Saturday, November 24, 2007

To Joceline

ay . . . joss!
    let's give the rules a holiday!    from you
who take the cake
    like a faith in the exhuberance of living
simply for enjoyment's sake
    to me who peck at the crumbs
    as if committing a sinful act of pleasure
tell me    when are the tables turned
    you know: the unmerry-go-round mad hatterwise
picking up someone else's empty cup
    with apologies

to dodge the questioning
    let's pretend we're the guests
call the waitress
    we'll set out the goodies on our sensual table
the limit's our ability to pay in laughter
    we'll pile sensation to the skies
forgetting all about the cost
    until we've had a bellyful of what we're after!
the moral's clear    move over gal!
    as long as imperfection rules the roost
the gamest cocks get to crow . . . let's go!

mcmlxiii, rev. mmvii

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Slug it out!

nts in nest
    encounter tampering hand
due either to mischief or curiosity
display diligence and fortitude
in repairing adversity

whereas we human creatures
provoked by hand of fate
deplore plead beg lament
question why of misfortune
feelings put out of joint

ant also subject to suffering
dares no idle claim to compassion
earns mercy of labour's reward
resumption of gainful endeavour
by no fault of its own undone


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Disconsolate child

isconsolate child hugs doll
surrogate image of comfort
to which we, too, turn
in our adversity


Monday, November 19, 2007

See poetry (fragment)

... S
ee poetry. she lies
as all gray –powdered predications
lie, like periwigs on empty heads.
Be nice. Discard the lice.
Beribboned as a beauty fair
Cherry-heart has drunk the ripeness of her eyes.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Last Words and Testament of Reverend Divine Doctrinaire Bideen

Last Words and Testament of Reverend Divine Doctrinaire Bideen

Late of Persia and this World

On Consideration of a Dear Friend and Filosofusser, Tich Backhouse

If you, dear Reader, will kindly vacate the idle rocking-chair on your sun-warmed porch and turn to the Byrne Abbey slopes, looking south down towards the Byrne's Bog and the Big Bend where our famous salmon-navigating river fattens on the tide of the salt sea, you will notice a tall red brick chimbley, our own recycling plant, where this township's refuse is burnt and committed to the ether and thrown in smoky spirals by arbitrary winds back whence it came to descend as smut on the streets and fields of our domicile.

Next to the chimbly stands another recycling plant, the Institute for Incorrigible Women; that is, those who are deemed in need of correction but are beyond a husband's balmy influence; and over to the east by the spurline railway tracks, the Honey Haven Ranch, adjunct of Byrne Abbey Hospice and Sanatorium, residence and workplace for crackpots and senile miscreants whose principal offense is that they suffer from mental disability. Of which, i, your servant, Tich Backhouse, is one. We are detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure, which is not returned. Yus, we iz halfway round the Big Bend, but don't let that put you off.

The Rev. Divine Doctre Bideen and i had fallen in with each other at the ranch during several past incarcerations. And a wondrous man to his friends he was. I liked him on the spot. He was one of that rare ilk, the ilk of human kindness, and his crime – if crime it may be – was absent-mindedness: he lent and borrowed money as if it were cheap scrip – which it were to him – forgetting whose wallet it belonged in and he was invariably seized for non-payment of bills. So they put him in a position where he could not earn any money to pay it back. That's governmint fer you!

I wouldn't listen to a critical word about the good doctre, unless it were that his mind were too large fer the brain of a mortal man. His attention was fixed on no temporal horizon and he arranged his curious vocabulary of abstractions in capital letters, thinking words needed no grinding on the philosopher's stone if they were heartfelt.

He got his degrees in Metaphysix 'n Theology at Ispahan University in Persia, and he was a Haji by right, which means he executed the duty of every true Muslim believer and went afoot on a pilgrimage to Mecca. So you can cast no aspersians, ha ha!

How he got to Byrne Abbey, i dunno. 'Twasn't any hankerin' fer the Sisters of Mercy, which is our institutions present mentors, besides he were celibate and never gazed at a woman above their buttoned shanks. He had been a Sufi among the Turks and perhaps they drove him out. And he were at Tiblis or Tiflis when the original Doukobours negotiated a passage West. So he may have come with them. I wisht he talked more about actual people 'n' places an' less about bloodless ideas. But there's a confirmed philosofusser for y': that were hiz bent an' bless him for it! I've copied some of his animadversions – "pipedreamz", az i called them – while we were occupying up 'n' down berths at the funny farm. I shall miss him, an' Honey Haven will never agin be my second home.


I know it's Fall

know it's Fall
    cos my knees are cold
They'll get used to it
    as i will
    this reformed Thyrsus of mine
    but warmer dressed
A storm in a huff
    precipitates hailstones
    drumming its heels on the roof
    so i look out, startled
    and a zealous wind
    fall's janitor
    is thrashing the cedars and cherries
    until they writhe
    . . .  leaving behind
    this seamless layer of cloud
    like the underside of a massive broadloom
    barefaced as a tart at a wake

"Stay in!" you counsel
    "It will clear later"
But this is the seasonal cusp
    when dozing waterfowl
    open the other eye
    and recall timely invitations
    to greet the sun elsewhere
Probability is
    it won't let up tomorrow
Dash it! Mustn't get broody
    turn on the heater
    choose an easy chair and book:
    that mystery set in sultry Baetica
           switch to a brighter station
          rummaging as thought will
        to a destination
A poem, celebrating
    the shorter rotation of the sun
    after the Equinox:

O Fall, Thou Fell Antagonist
            and Usurper
    Who dids't Maternal Summer
        swipe with barbarous hand
    Anent Thine own o'erhasty accession ...

Sorry, can't continue. I feel old
I see my own countenance
    in Summer's decline
    and Fall's succession
    A matching parody
Can't get broody
    A cup of tangy Ceylon tea
    my compatible chair
    the book and Thou, my Dearest
    always in my thoughts

Oh, Fall, welcome!
    But wipe Thy nose!
Unruly gusts, white-rimed frosts
    and scouring rains
    you summon;
    and if your temper suits
    that peerless antithesis:
    Indian Summer
Lucky i am to salute Thee
    in my seventy-first year


Monday, November 12, 2007

Virtue stands

egal virtue stands now irresolute
won't by itself bestir
as if chained like Prometheus to adamantine rock
conscience gnawing with cruel maw
outraged liver


Friday, November 9, 2007

Fib on Acci

dent, eh?
no chance
I got his number
he’s anathematical

numbers measure off
just like syllables in poems


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Falling leaves

alling leaves don't grieve
    they sigh: 'Goodbye
till weather is warm;
    give our regards
to snow, cold, gale and storm!'


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

From the North Shore

cross the harbour
lights of downtown city
    into tardy sleep

i, at my window
seat for contemplation
by fantasy of beckoning pen
    reach out to you

a restless mood
in fellow-feeling
    with those transient rays
bright wands
    that play in squiggles on the water

so you, my dear, are present in my head
held luminous    or else
by turns extinguished

go to bed…? no, i linger
    chastened and sombre
whilst wavery beams
    leap from the darkened waterfront
to show
how naked under this evening sky
my hopes can fly
    or fall
both high and low


Monday, November 5, 2007

The time has run

he time has run on both our lives
has run on sweet
has run on tart
and sweet somehow survives
has run on god knows how
and sweet survives
has run on god knows how
together and apart
and sweet survives


Friday, November 2, 2007

Fall ‘72

s i squint through my sadness
    eyes of sorriest unrest
disquieted by the split between
    me and my compeers
sequel to deficit of views
    feeling used-up and squeezed-out by society
though not so blessedly bereft of grief
    as the village idiot exorcised beyond belief
nor as nonchalant as a solitary bee
    found cold and unangry on a dying goldenrod in September
gutwise i’m hung-up –- with belly fodder no luck
    lush in the bush letting off steam
god’s grace as inefficacious as demon rum
    in redeeming loss of face: seeing self eye to inner eye
while saints sing hosannah
    church choirs serenade apple-pie order in the sky
as if metermaids and one-way streets
    honking drivers speed traps cops on their beats
were headtrips extensions of the ego

Nah i’ll recover my composure
by-and-by without closure
    we grow through not out of
as trees askew attest
    oh Susannah don’t you cry calls out your best
we’ll bear up serenely never meanly
    hardship promises unjoyful occasion to think things over
like crabgrass and clover we’ll learn to thrive
    in the alley where neglect and abuse aint discreet
better that than put up a front like a garden lawn
            obliged to the street