“A place in the national firmament…
Greatness is more than government.
To make exciting mischief or dull salt;
Hazard the chance of ruin, lay on fault,
Set the highest stakes through piracy
But who the hell to handle it, to cut free;
To build me a mad image, up to anything
Other than domestically, one who’ll thus bring
A welcome beard. Under my dark sun, hold hard!
The one you serve was dealt the bleakest card.”
(What serves power, if one’s form at flood
Is splendidly bedight yet daubed with mud?
And the ‘new King’ seems the old with new friends;
We do not shiver in his wake but it portends
That His Majesty, a marathon man
Will outstrip us in his lonely race because he can.
This fetid throne of fools, this mundane state,
This town of travesty, this seat of hate,
This alternate inferno, semi-purgatory,
Trash heap built by mankind for its glory,
Against devotion and the hand of truth,
This venal cast of men, this puny booth,
This worthless swampland wobbling like a ball
Upon some synthetic, imitation caul,
This cursed plot, this filth, this sty, this throne,
This teeming cloaca of corruption, blown
Through with the worms and louses of the world,
Each with its own agendas tightly furled.)*[*apologies to John of Gaunt and W. Shakespeare]
“I’ve earned the right to wield some clout
But they’re proudest of me when I show doubt,
As I recall some time I’ll not be alive,
To bed, hoping morning won’t arrive.
One won’t regret the ideas undone,
Take a week to think another one,
The tang of the silver spoon is met
By the king’s blithe dab of the serviette:
They pay you nickels and dimes
But I know who I am when midnight chimes.
When I was a lad I ran my own show,
I had no silver spoon, as you know
And Rose Mary Woods handled all of my mail
With an old Remington. Today’s mad detail
Fills our day, steals time with hectic scenes
Heaped on a huge staff with sleek business machines.
Naturally, one can’t be everywhere at once
As I found in ’60, when I said, like a dunce
That I’d work every state.
You go with your team:
I’ve learnt that much. Maybe, in some dream,
You get exactly what you want.
A ’73 Lincoln Bordinat,
Or some such, swiped by me to Henry’s great pain,
When we stole away and drove down Memory Lane…
My father had a lemon ranch:
He never ever thought to branch
To oil, struck after he’d decided to vacate,
Never to see one son’s success abate
That humiliation. Never grasped the push-and-shove
But avoided always lusting for their love.
Floating above the hullabaloo I stare at the hills,
Catoctin hills, specked with trees the winter kills.
`In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread’
Is what I thought the thunder said,
Or a footnote chorus, in snowy anoraks,
They’re the charioteer poised to put their boots on blacks.
Perhaps somewhere I’ll discover how
To straddle time, face fears none to know
About. Including me:
Why I’m incomplete, shy of what I want to be.
With people I’m uncomfortable unless I dominate
And one is never in command but second rate.
Give me freedom to do good-or-ill,
To hand someone else the bill,
To knead, to spread earth out as clay,
To make the great-and-small obey,
To have the world contract and count
And scratch and claw and hence surmount
The things I might ordain.
To crush the bad and end the pain
And send the waters up the hill
To dampen the clamor, soothe and still
The folks who reel from the noise
Made by the presses of the bully boys
And the natter of little, little men;
None better than a denizen.
There’s nothing silly as moral rage
Without the clout to duly engage
The Forces of Darkness. Nothing to be sought
But a pallid facsimile, fairly won or bought.
I skate about this sea of glass
And find that what will come to pass
Is predestined; shunning the fatiguing sun.
The pile of work as yet undone
Demands a blacker, bleaker rhyme,
Through methods buried deep in time.
Sustaining us amid the storm,
We four-score doodle in cruciform:
When the coup de foudre comes,
And our great conceits succumb,
Coup de soleil strums
In coup de vent’s delirium,
When the theophany passes,
After all the coup de graces
Are delivered and forgot
We shall inure at this bright spot;
Dancing a mystical gavotte.
The energies emerge
From the gorgeous girl in humble serge
Sitting on the comfy chair,
Carelessly combing her golden hair.
“The sun shall not be seen today”,
The clouds have drunk and need to spray
And as we leave you, let us make clear,
We exit snarling with nary a tear:
You’ve had some fun, a lot of fun
Yet there’s a pause as you kick someone,
He’s gone to ground; when will he run?
We think that when we suffer a defeat
That all’s ended, our way is in retreat
But time has only set to start again,
The sun appears behind the heaviest rain
And unless you too lack the discipline
Those that hate you never win.”