ON MY MARK 

When they tour me through the town,
Remember how it felt in that black silk gown.
Don’t forget how it felt in that black silk gown.

When they come to fix my face,
Remember to bear hard times with easy grace.
Don’t forget to bear hard times with easy grace.

When they handle me with bronze and gold,
Remember you were born to play your role.
Don’t forget you were born to play your role.

When they drop me down the door,
Remember you should have begged for more.
Don’t forget you should have begged for more.

When your perfume has left a wake,
Remember the plans we forgot to make.
Don’t forget the plans we forgot to make. 

When the children have gone out to play.
Remember the debts that you must pay.
Don’t forget the debts that you must pay.

When my mark is o’er grown with moss,
Remember that no matter what it cost,
It was more than worth what you have lost,

And if you drop a penny in a jar,
I, too, will give assent, even if far
Apart our quarters briefly are.

 

Α ∞◊ ♣ § ♥ ♦ ∞ Ω

 

BOB DOLE

I dreamed I saw him, Bob Dole,
The former five-term senior Senator from the Great State of Kansas,
The former Senate Majority Leader,
The former Chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee,
His party’s nominee for Vice President,
His party’s nominee for President, and
Former Chairman of the Republican Party
On a blasted long-rolling Kansas heath,
Malty fog pocked, the sunflower sea all around
For miles blown down, flattened
Like trees petrified at Tunguska after the event,
And, he, Bob Dole, there, standing, not rickety, one of the elect, at its center, on the plain.

Do you hear?

Showdown: A handshake apart, he, 
Bob Dole—severe, raven sleek
Black suit, black tie, hair dyed black, black brows, sunken pits for eyes, 
Skin a savage sun lamp red,
The pink tip of his, Bob Dole’s, small hard tongue emerges, 
Barely, between his, Bob Dole’s, lips, poises sniffily,
Slips unsatisfied back to the inkiness of its worn burrow.
So contoured, so streamlined is his, Bob Dole’s, black suit’s coat, 
I think that he, Bob Dole, is black feathered
With not a one, a single feather, out of place—
Some freaky Cheyenne spinning Sun Dance wakan-tanka pain hallucination.
I dare not look down, fearing that instead of seeing gleaming black wingtips, 
I will see gleaming black wing tips,
Yellow, I say, yellow—whapwhapwhap—legs, leghorns, boy, 
With tri-claws extending from black pants.
The blank blankness of his, Bob Dole’s, stare grinds me.
His jaw juts spearlike, penetrating my chest, 
Skewering my cherry heart like a meaty tomato hemisphere 
Sacrificed, an offering on the brick barbeque grill of his searing discontent.

Do you hear in the fields?

I have done him, Bob Dole, some offense. 
I have uttered mortally wounding words that now bring me low.
I babble ambiguous writhings. 
Apologies dribble, lost in the dry south wind.
My milky mouthings are a baby’s spit-up 
Compared to his, Bob Dole’s, renowned sardonic, mordant wit 
With which he, Bob Dole, will eminently, imminently 
Skewer my flabbering tongue, 
Yanking it roots ‘n’ all from my mouth’s pearlless oyster floor.

Do you hear in the fields? The howling?

To my left, some unknown figure, one I like,
Composed of solid silent granite mist or perhaps congealed tornadic wheat dust, 
Some toothy eminence, a bald steel worker perhaps, to whom I also seek atonement— 
I, to no avail, introduce him. 
Somehow I commit a breach of Senatorial etiquette.
I have used an incorrect term of art or honorific.
Bob Dole’s eyes, outraged, peck me, my lily liver, to bits, to death.

Do you hear in the fields? The howling? 
            Fearsome ones—shamblers, rebels—come.

 

I expect, at any moment, a bee—
To be more specific, a honeybee—
To bulbously emerge, hairy, after a struggle, from between his, Bob Dole’s,
barely split slit lips,
Pause, swivel its nascaresque head,
Crawl across his upper lip into his, Bob Dole’s, left nostril.
A honeybee now does exactly as I have said it would.
Oblivious, Bob Dole is, in toto, frozen, immobile,
A gulch whipping gale whipping within him—
Nearing Apoplexia——All aboard for Canniption! FairvaleArbogast!
(And, yes, Whippin' Pos'!)
No ambiguity gleams in his, Bob Dole’s, black eyes—
Only a birdy taxidermical twinkle of ominous black parlourous is-ness.
He says nothing, nor does he kaw me to his, Bob Dole’s, side

Do you hear in the fields? The howling? 
            Fearsome ones—shamblers, rebels—come 
            To slit the throats of their children.

In a flurry of genuflection, I grab the Senator’s hand 
To shake, clasp, pump like a joady-clank kitchen sink handle.
It is the wrong one—the right—
The one withered by ripping shrapnel during the Second World War, 
When he, Bob Dole, recipient of two Purple Hearts 
And a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Acorn Rampant,
Led a platoon in the legendary Thirteenth Mountain Division in Italy,
And was mortally wounded at Anzio
Where he, Bob Dole, left a portion of his, Bob Dole’s, body on the beach,
As his, Bob Dole’s, scrolling online bio most righteously reveals.

            May their filthy blood and that of their families
            Fill the furrows of our fields.

I am grabbing, fumbling at the frozen fused
Clawhandspoon, the bony pineapple grenade that he, Bob Dole, cannot unfist,
Which everclenched he, Bob Dole, uses as a portable Papermate penholder
For the signing of bills, treaties,
But more often for the autographing of hastily torn fragments of three-ring-binder lined-paper for clamoring yellow-bused prancy yayhoos on the Mall in front of the carousel.

It—his, Bob Dole’s, appendage—is, 
However, strangely limp, soft— penile—
As though his, Bob Dole’s, long-necked molluscan artillery dangles 
Geoduckily down his, Bob Dole’s, flaccid coat sleeve.
I grip—what?
The Purple Hearted head of his, Bob Dole’s, monstrous immense well-concealed
shoulder-slung all-too-fleshy dick?

            Never will we be their slaves.

From his, Bob Dole’s, pants pocket, he, Bob Dole, takes
A tiny box turtle and a tiger salamander.
He, Bob Dole, and I watch as, 
In the arena of his, Bob Dole’s, palm, 
The turtle’s hook curved beak bites the newt’s plump flank
And, poisoned, shakes it, wriggling.
Creases in the earth ooze blood.
Far off whistle blowing, he, Bob Dole, clenches the beasts, stuffs them:
The ferry crosses the Potomac, an amazing bearded harpist playing gracefully on its deck.
Outraged, his, Bob Dole’s, eyes, glowing like Roman coals, fix on me,
Heat ripples radiating round their sockets
The foghorn blows. I say, boy, the foghorn blows.

            Never will we wear their chains,
            Not in ten million years.

Only now do I notice behind—almost growing out of—his, Bob Dole’s, right 
Shoulder—his, Bob Dole’s, Boadicea, his, Bob Dole’s, wild Irish confederate, 
The Honorable Elizabeth Dole,
The Republican Senator from North Carolina, 
The former Secretary of Transportation,
The former Secretary of Labor,
The former President of the American Red Cross,
And a devoted daughter.

            Grind their bones into dust.

 

Fully hairdoed, she, Elizabeth Dole, smugly, just 
Is in her tight breast dazzly gold buttoned black border bouclé pale pink eastereggy Chanel suit
In that self-assuredly Southern taut taupe mummylicious foundation garmented way,
As buff and as asmile as the hungry underslung outboard port Pratt & Whitney
turbofan engine 
On a swept wing long-range heavy-duty Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.
She is indeed combed, coiffed, curled, cinched, strapped, sprayed and ready to
roll and smoke.
What a big boopboopdedoop bomber she is,
Her husband’s bitter semen atomic aglow and aswarm in her leaden
loin girded well hidden rosy pink bomb bay hive.

            Grind their bones into dust,
            Bake them into bread.

It is only now that I notice 
Her Vaselined ruby lipsticked nose art, 
Her Annabel Lee kingdom by the sea sepulchre of teeth, 
Her early-service front door church greeter’s needy greedy glitter eyes, 
And on her ardently rouged cheek—
A single permanent, perfectly formed  
Tear of glistening, golden honey—
No Mary Astor she.

            Grind their bones into dust,
            Bake them into bread,
            Feed them to our dogs.

After a big sleep, I awake.
In blackness, I wonder if I am consumed by a monstrous manraven 
Or have been taken up in its massive and strong arms 
And am being swaddle waddle hopped away 
To be eaten, digested, and upgushed
For frantic upbeaked colored herky-jerky Max Fleischer nestlings.
I, my pajamas, are drenched, awash with crushed pineapple,
The pulpy stuff of which humid dreams are made.
Struggling in the delicious jagged liddy sea, I reach,
—Ho!—
Don a pineapple flotation ring.
I bob. 
Time goes by: Life’s simple facts cannot be removed.
My tin can, the U.S.S. Strawberry, nowhere to be seen, 
In sweet sticky unlabeled Libby bliss, 
Thankful to at least in one-piece unserrated be,
I await the upside down half-cherry dawn cake,
While above in chocolate whipped cream clouds a Lockheed Electra
lonesome hums.

            Pray that one day you will be deemed worthy
            To share the coffins of our Founding Fathers.

 

 

Α ∞◊ ♣ § ♥ ♦ ∞ Ω

 

 

THE SAME OLD DRILL

On this, the sweet first day of senseless spring,
I went brave into morning’s dying chill.
This forsythia lured me for a fling,
She thinking I’d play Jack to her sly Jill.
Just let the hairy bee—that fumble thing—
Go lick your buttons for his monstrous thrills.
Two robins wrestle. Swirling down, they cling
To quarreling like medieval poets to quills.
Their screeching flaps on angry comma wings,
The punctuation marks of frenzied wills.
I favor changeless winter’s silence still
To insane ballets’ whirl of hole and drill.
There’s nothing blooming that will make me sing.
For, boy, I know the ides of April’s bills.

 

Α ∞◊ ♣ § ♥ ♦ ∞ Ω

 

THRESHOLD

Be the curl, not the wave.

Be the pop, not the cork.

Be the crack, not the bat.

Be the bawl, not the babe.

Be the rustle, not the tree.

Be the click, not the heels. 

Be the swish, not the skirt.

Be the thump, not the heart.

Be the honk, not the horn.

Be the rumble, not the rails.

Be the tingle, not the touch.

Be the rustle, not the sheets

Be the creak, not the springs.

Be the breath, not the lips.

Be the scent, not the nape. 

Be the hum, not the kazoo.

Be the crack, not the egg.

Be the snap, not the purse. 

Be the sigh, not the sky.

Be the purr, not the puss.

Be the grr, not the cur.

Be the swirl, not the wine.

Be the skip, not the rope.

Be the patty, not the cake.

Be the wish, not the bone.

Be the spin, not the bottle.

Be the music, not the chairs.

Be the tock, not the clock.

Be the thing, not the ring.

Be the patter, not the rice.

Be the clatter, not the cans.

            Be the threshold, not the door.

Be the pas de, not the deux. 

Be the stroke, not the brush.

Be the quack, not the duck. 

Be the strum, not the string. 

Be the howdy, not the doody.

Be the phase, not the moon. 

Be the hue, not the sky. 

Be the jingle, not the bangle.  

Be the [  ], not the mote. 

            Be the crinkle, not the candy.

Be the fire, not the pit.  

Be the eye, not the storm.    

 

Α ∞◊ ♣ § ♥ ♦ ∞ Ω

 

EIGHT TABLESPOONS

For sweets you yearn.
You worked the churn.
You felt it burn.
You worked it good.
You ran the dasher—
Dash, dash, dash.
You ran that wood—
Mash, mash, mash.
You set me right
To chillin’ deep
Down in your tub,
A perfect sleep.
You smoothed me
Round and round
You rub, rub, rubbed.
Now I’m a stick of butter—
With a wrapper on,
With it off
You do me slow.
I’m not summer soft.
I’m fresh and hard.
I been in the bin.
Don’t you pat me down.
Don’t you play me thin.
You some kind of cracker?
I ain’t no oleo,
Ain’t no no-count low-cal budget bargain spread.
Slab me on, run me thick,
Take me all the way,
Good gracious, in.
Salty taste about your lips
Settle down about your hips.
Baby, not so quick—
Nice and easy, long and slow.
Away I, away I creamy go.
Eight tablespoons what I got,
More than enough to top your pot.

 

 Α ∞◊ ♣ § ♥ ♦ ∞ Ω

 

I DON’T LOVE YOU

Well, I got up this morning
And I looked in your bed
I saw you hitting the bottle again
Pink elephants dancing at your head
I ain’t giving you no more warnings.

I got the four-year-old, seventy seven thousand mile,
Two dents in the door, brown Chevy minivan blues.
I got payments to make.
I don’t love you no more.

I got those red Corvette yearnings in the booster-seat of my heart.
Strapped in and air bagged,
Baby, you’ve been drinking all my earnings,
And I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know what to do. 

It’s you or the highway.
I got to choose.
Your sippy-cup lovin’ has spilled
One time, two times, three times, more.
It’s a sour-smellin’ stink
I can’t barely wash out the floor.

You say you got the terrible twos.
Well, ookie-pookins, I got worse news:
I got the four-year-old, seventy seven thousand mile,
Two dents in the door, brown Chevy minivan blues.
Payments to make. I don’t love you no more.

You been seen toddling round town
A’playing me like Bozo,
A orange-haired rubber-nosed clown.
I got the four-year-old, seventy seven thousand mile,
Two dents in the door, brown Chevy minivan blues.
Payments to make. I don’t love you no more.

Well, howdy doody, it’s time
To end this little hanky-panky.
You been sharing your blankey
With every caregiver but me.
Who’s been taking care of your days?
Who’s been sharing your naughty ways?
Another’s fixed your diaper.
It’s apparent you found a better wiper.
You won’t get no more pampering from me.
Now, baby, don’t you pout.
I’m putting you in permanent time out.

I’m closing the sliding door of my affections.
Take your blankey and crawl, little one, I’ve got errands to run.
I’m Sam’s Club bound. Yes, I’ve got errands to run.
Home Depot, Mickey D’s: I gotta be free.
You scrape your little knee
Don’t come crying to me, my dove
The lid’s off our sippy cup love.

I’m closing the sliding door of my affections.
Take your blankey and crawl, little one, I’ve got errands to run.
I’m Sam’s Club bound. Yes, I’ve got errands to run.
Home Depot, Mickey D’s: I gotta be free.
You scrape your little knee
Don’t come crying to me, my dove
The lid’s off our sippy cup love.

Α ∞◊ ♣ § ♥ ♦ ∞ Ω

 

 

 

 

 

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