Monday, March 27, 2017

FROM THE IMAGINARY LITERARY HISTORY



Waking from a dream where he was running
From a grossly offended King of the Frogs,
The poet Ch'en Yu was surprised to see
His late wife, the singer Fa Xiqing,
Sitting in the moonlight. She was sorting
Through a bag of patches and threads.
In the morning he found his old robe
Had been roughly mended. Even death
Cannot teach some people to sew.

Friday, March 24, 2017

CAT

You doubt Schrodinger's cat is a poet?
Examine the evidence: He lives, if at all,
In a box -- rich poets are not common;
Following tradition, he relies on a patron
Who cares little about the cat himself
But only the glory he might cast
Upon the House of Schrodinger.
He is both and neither dead nor alive;
None of his works are in print yet his name
Is familiar to many who read no poetry.
Any day now he will and he won't
Accept tenure at a small university.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

TIME PASSES



There are none now to believe me,
None to take it as more than a small joke,
But my mother could conjure into existence
New distant relatives who would rise,
Stretch themselves, blink a time or two,
And believe they'd been born as others are,
Had mothers and fathers, siblings, friends,
Had moved and breathed, had rejoiced and suffered
And, strange to say, all the world assented
To this impudent imposition,
Letting them conduct themselves
As if they’d legally slipped across the border
Into the real world.

                                  Eleven years ago she died
And I fear that all those she called here --
All those good, eccentric people --
Have begun to flicker and to vanish
To be again as if they never were.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ORDER



"I'll have some love," said I,
Rapping the bar, coin in hand.
"We have none left," said the tapster,
"Would you care for mild disdain?
We have it on tap." Well, damne!
But, after all, a man must drink.

Monday, March 20, 2017

PROCEDURE



As was the custom, his heart was buried
Beneath the altar, his head under the path
Leading to the vestry, his bones
Boiled clean of flesh and sold separately
As souvenirs. His soul was placed
In a jar, with the lid screwed on tight.
The usual prayers were said in Latin,
Dutch, Cornish, Flemish and Erse
And then recited backwards in Pig-Latin,
English, Spanish and a vague Ugaritic patois
Specially cobbled up for the occasion.
You will, accordingly, understand
That, pursuant to the Peace of Westphalia,
The Geneva Convention, Hoyle’s Book of Games,
And the Rule in Shelley’s Case, your client
Lacks standing to be haunting our chambers
Or to be bringing other ghosts after midnight
To make confetti of our files. Also, we demand
That he forthwith cease all attempts at seducing
Personnel above the rank of senior associate

Friday, March 17, 2017

MORE FROM ABROAD



BARCELONA -- FOR NMS II

Since you were here,
Here and well in
Barcelona,
Zadig and Voltaire
Have formed a partnership
And opened a small store.
I assume Zadig gets first billing
Because even a fictional prince
Outranks a mere Immortal.
This city, capital of a country
Which once existed
And may exist again, but is now
Cater-kin to Shangri-La,
Is right for them both. Both prefer
Lands where the king's writ
Does not run and can barely
Maintain a brisk hobble.
I don't know what they sell.
If you were still alive, though,
You would surely tell me.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

ID


Here is David, says the guide.
Nonsense! David was a boy,
11, maybe 12; this is a grown man.
One who is quite wondrously fit,
And also 14 feet tall. In other words,
He is a giant -- "Il Colosso,"
The Florentines called him.
It can only be that this fellow
Is Goliath, escaped from the version
In which, to show his disdain
For his opponent, he arrives
Fresh from the bath, not bothering
Even to put on a towel.
Instead of a sword, he carries a sling.
He does not intend to kill David --
Where would be the glory in that?
No; he just wants to teach the boy