Pantoum for the Fifty Percent

tom and viv
The dinner détente dies, the candles fade,
The tension mounts, a cat that climbs the stairs.
Like clowns out of step in a sad parade,
The wind and rain repeat, but no one cares.

The tension mounts. A cat that climbs the stairs
Connotes the awkward moment’s masquerade
The wind and rain repeat. But no one cares
When love grows still and breathes contagious airs.

Cannot the awkward moment’s masquerade
Expend emotion’s capital like tares
Our love still grows? To breathe contagious airs
We hum the minor chords of Scheherazade.

We spent emotion’s capital. Like tares,
The dinner détente dies. The candles fade.
We hum the minor chords of Scheherazade
Like clowns out of step in a sad parade.

Join the fray…

USA. New York. 1950.

Where they discuss the not-so-usual suspects – including you and you and you and you and and you and you and…!


Contemporary Pals (With Apologies to Ol’ Possum and Brer Rabbit (Ez Po)) from “Quia Potter Amavi”

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.

“… he was an integral, important part of a very dynamic publishing operation.”

Cubeland Mystic sent me this with a note saying, “This one has your name on it.” And, yeah, it pretty much does. Thanks, CM.