Bab edh-Dhra or Babette’s Draw, what’s
it to you Pilgrim? Copyright infringement
on Babette’s of Jerusalem? The food is
pretty good there if you count internet hits
accounting for taste. At Babette’s it is difficult
to know if even a date or savory stew prepared
by a jealous half brother in search of a birthright
might put your heart in his predatory sight.
A mindful desert sun oversees a profound
conspiracy of unimaginable depth. Tough luck,
imagination. And what was that Sarah up to anyhow?
Who made her a priestess to some other unannounced deity?
A deity ready to take her kind into unlikely account in that
time and place. Unlikely. Totally unlikely.
Reload. The Philistines await at the gate.
Little Eva, Hungarian refugee child, painted
astonishing bright water-based color scenes
of nativity on the window on the Third Grade
classroom at Oakdale Christian, Grand Rapids Michigan.
Corner of Oakdale and . . . but now it is time
to check the Google map which reminds one (me)
that Oakdale is not the street but a state of mind
at the corner of Fisk and Neland. Good to be there though.
Eva whose parents fled the Hungarian rebellion of
Imre Nagy although my parents and the Reader’s Digest
called him something else. Ivan perhaps. Perhaps confused
with Ivan the Terrible. And does Eva remember me? Not likely,
although there were those who thought I sang as beautifully
as Eva painted. They were wrong. As anyone can be.
Persons from Porlock
will be shot on sight (site?)
Don’t stop me when I’m
working, working, working . . .
It takes an ocelot to laugh
it takes an awful lot
in life to cry
but the ocelot
ate the housework
to say nothing of
Now if that’s not something
to cry about
I won’t know
until the lying liability
demanding redemption an only
lying liability can demand
All an ocelot can do is laugh
at the lots in our lives
And I do mean alot!
The President Remembers
Willow Vixen would could have been enough
of a girl for him in some other more
transparent age. Things had changed. So had
his standards. He used to care. He still did
in a way. A very strange way. What about
that funny little tragedy, the tower coming
down around his very ears. What did they call
that again? Babel? Wasn’t that the name of
some Yiddish poet? He found himself very
confused. Greenwood? What kind of name was that?
Nobody he had ever known, and certainly never
respected. Except maybe that one time
in Cheyenne when the eyes of the world
(wake up? you mean I am?) stared out
at a Brave New One, and went running for cover.
Modern American Poetry
The young man puzzles over vagaries
of Modern American Poetry. And it’s pretty vague
when you get right down to or around or
even behind it. I’m sure behind it! Yay! Whoopie!
Here’s to Modern American Poetry! Will our fan-
tastic devotion preclude devastating loss? It must!
It will! Modern American Poetry can and
will fire live rounds. We will have “wealth without money.”
Still, good as it gets, someone has to
pay the bills. Oh well. Let that fall to our
wage earners. They won’t get paid much, but we
can always stop paying the water bill even though
without water the evolution of our species
might require a little evolution. As time goes by.
Baseball in OZ
for David Schaafsma
Begins in a cricket ground. While the gophers eat
my potatoes, my cabbage, and after all that is gone
threaten the carrots and a lazily earned sense
of wellbeing. All that is too damned bad.
Let’s keep our categories clear. She wants
to mix casarecce with week-old rotini. This is
not permitted. At least not by me. Don’t bug me
when I’m watching, watching, watching, baseball
from OZ. We have lovage from the side
garden where oxalis (mostly) rules. The gophers
got more of all of that than any sentient
being might want to share with such
creatures, let alone others unsuch.
But there’s still the still parsley they didn’t
get, but we will, with tomato beef sauce.
An evil and adulterous generation seeks after
a sign, so count me in. Gimme gimme gimme
one of them signs. Say what? “There shall no sign
be given to it?” Bullshit. I don’t believe you.
You, and your henchman Jonah have proven
again and again to be unreliable sources.
Him and his whale? Right? Like sex at 65?
So you and your whale and those signs can go
and freely screw your own selves. Baseball? Don’t
talk to me about baseball, baseball is a long
lost memory from when we used to be civilized.
Civilized as a people, a population, I mean.
What do I mean? What I do mean. Mass does equal
each of us, and the indeterminate substances between.
Lost Poem Lament
Engel (sagt man) wüßten oft night, ob sie unter
Lebenden gehn oder Toten . . .
I wrote it. I swear I did. Pliny the Younger might
have helped, but the line was unendurable.
The Minotaur had left the building for
Cheyenne, home of the Dense Pack, where
in the glow of the last green light
off the Laramie Range the poetess
strokes her Cowboy’s thigh and dreams of
the night’s implosive fusion. Remembers
such less thrilling times a mere
forty-six miles west, the fifth degree grade,
the bust of the Emancipator, and further on,
knowing all about it. A casino cowboy so unlike her own
recalls Christianity deep beneath the surface
and the people who gave Cheyenne her name
and the trouble buried deeper than their fame.
I had no idea . . .
was linear, had it as
throw the pasta at the ceiling
if it sticks, there, it’s done
read it too many times but not often
to get the MEANING.
Tambourine Life has a MEANING?
Gimme a break!
. . . possibly because it never occurred . . .
. . . to me . . .
meaning existing, I mean
not in that universe
(IMO Ted Berrigan)
The Goddamned Arapahoe
As the unsung but dedicated
romantic lyricist remarked
things were even more complicated than her
in the deepest bunks of Noah’s ark.
So there they parked, as disembarked
& all too casually remarked
how pleasantly they might embrace the dark
& feel it crawl too seriously into
their entwined hearts.
A sparrow cried. She said it was a lark
on which she had embarked thinking
too little of him & them and
that to which it had come
in the end in the land
of hopes & dreams & that goddamned Arapahoe.
Love makes me stupid
I have been through the rain
and the wind and the pain and
none of it would be worth a damn
if I weren’t stupid.
Stupid is as stupid does and stupid
has been doing it. Doing business
under an assumed name. I, me, mine
as those Beatles sang.
Oh the songs of love in these
halcyon days. Our two souls beat
as one disturbed two-chambered heart
in even the worst of circumstances.
For all the good it did or does. We were
after all stupid. And only two too proud
to fly our flagging stupidity in great
pridefulness. It was the day of the
valentine. What else could we do
but keep doing it? Stupidly, naturlich!
In the Clearing
It is quite clear in the clearing. Something about
a Romain Gary novel, something about
elephants. A famous work of nonfiction
concerning a racist dog. I’ve known some
guys like that. They never quite got to
repenting as best they could their wayward ways.
Amazed, they would stand there emitting
doggy emissions and even worse emitting
elephantine and scarifying traces of gaseous nonsense.
Madame Rosa has been added to the family
wishlist. Which we will take to the library.
The librarian will explain vainly that
“Yes, we have no elephants.” Taking us for louts
with no roots in heaven, or anywhere thereabouts.