Saturday, July 16, 2011

from the mailbag

Yes, I can write limericks. As it happens, I had occasion to improvise a couple this week. No, I rarely do, and I don't think the local paper would be interested. Perhaps Posterity will publish my occasional verses as the final volume of my Collected Works. After all the Major Poems, of course.

I get some very odd emails.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Critical Updates

I’ve changed the voice commands. The poem starts
When anyone says “Artemis” or swears
By Zeus’s thigh. It finishes when rain
Intervenes, the puddles ex machina
Providing an escape. Between the prompts
Poetry sleeps. Hollering “Blood-dimmed tide”
As your Camaro races by won’t work,
Nor liquid-sifting nightingales atop
A satellite dish. I have allowed for that.
Nor saying “Venus” when you really mean
The foam-born goddess who made Helen fall
For that blond curly-headed twit, then watched
A local Hector dragged around in dust.
You can’t say “whale-road,” can’t pretend that Danes
Are good for more than video games. You must
Burn your own child to smithereens to save
Earth from the sun when what it needs is rain.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

No, Really, I'm Not

This woman in her vinyl raincoat runs
Up to me--it’s not raining--and she asks,
Are you The One? (I hear the capitals,
The edge of majuscules, the sharpened height
Of serifs as they play about her eyes,
Wide to let all the light in that there is.)
I’m not. I thought I was once, but I’m not.
She coughs. No one should make mistakes like that,
She tells me, and she takes 2 backwards steps:
You might have missed your chance to save. The truck
Repaving Colorado beeps reverse,
And I shall never know what I have lost.
Her raincoat’s black, of course. I know she keeps
Asafoetida bags about her flat,
Merde du Diable; I know she cannot sleep
Because she has misplaced The One, the leaf
Marked with a grosgrain ribbon and a spoon.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Scrambled Egg Principle

It has been justly observed, that discord generally operates in little things; it is inflamed to its utmost vehemence by contrariety of taste, oftener than of principles
--Johnson, Rambler 99

I had a girlfriend once who liked her eggs scrambled hard. I liked mine scrambled loose. Instead of saying that we liked our eggs cooked differently, she insisted that she scrambled eggs correctly; I scrambled them wrong. From this I derived the Scrambled Egg Principle: Do not elevate differences of taste into differences of principle. I see that, as usual, Johnson has anticipated me.