that exists for its own self alone
It has no beginning.
It has no end.
It has no time.
It has no place.
It must be God.
06 MAY 2004
Alas, my head is bruised and hurt
My hands are filled with ash and dirt
The fire has gone out in the sink
And there is not enough to drink
Perhaps the sun has lost its flare,
But as for me, I couldn’t care
The world is turned to shades of creme
And melted fact and sense with dream
And willy-nilly ‘cross the tiles
The jester dances as he smiles
The king is slumped upon the throne
His sceptre limp, his shoes unshone
And where the queen is, no one tells
But something in the kingdom smells
The knights have turned to lonesome days
And all the banners’ greens to grays
Perhaps the cook has spiked the stew
With who knows what, for who knows who?
And flouncy-bouncy ‘cross the room
The jester dances with the groom
Upon the hearth, three parrots sit
And gambol in raw seeds and shit
They cannot speak except in rhyme
And constant, crawk out “What’s the time?”
A raucous noise they raise ’til dawn
Without a thought to dwell upon
Perhaps the pages have all turned
And left the roast beast on to burn
And tripsy-dipsy ‘cross the stage
The jester incants like a mage
My head is filled with nonsense stuff
Cracked teacups, straw and milkweed fluff
The chairs have taken up their arms
And forced the maids to sell their charms
Beside the moat, Ophelia waits
Insulting those with balding pates
And deep within the prison’s keep
The prince is trying hard to sleep
And onesy-twosy ‘cross the hall
The jester’s tripped and had a fall.
01 APR 2004
At the volta of the delta,
stuck in indecision’s swelter,
I released the muse and felt her
Though I thought my words would melt her
as they tumbled, helter-skelter,
she instead preferred a shelter
from the fray;
and in silence there she knelt, her
bright eyes burning like a smelter,
while I played my ace, and dealt her
two and treys.
18 FEB 2003