The Photograph

The photograph hangs on the wall by the window,
Three judges appear (one carries a folder)—
A tarot card reader, embalmer, engraver,
Without much to say and not much of it said
About the boot in the crib and the tire in the bed
The round faced man and the pot on his head
Painted with flowers and chipped on its edge.
And the cat near the door with its collar and bell
Flailing and airborne and mid caterwaul.
And the three-leggèd dog with her leash on
And sweater, jubilant, leaping— Mon Dieu! Grand jeté!
And the crow— O the crow! In its cage cawing “Fire!”
The crow crowing “Mayhem!” and “Murder most foul!”
The dog and the cat and the crow and the tire
The cage and the crib, the pot painted in flowers;
All in a frame with a sign alongside—
“Self portrait. Around the Ides of July.”
A ribbon is clipped and then hung for its owner.
It bears the word “Mention” and then the engraver
Makes a note on a form he hands to the embalmer.
The tarot card reader turns— She and her hat,
And addresses the room, “Ain’t no card made for that.”

.

Bad Dog

Dandelions left her cryin’
What’s a man to figure

.

Tried it twice— She turned to ice
So what’s a man to figure

.

Told her that my love for her—
who knows—might last forever

.

Asked her if she’d be my gal
Last words I hear’d was “NEVER”

.

Last words I hear’d was “NEVER”

.

I have no idea how this got in my head. I admit to laughing.

Upon Awakening in a Churchyard

Spare me the lecture, Father.
I’m going to Hell and we both know it.
Aye, and all your choirs and blather
Won’t but start me sufferin’ years

/

Before me ‘lotted time. Ye’d make
The Devil’s work a damned sight quicker
If’n I weren’t deaf in both ears twice before me wake
For all your moaning for me soul.

/

Spare me the lecture, Father.
I’m going to Hell and we both know it
Aye, and it don’t seem right a man should suffer
Twice for the same sin.

.

Being of Irish extraction this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

BEDBUG SLAM

The only good bedbug is a dead bedbug.
The only bedbug worse than a live bedbug
is a fed bedbug, notwithstanding the
fedded, bedded & newlywedded bedbugs
which tend to copulate & propagate across
rolling great reclining plains, trailing baby
bug bedbugs to carry on their game and with
no attention to the names we call them either.

.

Pannin’ fer Rhymes (an old miner’s tale)

Well, now– It was in the spring of ‘49 just ‘round Memorial Day in the Land O’ Freedom… or so they call it. Anyways, I was sittin’ up behind them hills… Y’know, nexta where God ‘n’ Hell musta had some sorta fuss or ‘nother. Sorta desert. Sorta not. And I was pannin’ fer rhymes– I kept comin’ up dry– when alluvasudden straight outta the ground there’s this tinklin’, twinklin’ musical sound. So I grabbed me a panful and gave it a twitch. Some verbs and an adjective peppered the dish. Good stuff, I s’pose. Fer a yarn they’d bin fine but not fer perfessional-lookers-fer-rhymes. I swished ‘em a little and shook ‘em again to see if that tinklin’ mightn’t be kin to the one that I found in the gully that night. It’d had to be good or it wouldn’t fit right. Them poets won’t shell-out fer less than a pair cuz one by itself leaves ‘em pullin’ their hair. So ya gotta find more than a couple that fit or poets ‘ll fake it and some ‘ll just quit and some ‘ll just hope no one says that it’s….. Y’ know….. Call ‘emselves “nou-veau” and claim it’s legit. ‘Nuffa that, I s’pose.

.

I looks fer them twinklin’ musical words that rhymes like the first time they’s ever been heard. I sure ain’t the first one that’s panned in them hills. My pappy before me turned up a few thrills and somewhere or ‘nother done found a whole line. But me, I ain’t happy unless it’ll rhyme. They’re there, I can hear them– they tickle the breeze! I’ll stick it out long as there’s poets to please. If y’ expected a yarn or to hear miners cuss– I’s pannin’ fer rhymes and not prose in the dust!

.

Hrmph! What’s that ya got there?

.

Sally

“Don’t be silly, Dad, I’m your only daughter.”

“Yes. But you’d still be my favorite even if you had a dozen sisters and as many brothers.”

“And your mother is my favorite wife.”

“Oh Dad, you only have one.”

“… At a time. And anyway, she would still be my favorite even if those other wives were favorites too, if I loved them all as much as you.”

.

Young Wm.

The point is, young Wm., you have no ticket
to the pantheon. Earned it? Yes. But in leaving
left the scrip behind; compared yourself
to erstwhile selves and having fallen thus
go now unbidden. Whilst you, young Wm., hailed
Lo! A fraud! A thief! or by some lower
hellish frame have learned that crueler hells
no doubt exist though like the pantheon
as hard to find. The point is, young Wm., you
have no ticket to the pantheon. Get on with it!

.

RIPPLES (a hendecasyllabic tale)

While composing a sort of minimalist
haiku the other day I chose my moment,
entered the scene and observed, with pen steady
and on its mark, a frog. A pretty standard

.

frog with tawny-green skin sitting in a tuft
of grass at the water‘s edge. Suddenly it
leapt into the air in a low gliding arc
and disappeared beneath the liquid surface.

Only ripples remained to mark its passage.
At least that’s what appeared to have happened. And
without further analysis Homo Saps
have always assumed that Frog (A) jumps into

Pond (B) and thereby makes Waves (C, D & E).
Homo Saps will, and do, assume anything.
The apparency of those motions, their Cause-
Effect relationships, is little more than

illusion for I am about to make the
most startling claims you’ve ever heard.
As I began my examination of the sequence
of events that culminated in the frog’s

disappearance, I was forced to blink and look
again. Something was wrong. The frog was normal.
The water seemed fine. The leap, unexpected
but standard by my estimation. Here, the

problem was the ripple. I split the moment
into fractions and observed that as the frog slid
down and waterward the surface tension seemed
to alter and break BEFORE any contact

had taken place. I have checked and rechecked this
observation. And the fact stands. As any
poetaster would do, I immortalized
the moment in my now controversial ‘ku:

green dapple
ripple laugh
Gplosh!

This has, however, been insufficient for
many and I have been obliged to describe
my findings in prose. As with all serious
scientific discovery, truth must never

suffer the dignity of rhyme, metaphor,
alliteration, line breaks, to wit, direct
communication, etc. The fact
of the matter is that Frog (A) must have had

an exact awareness of both the time and
location of that proto-ripple. I can’t
say (it would be unscientific) that all
objects, living things etc. have a

cognitive awareness that a rippling
within the fluidic fabrics of space-time
continua will occur, let alone when
or where. I attempted similar series

of arcs with small rocks and branches that I found
nearby and saw no prior ripple effects.
The similarities between two sets of
observed data do not at all indicate

that identical forces may be their cause.
Focus on this particular Frog (A) and
the events surrounding its disappearance.
I mention ripples in conjunction with the

fluidic fabric of space-time and I see
that some of you are a bit incredulous.
Let me put you at ease by dispensing with
complicated and somewhat biased quantum

relativist nomenclature, invoking 
time honored language of metaphysical
epistemology. This Frog (A) made an
interdimensional shift while moving through

Portal (X). It is commonplace to observe
on telescreens that when portals such as these
open in our universe that they form a
patch that is liquid in movement and texture.

What seems to be the bother is that Frog (A)
used the portal with an unparalleled sense
of accuracy and prediction. Although,
alienists have claimed that small cranial

capacities of these amphibiforms would
seem to belie such a conclusion. This is,
of course, not entirely without precedent,
to wit, our own Homo Saps, but I digress.

What is peculiarly interesting is the
possibility Frog (A) actually
CAUSED the portal to appear. This is much more
plausible than the myriad suggestions

of prediction alone. In either case these
matters will be fully investigated.
Meteorological anomalies
have also been explained, it seems, with this new

data. There is evidence to suggest that
repeated showers of frogs over several
European locations were the result
of reverse transit portals gone awry, as

will happen whenever any natural
phenomenon is harnessed or mechanized.
As this seems to explain fish, dogs, cats and such
animals that occasionally pour from

the sky it may be quite fair to surmise that
H. Saps is the only species truly stuck
on this planet. But that is merely my own
opinion. For those of you remaining, I’d

very much like to read a selection from
my latest work and from which observation,
I might add, led to my discovery that
it is NOT the wind that makes leaves blow: Rather,

the rhythmic movement of those arboriforms
that stirs the breeze. A movement familiar, I’d
add, to sports enthusiasts around the world.
Thank you for listening. I leave you with this—

feathers
leaves
dusk flutter

/curtain

.

Hendecasyllable: A line of verse containing eleven syllables.