Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The School of Real Estate

My alma mater was crowing yesterday about its "School of Real Estate & Construction Management." (No, really.) For some reason that made me think of Cardinal Newman, who wrote in The Idea of a University, "There is a knowledge which is desirable, though nothing come of it, as being of itself a treasure, and a sufficient remuneration of years of labor" and "Liberal Education makes not the Christian, not the Catholic, but the gentleman. It is well to be a gentlemen, it is well to have a cultivated intellect, a delicate taste, a candid, equitable, dispassionate mind, a noble and courteous bearing in the conduct of life." Is it fair of me to wonder whether the School of Real Estate will produce such graduates?

Just 3 Hours

Just 3 hours till our barbecue,
the sun defers to the hot coals,
the clouds muster in force, degrees fall
like dry leaves in Vallombrosa.
Phone. "Are you cancelling?" Why, no. Phone.
"Are you cancelling?" No. No. Phone.
Yes, maybe I am cancelling. Phone.
Do what you want. The brew's cold now,
and a first skunked neighbor staggers by.
"Death rides a paper cock," he says,
"and he demands a beer, your firstborn beer."
On the shade the crows glide, watching.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Anything Goes

Some of the souvenirs began to squirm
As hibernating gods shook off their sleep.
Their naps had been profound, their dreams so vague,
They didn't know where parts of them had gone;
But shelves in Indonesia and Brazil
Let down their severed heads; and in Duluth
And Lower Slaughter little shiny coins
Twirled. It was more than mildly disconcerting.

Poseidon had a charley-horse and Dis,
Occluded vision. Iris saw her dress
Change colors, as the label, Roy G. Biv,
Turned inside out and backwards. Down below,
A village suffered instant disrepute
When all the hausfraus ran away with birds.
In Rome the statues changed their legal names,
And some converted. Venus wept real tears,

The tiny tears of dolldom, small and briny.
Green, like the eyes which they obscured, they fell,
But raised no fruit. It was her elder name
Which founded Paris, where the horses reared,
And no one knew what anything meant or cost.
The souvenirs dissolved, and mighty Zeus
Stroked his oiled beard, but did not wake. The heads
Of headless torsos speechified from dust.