Thursday, January 27, 2011

Non serviam

Everyone reverentially quotes JFK's famous inaugural "Ask not..."; no one seems to think about it. If people did, they'd see it's just plain wrong. It's those who live in fascist, monolithic states whose purpose is to serve the state: their primary question is, What can we do for our government? In the US it's supposed to be exactly the opposite. The government exists to serve the citizenry, not the citizenry to serve the government. We should be asking what our country can do for us, not what what we can do for our country. Of course the answer usually is, and should be, "Leave us alone."

RHE
P.S. No, I don't believe calling it our "country," rather than the state or the government makes any difference. Are you really going to draw some mystical distinction here? Do you really think that the citizens of a country exist to "serve" it?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Note to poets everywhere

If your poems are not more interesting than you are, change vocations.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dead Grandpa Encounters Eschatology

It's grand here, says the sublime
Old Gentleman. No need
For innocence or crime,
Legs up to here or seed.
We're much too clean for lust,
And all our loins are dust.

I miss my loins, he says.
They kept me concerned at night.
They danced to fill my days.
I never asked respite.
I'd dance for stamps and coins,
Could I have back my loins,

Dead Grandpa says, but no
One flashes him satin knickers.
They book no titty show
For arrivisted slickers.
Dead Grandpa hums a psalm
Extolling holy calm.

Here at the Pearly Gates
He met a sadder sack
Just yesterday, called Yeats,
Who blessed the golden back
Of trollops, drunks, and tarts
And claimed the healing arts

Began in carnal sweats.
No disembodied voice
Can order man, said Yeats,
Who in a cloud of noise
Ascended. DG swears,
And trudges up shiny stairs,

Dodging the falling roses,
Hoping it isn't peace,
Among all posthumous choices,
In which his travails cease,
A beer, a broad, a sleep.
Dead Grandpa's climb is steep.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Dead Grandpa, the Fauvist

The elder statesman of the neighborhood
Remembers giant elk and sabertooths
Engaging in the parkway. He recalls
Splashy bonfires from the age of ice,
Thick blue-gray sheets encroaching on the huts
His parents built from fronds and fallen logs,
And, oh, the wolves--foundation of the blues,
He tells the little children, who step back,
Hoping the white-coat men with nets will show.
He notices. He tells them of the times
He drove off fierce triceratops and saved
The vegetables for winter. Where were you,
He queries, when we carved out the first wheel,
When Og and I invented tempera
And wooden teeth and book reviews? And salt.
The kids have heard of black-and-white TV
And know that WWI preceded II.
They do not need a grandfather who laid
Great Caesar's ghost to rest and lent his ears
To Phoenix, over coffee, every time,
Until the bird was old enough for school
And snub-nosed scissors, juice boxes, and gym.
Old and burned and born again and again,
He lives the story of the Ice Age, too,
The story of true love and painted caves,
Of Artemis and pharaoh's swanky graves;
But giant elk are scarce today. Old Og
Has gone to dust, there, blowing down the block,
And Grandfather will follow, given time.