Zulus from Canada

On the matter of Oscar Peterson,
The jury is still out.
He was the real McCoy, he was
He was the Taj Mahal.
He was butter, not margarine.

Oscar. Like Saul Bellow and Cohen,
He was from Montreal. Down south,
They call it Canada. He was Canadian.
You remember Leonard and Bellow, the
Greatest poet and best novelist, respectively,
Of the 20th century. Oscar rounded out the trio.

He could sing. He sounded like Nat King Cole.
Miracles occur. I think of Augie March down in Mexico.
I think of Leonard Cohen in Buddhist robes sweeping
up at the top of Mount Arrowhead. Bellow and Cohen
happened to be Jewish. Oscar, the mensch.

What stroke isn’t a setback? Cohen too was
Set back when he lost his fortune. All three
Went on the road, they were all looking for
A place to lay their heads. They’ve all been
Around. It was Oscar who missed his children.
Bellow had boys, the others girls or both.

Millions came and went. Bellow wrote letters
To Eisenhower, but refused to help that SOB
Pound. Cohen sang “Hallelujah” over and over.
Only Oscar refused to set it down to music.
He refused to set down music, he kept on going.
He played effortlessly with great effort. They
Called him a genius. The others, amateurs.

Canadians from Brooklyn, or was it Chicago?
Oscar held court in Miami and Frisco. Bellow
wasn’t comfortable on the east coast. Too much
Anti-Semitism. Oscar didn’t give a shit.
Cohen managed to be loved no matter what.
Oscar rose in the esteem of his peers as he grew bigger.

The finest. Saul Bellow from Montreal is said to have
Written the great American novel. Cohen it is said
Was America’s greatest singer-songwriter, a preacher from
Up north. And Oscar, let’s not quibble, the greatest jazz
Pianist on the planet. What was it, Montreal pastrami?
Montreal kosher and the Caribbean? Excellence knows.

Little House on the Prairie

The Chinese girl rests her head on the teacher’s shoulder.
The Japanese asks to pat her teacher’s tummy.
In Chicago, Houston, or in Boston, this would lead
to the teacher’s incarceration.
And rightly so, say the angry American mothers.

Every hello is a hello exploited.
Every 13-year-old is a whore in the making.
The teacher has stopped teaching and is on a dark mission.
Teacher says he can help with her sentence;
now he’s marked and awaits sentencing.

It’s not her sentences that need correction.
It’s the teacher who needs correcting.
It’s the teacher who awaits his sentence.
There is something wrong about that sentence;
it’s not nearly long enough.

The country decides to lock up its teachers.
There they can join the priests and other thinkers.
Lonely men with lots on their minds,
locked in cells with football coaches. Those hungry
for the young must be punished.

Meanwhile, the young have lost their innocence.
They’ll never ever pat another adult stomach.
Never ever again ask how something feels.
Never ever rest their heads on higher shoulders.
Never ever tell their secrets behind closed doors.

Integration has failed and so has coeducation.
Blacks want to be free to celebrate black nationalism.
We’ll make it up as we go along, but silence those who
dare to disagree. Every whim will become a decree.
All that is lost to TV is what was once called civil society.

The young are on their own.
They’ll have to learn from one another.
They can fornicate with each other.
The girls can play with other girls.
The boys can date and marry each other.

We’ll home school them as we did in the 19th century.
Classmates, playmates and classroom instruction
will go the way of the horse and buggy. They’ll watch TV
from dawn to dusk under the watchful eye of security cameras.
No exchange of information, no more dialogue, no Latin declensions.
Instruction has ended.

Teaching is finished. Back to the prairie, back to the cabin.
No more hugs and winks, no smiles, reprimands or
humiliations. No more straps, swats or paddling. Instead, milk
and cookies and daily indoctrination, Happy Hal and Fantastic Features.
We’ll get the kids out of the schools and away from the churches,
Back to where they’ll feel safe, back in bed with mom and dad.

By Popular Demand

I noticed you have a police dog in your house.
I saw its long snout and hairy prick.
It was carrying a gun and had a potbelly.
When I tried to pet him, he snarled and barked.

Jesus Christ. What’s up?
You having bad dreams? You expecting trouble?
It’s not what people normally see in the home of a ballerina,
That and the loaded shotgun. I notice too that you’re putting on weight.

You depressed?
Saw you out last night with your dog. That was him squatting over
the Palladino’s petunias.
I take it you don’t like flowers. You didn’t bother to pick it up

The Italians threatened your life? How so?
You think the German shepherd will protect you?
Tell me you had it trained to tear out the jugular, otherwise
you might as well forget it.

What do you mean he promised to cut off our genitals?
I’m not involved.
He thinks we’re lovers? He called me your husband?
Jesus Christ. How’d that happen? I barely know you.

No, I don’t think I’m prepared to sleep with you. Why
must we pretend to be married? You’re kidding.
You want a black eye so we look like we’re fighting?
But I don’t love you.

Okay, you can hang my underwear on your clothesline.
Fair enough. I’ll come over and you can do it with the lights on.
I’ll take the dog out right after.
I’m not leaving anything on the Palladino’s stairs. Absolutely not.

Look, you may have to get rid of it.
No, not divorce. An annulment. Right.
I’m not Catholic.
Howard Hughes is paying something like $100,000.

I have no problem with that.
You should be so lucky.
I’d guess three inches, no more than four.
It is against the law. Absolutely. And it should be.

Pasadena Love

Puttering around:
you’ve done it.
You know about wasting time,
if not wasting away.

Like the blue-haired ladies
in Pasadena who drive Cadillacs
into the ground. She wants the cat
in her will.

The old black gardener is the only
one she knows who doesn’t lie.
She’s missing her teeth.
She hates her son.

She’s been wetting the bed for years.
She prefers roll up windows.
She wanted Yorkshire pudding for Christmas,
not mashed potatoes.

The raccoons ate her gold fish.
The terrier’s taken to peeing on the carpet.
She forgets to let him in so he scratches
at the door in desperation.

Richard Nixon was a son of a bitch.
Everyone agreed.
She once saw Pat at Whittier Playhouse.
Nobody in Pasadena liked Dick.

She’s not going into town until
she finds her eyeliner and that’s final.
She’ll wait until next week for that
nice man to come and trim the trees.

When you are 93 you lose all interest
in the opposite sex. She’d much rather
have a cat than a husband. She remembers
the day he went away.

The lady’s pale and shriveled like a polar
bear’s scrotum. Not distended but retracted,
her flesh is never warm. She’s lost her teeth.
She hasn’t been touched in over 29 years.

That was the year her husband kissed her goodbye.
He gave her a pat and left for work.
The next thing you know his Continental was
found abandoned on the Arroyo Parkway.

Investigators searched everywhere. The boys found some stains
on the leather upholstery. Sergeant Hines swore they’d find
blood in the trunk. All she ever heard was that he was last
seen heading north in an aqua Cougar.

Declaration of Independence

My heart beats like the Liberty Bell
in Philadelphia, tapped by a small child.
They are moving it to an offshore location.

They’ve changed the name of my hometown,
Jefferson to Maya Angelou City, in a celebration
of woe. I’ve been moved to 413 Hardship Lane
and live on a guaranteed income.

Listen to the broken bell’s ring as it is lifted by crane
into a packing crate. Besmirch, the international graffiti
artist, is said to have been commissioned to emblazon
the bell with his famous logo FUCK ME in stencil.

My liberty job begins tomorrow, digging pits for the corpses
of the unemployed miners who showed up to rally for post-
partem abortion. They were killed by the newly established
Harmony Police. Public displays of displeasure are forbidden.

Our President’s husband has been found in the Rose Garden stark
naked. He was heard calling out in the middle of the night for
an agent named Christmas. When the POTUS begged him
to come inside, he shouted, “What are you going to do, nuke me?”

I myself have my eye on the waiter here at the Café Embroiled.
The new trend in public attire has caught on. I’m delighted to see
that Eldridge Cleaver’s famous designer slacks have finally been
made available with see-through cock socks for men and women.

If not for progressives, there would be no progress. That’s what
the 21st century shows. Men and women finally feel free to breastfeed
in public. I had misgivings about public defecation, but I’ve come around.
I especially enjoyed the new exhibit, “Public Droppings,” at the Whitney.

We are on a roll. America is great again. One of the few times in history
an elected official has carried out his promises. The wall’s been built, air
travel forbidden. The wait list for Atlantic crossings is now three years; the firm
“Triremes for London” employs ex-felons. Jet fuel has been banned.

Taxes once limited to cow farts have been extended to humans.
Treasury is ecstatic. Speaker Ocasio-Cortez-Smollett has established
discipline over the House. The transfer of once mothballed Soviet-era
Zil Limousines to members of Congress has assured her reelection.

USA! USA! USA! I’ll say. The party never stops. It’s been like this
since we nuclear bombed Tehran. In retaliation, they took out Tel Aviv.
Hitler no longer holds the record. This, too, is seen as an accomplishment.
Stalin once said, “Death to an individual is tragic. To millions, a statistic.”

A woman at Union Station was overheard saying, “I’m tired of winning.”
A passerby called 911. The police arrived and shot her for failure to comply.
At his news conference, precinct Captain Gomez explained that her refusal
to remove her high heels posed a threat to public safety.