Grand Canyon

Men I know have given up. We are all told it is biological.
Our bodies know the difference. Titty-bars attract the most.
My best friend went into The Windy City, a topless joint
in central Dallas. She squeezed a lime over her left
breast and asked invitingly, “Take suck?”

They dress in black. They’re out clubbing people and
throwing acid. Keep your doors locked. Once they get in,
all bets are off. They are out to improve the world and you
are standing in their way. Their first wish is to see you dead.
Dreams of integration and harmony ended.

They might be goats. They insist they are not sheep.
There are kids running around. Whatever they are called,
they weep black tears. Pellets cling to their back sides.
The does’ tits are pink, same as humans. The bullies await
their fate. It’s late in the summer. Soon it will be cooler.

Juicy parts for the likes of Glenn Close and Sharon Stone multiply:
poisoned baths, whipped backsides. Demosthenes doesn’t hold
a candle. The end of the American experiment, and all Hollywood
asks is for is good parts. One thing clear is the importance
of dangerous women. This was what made Rome so scary.

The new America President is solid. You know her. She’s
the one who is famous for drinking her own piss. Some say
she thinks her menstrual blood tastes like champagne. She
tells reporters she likes men who are tough, but once in bed
she prefers to slap them around, just like Kitty Carlyle.

If you will allow me to speak undiplomatically. On the military
side, we are not yet on the offensive, but we will be soon. Writers
terrorize readers with fat, boring books. It is not always the fair-
minded who are in possession of the truth. Much has happened:
vile things, and glories beyond measure. Timidity will get us nowhere.

Whatever’s the opposite of a miracle worker is what’s needed. My man
has committed the Book of Amos to memory. He offers a Jeremiad
without a theology. He sits in his dread locks, seeking harmony, but
remains ready to fight. “Confetti is better than graffiti” is his motto. Dam
the stream of consciousness. We are all having a ball except him.

He feels left out of the commotion. We celebrate the Hullaballoo.
Turn the volume down as you leave. Silence, he says, is the answer.
The children should be in bed. Instead, it is the adults who refuse
wake. They are hiding under the covers like alcoholics and invalids.
Wrong thoughts that darken fill their minds.

What is needed is constancy, morning Mass, chickens to feed; what
used to be called daily routine. Most are too busy now with nothing.
Just remember, the status quo is what you know. Don’t ask for hope
and change if you can’t grasp what is coming. Try the escargot in
Cincinnati. The man to lead us knows what we have can be robbed.

Just Desserts

Horror among the horror-stricken;
they stand agape, shocked and ready
to denounce the trouble makers;
the ones who soil their sheets at night,
those who take too much coffee without
compensating the innkeepers. We saw them
in Kyoto stealing peeks at the sacred gardens.
We saw them last year at the Vatican.

His loud wife threw me a glance and denounced
the colors of my pajamas. Both we saw at the
gallery; the same couple complained bitterly when
they couldn’t get in for gold-leaf gelato, a scoop
with some tangerine-chocolate cake and café latte.
They said they were important art collectors, just in
from Buffalo, where they had recently restored a
Frank Lloyd Wright residence with six bedrooms.

We waved at them at the Vatican. They accompanied us
to the shoes of the tormented, the sculpture dedicated
to Jewish children just outside Hungary’s Parliament
on the Danube, whose dark waters, we were told, carry
even darker secrets. The man threw his elbow last night
at the buffet, desperate to get at the Austrian roast beef.
I don’t mind telling you that I for one have had enough.
I can’t stand this aggressive fool. I hope he dies. My wife
prays for his death.

We didn’t want to see him again after the Loos Haus,
but there they were waiting for us in the lobby in Kyushu.
They spent all of breakfast talking about today’s box lunch.
Last night, we sat near them but avoided contact. The
man was at the onsen, smoking and guzzling Kirin beer.
I had been hoping never to see him again, but there he
was, stark naked, making a scene in the lobby, telling
everyone he was an important man from Houston.

I’d never met anyone before from Indianapolis. I could
see they were rich. The bus dropped them all by themselves
at the posh hotel at the center of town, then we were taken
to the outskirts to a hotel half the price. We crossed the road
and found some ham sandwiches at the convenience store.
In the morning the man told everyone they had been served
suckling pig by topless virgins flown in specially from Bali.
They feasted by candlelight and the music of wooden flutes.
Their hands were tied and they were fed by the girls who served
each bite mouth to mouth, each succulent slice accompanied by
green grapes. All this washed down by white wines produced
in the local valley, fertilized by the bones of ex-servicemen in
the great war. I was filled with envy. We got our desserts and sat
at a far-off table. My wife was jealous. We sat alone. We never
spoke again. My and I took an excursion by boat to a tiny, un-
inhabited island minutes from town and blew our brains out.

In China, Bathrooms Have No Stalls

I’d like to thank the Academy, wouldn’t you?
What did you learn? I learned to keep my head
down, keep my mouth shut, and not to disagree.
We hoped to be saved by the bell.

I have no Tuscan dreams. I’ve forgotten
the 23 uses of peppermint oil I was taught
last night on the evening news. My sister
was told to hide her breasts.

My mother treats me like a cat. She tells me
not to bring dead mice into our home.
“Why don’t you go out to the garden to play.”
I’ve trained the raccoons to stay off the grass.

The child rapist may have been arrested
but not America’s moral decline. The hand-writing
is on the wall. The hand-wringing never stops.
Who can sleep at night knowing prisoners are getting sick?

I belong to Pasadena’s Harvest Rock Church.
My best friend owns Red Harvest wines.
My uncle used to bottle Orange Crush.
My father preferred Pepsi to Coke. I drink tea.

Education depends on memorizing. Remember Homer?
If true, we are finished. There is no memorizing
in the schools. Tennyson is forgotten, so is Eliot.
I should know. I once taught Horace.

Only forgetting and, at times, finger-pointing
and name-calling are allowed. Students are trained
to hate. Grievance committees are being formed.
Boys now use the girls’ locker rooms. Girls don’t wash.

For nutrition, they serve chocolate milk and green
prison apples. Lunch time brings burritos and slices
of cold pizza. For dinner, students buy Doritos and M&M’s.
Everyone’s waiting for the coroner to remove the corpses.

Opulent Respite

Seidel and Edith.
Frederick and Sitwell sit well with me.
Edith Sitwell, an infirm English lady, dresses
like a great Russian princess or a Russian wolfhound.
Frederick, that poet with a wicked streak, can be found
on Park Avenue, walking an Eskimo on a lead made
of mink. Beats an anal leash. Frederick Seidel gave up
the family coal business for art, motorbikes, and fast women.

She is not the only dog that looks good in a tux. This woman
is regal, an alien dressed as a human being, cloaked in velvet
and sporting silk. She dresses like the Queen Mother at a wake,
in dark, dull colors; it’s an autumnal get-up with, dare I say,
funereal brocade. Dead or alive Edith Sitwell is now wanted.
She was after all a notable poet. What a drag it must have been
to be an English aristocrat, with ancestors stretching back to
the Plantagenets.

I’d cast Robin Williams as Frederick Seidel to play our poet
at the Sitwell estate; with Edith, holding court as a louche
Quentin Crisp with her turned-up nose. Fred would like to have
her on the floor. The end of a long line, in a great house with
nothing to do, the black macaw hosts Seidel as an honored guest,
there for the weekend, out hunting with a shotgun on his shoulder
and a dead pheasant at his feet; the footman bends down
not to kiss him but to tie his shoes.

I can easily imagine Seidel with a glass of Champagne, with Edith
at her country estate, sounding a lot like Marie Antoinette: “Let us
recite poetry after taking a spin on my Ducati.” She lowers her bum
on the bike’s hot leather and squeals with pleasure. “Darling, Freddy!”
Frederick sends Edith off to listen to music in East St. Louis; Miles
Davis is a master, blowing his bugle to summons the hounds. He
hopes Miles’ horn sits well with Edith. Edith fits right in with Fred’s
Jewish family. The Sitwells use coal to heat their poetry, too!

Scarborough and St. Louis. Edith was a Denison while Frederick
a mere denizen of off-color places like glass boxes in Amsterdam
offering carnal applications. The caged ladies of the night remind
Frederick of his pet hamster back in Missouri. The sensitive lad
ran away upon overhearing Ike beating Tina, sounds of her blood-
curdling cries clashed with Miles Davis’ mellow solos. Little Freddy
washed the barbecue sauce off his sticky fingers and raced off
on his extravagant motorbike, a chariot, built by hand in Bologna.
Mr. Seidel and Edith Sitwell have this in common. They’ve
had it easy. Seidel writes of triumphs and mischief, relishing
a king’s access to elegant digs and piquant clits. Between the wars,
Sitwell learned to dance, imitating in style and disposition Friar
Lawrence. Poisons and medicines from a common vine: eye lashes
and pig sperm tossed into a fraught concoction. Like ancestral
miners, Edith and Frederick dig a shared vein and, if not for coal,
then for gold, and not in vain.

Turpentine and Glue

He stepped on a door knob in the basement.
He knocked over a vase, a real nice one.
He let the dog out by mistake.
He kicked in the cat’s head on purpose.
He found six Navajos hiding behind the fireplace.

The cat ate the windshield wiper.
He forgot to cancel his subscription to Enchantment
and was taken for a gypsy.
He ordered 3 pig ear sandwiches, an order of fries, and got 13
by mistake. 13 sandwiches at 99 cents apiece. They messed up the order.

Nearly thirteen bucks was a fortune.
We were fixing to finish them off when Pelcher showed.
I called David Earl Smith. Told him to move his ass.
Remember when people used to trudge?
David Earl trudged.
Pelcher said we couldn’t eat that many.

We were there no more than 20 minutes when someone
ordered six more, six plus the thirteen, mind you, was
19 sandwiches in all. We ate every last one of them.
Eleven pig ear sandwiches and the others, fried baloney with Cole slaw and special sauce.
That night we watched The Mummy.
In the morning we headed over to Tobey Park to steal snow cones.

to the police academy to watch them training dogs. Firemen were there,
burning down the building. Place was full of black smoke.
At 3, we took off for the worm factory, looked into the vats of worm rot, and detritus,
and felt happy to be alive.
As my father used to say, oil is used for many things.