Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Please, do not adjust your set.

In keeping with the dismal note I sounded the other day, I have decided to post another dark piece. I hope you don't mind. I only propose to do this until it gets warmer.

I feel it is better to get these things out of my system, rather than let them sit in my brainpan foully fermenting, possibly blowing the top off my skull, like a hairy old cork. I have no wish to wind up like a bad bottle of champagne.

And I have no wish to create a great pink and gray mess for Walter to scrape off the ceiling in my office. He is a kind and diligent man. He and his bad back live in the Bronx, and I worry whenever I see him ascending a ladder.


Anyway, here is another poem.


My Poor Fool

Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, and thou no breath at all?

King Lear, V.iii.352-53

Heaven was just the place for him to go.
He never understood this world. You know,
We would discuss it over marmalade
And coffee—matter—how the world was made.
He would take
small triangles of toast
And dip them in his egg—completely lost.
Most considered him a child—my half-wit.
Like any parent, my poor heart was split:

His jokes were creaky as an outhouse door,
And yet I loved him—loved him to the core.
He turned the girls to jelly. For, in his
There twinkled something wild in black tie
Which frightened the officials, children, and dogs.
He painted funny faces in the fogs
Which rolled in like thunder from the sea
Those nights we kept each other company.

He tested my love constantly. He
d twist
My heart right
into knots—without a sweat
One drop of effort. For some reason I
Don’t fully comprehend, he teased me,
Are you so melancholy, Lord—so blue
He pinged me with a pebble from his shoe.
Most fools are a bit impudent. Of course,
This lad was lucky: he wound up a corpse.

I hanged the lad in public to remind
The peoples of planet Earth that God had died.
They stared at him like vegetables. The few
Who cried for Mercy I hanged twice. Like you,
I never thought his last remarks were fair,
Until I had him hoisted in the air.
“Good grief,” he gargled, “how the rafters shook

When we gave that carpenter the hook!”

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