January 7, 2006
Light Verse Poems that Deal wiht Spiritual Matters:
[Note: This section takes up a theme far more prevalent in my
non-light verse. It's a bit more of a challenge to deal with it
(when not simply mocking it) in light verse.]
Fleur De Mal And The Naked Truth
There once was a teaser named Fleur de Mal
Who disappeared in the strangest fashion:
She pranced that night in the bleary hall,
Her usual thing, with her usual passion;
She twisted and turned and dangled her foot,
Shedding flower, feather, and spangled flounce
At every turn, and throwing them out
To drooling watchers with bump and bounce.
Smiling coyly, she spun herself free
Till two hands could cover all she wore,
And the crowd yelled--trying to see--
TAKE IT OFF! TAKE IT OFF! MORE! MORE!
And this time she did...all of it,
And we roused ourselves to see...a girl.
But then, before one ribald wit
Could leer, with a seductive swirl
She briskly began to unzip her skin,
Shedding it over arms, legs, head--
And a fainting drunk with a fading grin
Caught what she lightly tossed and said,
"Sheesh empty!" and vomited up his meal.
Teeth smiling--how else?--and wriggling hips,
She shook her muscles and began to unpeel
Like a banana, throwing all the strips
With a twirl and a flourish to the emptying hall
(For we'd never seen such obscenity before,
And we mobbed to the door,turning only to bawl,
"You crazy broad! You two-bit whore!")
Then she plucked out her ribs, one by one,
Flicking each, with a kiss, at our growing dread;
Then, as a necklace is neatly undone,
She reached to her nape and unfastened her head
And gently threw that to one dead-drunk admirer--
Nor stopped at that: heart, lungs, liver,
And then, as if anyone could still desire her...
They? it?--with a proud, sensual quiver,
The last bones fell at break of day,
And that was the last seen of Fleur de Mal,
Who wasn't a body after all,
The stripper who went all the way.
Lettuce Go--We'll Turnip Again Somewhere
"We pulled the plug--he was no more than a vegetable."
Understandable, if regretable--
Yet I myself, when Late Shows segue soporifically to Late Later
Shows, do not hesitate
And we don't uproot our cucumbers and tomaters
Just for being vegetaters,
But, unlike cabbages and beets and other leaves and roots,
Cucumbers and tomatoes aren't really vegetables--they are fruits.
Vegetables are what when you don't want to you're made to for
your own good or else! eat,
While fruits are a treat,
And unlike a vegetable, a fruit
For example, you might call a pretty girl in whole or in part a
peach or plum or tomato,
But you would never say, "Wow! Look at the great broccoli on
that parsnip!" or "She's a real luscious potato!"
(But I wish I could disencumber
My example of the cucumber,
Which, though a cute little number
May be said to be as cool as a cucumber,
Yet to view as cute these blunt warty manque-pickles
But if they are considered the exception that proves the rule,
With me that's as a cucumber cool.)
This cuteness of fruitness perhaps explains why no one ever wants
to put a fruit out of its misery,
Though for some reason only females are supposed to be fruity,
so fruity males are said to have mixed up their hers-
And some consider it their sacred duty
To put the unduly fruity
Out of their gaiety
In the name of a very serious and wholesome daiety,
More a what's-good-for-you-whether-you-like-it-or-not God than a
A vegetable God, not a fruit God,
One who tramples upon vintage grapes while extracting tears and
trembling from us rather like a raw onion,
Not at all Dionysian, purely Apollonion,
Which is perhaps why many prefer to think that God is dead,
The idea being Better Dead Than A Potatohead or a Bible Belt
Though I hasten to assure one and all that I myself would not be
thought to cast aspersions or asparagus
On anyone's fundaments of faith or to undermine that live-and-
let-live-those-that-our-God-loves philosophy that is
(as preachers and politicians endlessly harague us)
So purely Ameraga's.
But all this begs, yea, implores the question
Of whether vegetables are in fact miserable or do we project
upon them our own misery at having them thrust
overcooked down our infantile instant-sweet-
gratification-craving systems of taste and digestion,
So that we remember our green salad days
As limp and bitter and pallid days
And ever after, the thought of doing away with spinach
Is greeted with pinache?
All of which suggests why the sight of the body of a dear one
still breathing but with no other sign of anyone
Reminds us more of a boiled carrot than a juicy pear,
Because as a child while tarrying over our tepid peas in
We begged our erstwhile loving Mom and Dad, as they
metamorphosed into parients riled,
"Please can't I just have my dessert now! PLEASE!!"
And our mother intoned, "That's enough! I mean it! Now EAT
And to all further entreaties turned a countenance of stone,
So that we sat and stared at the peas and they didn't answer us
either and suddenly we knew we were all alone,
Which is exactly the way you feel standing beside the intensive
Knowing that something is keeping that body going, but no one
you love is dunit,
The point being, not that you shouldn't pull the plug on it--
And if my body ever develops a vacancy, please, someone, put a
rug on it!--
But don't, because of your childhood traumas,
Slander crisp juicy string beans and cabbages and brussels
sprouts, which, though they don't wink at you, are
hardly in caumas,
Not to mention an elm or oak or pine, which is also, broadly
speaking, a vegetable,
Though not--like a narrowly speaking one or a fruit, which is,
after all, a vegetable's egg--edible,
And surely you would not, merely for its being a vegetable, chop
down a tree,
As which I think that I shall never see
A poem expansive, branching out in all directions, twisting to
catch a theme that is as labile as sunlight,
Which is why fools like me try to write
Poems that hint at something in us as in the reaching of a tree
that is neverending
That dwells but a while in a body before elsewhere wending,
That, having no form itself, needs a body so that it can hug us
and we can hug it,
And just to hug and be huggable, it drags the body along wherever
it can lug it,
But there comes a time when it has gone or is struggling to go
where its body can't, but the body keeps growing hair
and toenails the way carrots and potatoes left too long
in the refrigerator sprout roots, and its eyes don't
move and it's smelly and clammy and, FUG it!--
You want to unplug it,
Well, I say do it and don't rue it, but shrug it
Off, because it takes a being to illumine
And if you take the being out of human being,
What's left isn't worth a bloomin' bean.
Lashed But Not Leashed
(or Whither! Thou Ghost!)
The beast is host,
His guest a ghost;
At best the guest
Has leased the beast;
At worst the beast
Has leashed the ghost.
At most the beast
Can boast to ghost,
"It's plain to see
Thou goest with me."
At least the ghost
Has guessed the beast
Is lost without
A ghost about.
So the vassal
Taunts his Duke,
And the castle
Haunts its spook,
Until the guest
Is ghost of host,
When, beast, thou be'st
Not; ghost, thou goest.
I don't pretend to be God,
But rather not to be,
Or rather, I'm how God
Pretends He is not He.
Ever And Ever Endeavor
Eternity goes on and on forever--
And on and on and on and on and never
Runs out of on-and-ons: How very clever!
For though my verses modestly endeavor
To keep on going, always I must sever
Them--this one's dying; though I try to rev her
Up again, forever will outlive her,
For forever needn't rhyme--O clever forever!
If You Can't Kant, Con
"If I didn't do it, someone else would."
Thank you for helping others be good.
Even Adamantly So
"Victim" - there's a doubtful label;
My mirror says "I Cain be Abel."
It's Actual, It's Mathematical!
Nor rule nor word'll
Us, says Gödel.
[Note: The mathematician named (whose name, pronounced with
the umlaut in full bloom, sounds a lot like "girdle")
developed a famous proof showing that any attempt to come up with
a comprehensive and rigorous theory of mathematics (something like
that) will inevitably contradict itself. It's sort of the mathematical
equivalent of what Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is to physics.]
Whose Sleep Is This?
So much I would do if I could -
The promises that I would keep!
I would be slim! I would be good...
The woulds are lovely, dark and deep.
Immortal souls - infinities -
Plunged eyeball-deep in vanities,
Go off to work in funny ties -
Ain't THAT the most infinite tease!
Time Egoes On
Time after time...no,
I'm after I'm.
Sadder, if not Whittier
The saddest words of penman or gunman
Are these: "It was all supposed to be FUN, man!"
A Spurt to the Finish Line
A ghost is just a spirit.
How did we come to fear it?
A body, losing spirit,
Is left a lump, a mere it.
We aren't it. We live near it
(Though some would say, "in here"): It
Allows one to appear. It
Looks awful when you spear it.
such thoughts drive men to spirit,
Which helps them grin and beer it.
Prove the Existence of Spirit
Eggs Is Ten Shillings
"Existential" is a word that improves any sentence
containing it - according to a rule of thumb -
Just by its removal therefrom.
It just don't exist
If it ain't got that twist.
I simply ain't verity
If it ain't got that circularity.
It got no felicity
If it's lacking helicity.
It won't make you grin
If it ain't got that spin.
It ain't got that fire
'Less it perns in a gyre.
It ain't got that virility
If it's missing spirality.
It ain't worth the toil
If it don't got that coil.
[Note: A twist on a remark of a jazz great (Ellington or Armstrong
can't recall which, I think Louis Armstrong): "It don't
mean a thing if it ain't got that swing."]
It Better Be A Big Needle
The wicked prosper here,
Then go to hell.
Forgive me, God -- I fear
I'm doing well.
[The title refers to Christ's statement that a wealthy man has
as hard a time getting into Heaven as a camel has getting through
the eye of a needle.]
On The Timelessness of the Self
When Everything Comes Up Flowers
Plant carnations on each grave.
And when you see me in carnations,
Just a dime
For space and time.
Advice to God
Lord, why save me?
Do you crave me?
Will you keep me
In your closet?
Must I be
Your bank deposit?
Do I pay
I be spent
Or be lent
Does my girth
Gauge my worth?
If I'm fatter, will
Fill your vault
When loans default?
Why, O Lord,
Must you hoard?
Is there dearth
Of souls on earth?
In my innerest
With no interest
Please let me burn,
For I'll not earn
A single cent.
What one can save
Goes to the grave.
Let me be spent.
Why I'm not in Church, but Walking in the Rain
Better a hellish rain
than a Heavenly service.
[Note: Just a twist on "Better to reign in Hell than serve
in Heaven" a Satanic view.]
"Islam" means submission. A Muslim
is one who submits, which makes me
a Muslim. Herewith, my submission...
I have suffered; I have prayed...
Or perhaps I've only played.
Self-discipline -- Ah, YES, self cracks the whip!
Self whimpers as self strips self, softly humming.
"You know, you naughty boy, what you've got coming!"
"Oh please! It's tight!" Self squirms against the grip
of self-restraint -- "It hurts!" Curling his lip,
Self strokes till every string of self is thrumming --
"Don't! Stop!" "Take THAT!" "DON'T STOP!"
Look! Self is coming
To realize that self-control's a trip
to parts of self unsettled, unexplored,
To depths of sin so desperately sweet...
Self shivers, panting: What would Mommy think?
Self sneers -- it's Daddy's smile, the true reward
For self-control! Self frees self and they meet
Face to face, naked, over a sink.
Is That You?
Two thousand and five,
And we're all still alive,
But we'll have no more fun dead
In twenty-one hundred,
Unless (it would be nifty)
We're reborn in aught-fifty.
The physical, this universe
what is it?
A nice place, really not a curse...
New Age Ritual
"...'til death do us provide
a period of free agency...".
A Slice of Vice
a tiny bit
a rare green shoot
My coyote mind (Preyis Mentis)
pursued me with howling anxieties
through arid roller-coaster landscapes;
the faster I ran, the faster it followed.
At the edge of a cliff I darted aside.
It rushed past and continued to run
in air, legs churned to a fiery wheel,
until, looking down, it saw
there was nothing to run on,
and, with a last comic-pathetic gaze
at the imaginary audience
I no longer believed in,
plummeted (popping eyes in the lead)
from the screen.
Putting Des Carte Before the Source
I think I think; therefore, I think I am?
Or therefore I am I am?
I think, "I think, therefore I am";
therefore, I am "I think, therefore I am."
The little Descarte engine chugs up the hill
chanting, "I think I am...I think I am...".
I think, therefore I am...NOT!
I am there, for I think I am.
I think what I think; therefore, I am what I am.
I eat spinach; therefore, I yam what I yam.
I think; however, I am.
I think; moreover, I am.
They are; therefore, I think.
You are; therefore, I am.
You are there, for I think.
THINK; therefore, IBM.
We THIMK; therefore, we err.
I am; air go; I am not.
Cogito; ergoes the neighborhood.
I shrink; therefore, I'm.
I am, but I think.
I think, therefore I damn.
I fink, therefore I lam.
I think not; therefore, I am not.
I think; therefore, I am...I think.
I think that I shall never see; therefore, iambic.
You think; therefore, you are...or so YOU say.
Cogito; Here goes: ZOOM!
Hell has philosophy too:
"I am, therefore fuck you."
You find death scary? End of all you are?
So final it's as if you've never been?
I find death sentimental: Farewell, star
Of stage and sky, farewell, subsiding din
Of breath and taxes. . .
Now THAT'S what I call scary: No way out,
No endings -- and no starts! Morality?
Pat meanings? Grand excuses? What about
The credits at the end? You'll wait in vain.
If things go on forever, are you sure
You want to be there -- maybe alone, in pain,
In darkness without end? There is no cure
For immortality (but to forget?) --
But US? Immortals? Never!. . .
well, not yet.
Put my body anywhere;
Box it, burn it--I'm not there.
But shed a tear; I love to see
How tragically you weep for me.
Had I yet eyes, I'd shed tears too:
That poor dead thing, and poor sad you!
Two tiny dolls: To think that I,
now here, now there, now half the sky,
Once thought myself that bit of meat.
(I still look down, expecting feet!)
And yet it's lonely. I must find
a way to put thoughts in your mind:
I'm here! I haven't gone away!
I'm me! Can you come out and play?
Here we are - it's today.
Yesterday has gone away.
Tomorrow it will come again
And again and - please say when...