I. Mr. Potterax
Mr. Jonathan Potterax, the owner of a loud guitar
and of large dog,
A “green” and a stacker of volumes, has married
at the age of 28,
He being at that age a virgin,
The term “virgo” being made male in mediaeval latinity;
His poetic reveries
Having driven his wife from one consumer excess to another.
She has abandoned the Land Rover
For it was lacking in vehemence;
She is now the high-priestess
Of a modern and ethical Tupperware party,
And even now, Mr. Potterax
Does not believe in plastics.
His brother-in-law has taken to photographs,
But the sister-in-law of Mr. J. Potterax
Objects to filterless cigarettes.
In the parlance of Jackie Mason:
“80% of men cheat in America…the rest cheat in Europe”;
And thus the empire is maintained.
II. Mr. O’Brienax
When Mr. O’Brienax visited the San Diego area
His whiskered whisky dripped among the teacups.
I thought of Lickona, that shy figure among the eucalyptus-trees,
And of myself in the shrubbery
Gaping at the lady in the swing.
In the palace of Mrs. Phlato, at Professor James Fortunatus Dixon’s
He twitched at the lips like a freshly hooked coelacanth.
O this twitching was submarine and profound
Like his old man hooch’s
Hidden under a rock beside the above-ground swimming pool which hadn’t been cleaned for months,
Where worried bodies of drowned bottles drift down in the green silence.
Shooting back three or four fingers of the stuff,
I looked for the head of Mr. O’Brienax lolling in a chair
Or grinning over a screen
With bits of tobacco and rolling papers in its hair.
I heard the roar of a big machine
Two worlds and in between
Hot metal and methadrine
I heard empire down
In fact, I heard the beat of Mr. Andrew Eldritch’s clever allusions
Over the dinny confusion of the Glas pax
As my dry and passionate slant-6 devoured the afternoon silence.
“He is a charming man”–”But after all what did he mean?”–
“His red nose and red eyes … He must be unbalanced,”–
“There was something he said that I might have challenged.”
Of dowager Mrs. Phlato, and Professor and Mrs. Dixon
I remember dried-up pimento stuffed olives
Resting at the bottom of empty conical stemware.