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Mitch Sisskind
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Each morning, the squirrels, how unregulated They jump and play. I call the police department To keep them away and also with the birds It is exactly the same. What kinds of birds? I don't know their names but they poop Without the slightest consideration on my car So that if I had a bb gun, ah, then I would have Some real fun but meanwhile I call the 911 Number to complain about the birds and What is the response I get? Silence on the line. In other words, none. So I will be cremated Lest on my grave squirrels disport themselves, Birds poop, and even ants have a fine old time Oblivious of the fact that the grave is mine. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Best American Poetry
Yeats/Koch 1. Eagerly I await my Yeats book -- that is, The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats Which I've ordered on Amazon from A Goodwill store in San Francisco. 2. Koch said, 'I want you all to write An imitation of a poet you like but I forbid you to imitate W.B. Yeats And I'll flunk anyone who does.' 3. After Yeats' proposal of marriage Was turned down by Maud Gonne He proposed to her daughter Iseult And I believe he was quite serious. 4, On cold windy days Yeats liked To wrap himself in a rug and sit On the beach in a deck chair Until dinnertime rolled around. 5. Beckett compared impotence to Putting a pillow in a pillow case While Yeats said it was like trying To put oysters in a vending machine. 6. After Yeats was rejected by Iseult He married Georgie Hyde-Lees Who was half his age and whose Automatic writing fascinated him. 7. Koch admired Yeats' six-line poem 'A Deep-Sworn Vow' which made me Wonder at the time and even now I wonder but in a quite different way. 8. Today a book arrived from Amazon Which was not Yeats' Collected Poems But I still have the Bible and Koch said, 'It's not called the good book for nothing.' Ungeverschmutzig When we say something is ungeverschmutzig We mean that it's dirty -- not morally dirty Of which maybe you can imagine examples But physically foul like one time a big lizard Ran into my car when I left the door open And it went under the dashboard and died So you can imagine the rest or once in NYC There was something ungeverschmutzig And I cleaned it up because I knew that if I didn't do it nobody else would! Schmutzig Means normally or moderately dirty and Verschmutzig means it is getting dirtier And finally there is ungeverschmutzig Which is so nauseating it's unbelievable. Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
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Flat on my back on the rusted chassis Of an old car from which the driver's seat Has been removed my foot is still able To reach the gas pedal and I know my Task will be to back the wreck up the Narrow inclined board upon which it now Rests worrisome though that is as I lack Confidence in the engine and also in my Ability to steer the chassis up the inclined Board while on my back and facing in the Wrong direction. This takes place in the Cramped semi-darkness of some creepy Hotel's rat-infested basement or coal chute Whose walls are slick with a rancid humidity And then as I hesitatingly step on the gas An attractive thirty-something woman attired In a navy blue short-skirted business suit Materializes out of nowhere and with a Wry smile observes my contraption starting To move, its engine grinding and whining But actually doing better than I expected Inching its way up the inclined board As the corporate woman glides along Behind it until we reach the chute's crest Beyond which I somehow intuit there lies An entirely new and brightly lit reality. 'Hey, nice get,' says the woman smiling Broadly now as the last words of Cotton Mather suddenly come to me: 'Is this death? Why, I can do this! 'Death? Oh yes, yes, I can do this!' Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
1. Think about it for a minute and you'll see How nothing is further in the past than Anything else. Either it's in the past or It's not. Boom, bang. Case closed. You may think the pyramids are far In the past but there's no such thing As far in the past or close in the past, There's only the past plain and simple With no far or near so if somebody Dies they get grandma on one side And King Tut on the other side, All in the same boat so don't make it More complicated than it has to be Like a lot of people tend to do. 2. What about the future? The future is Like a swirling maelstrom or vortex Of water where many outcomes are Possible whereas the past is like When the water has turned into ice And you're stuck with it indefinitely. Unlike the past some things are Further in the future than others But I admit I don't know exactly How it works. Maybe the ice melts And the past turns into the future Again so you can get another Chance at it like in karma or in The movie "Groundhog Day." 3. I am not the smartest person In the world and anyway who is The smartest person in the world? I asked my mother that question In 1952 and she said Albert Einstein Which might have been correct in 1952 but everything is always in flux. That is what A.N. Whitehead meant By process and reality or how when W.B. Yeats wrote perne in a gyre Nobody knew what he meant and We still don't know so its meaning Is always in flux. Or what if we're all Inside some big computer game? Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
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Die Verwandlung So sick and tired of waking up Every morning as myself again! Oh let me awaken tomorrow as Kafka's beetle struggling to open His bedroom door which symbolizes His heart though he is physically And emotionally unable to open it But he keeps on trying as I too Would keep trying to empty the Dishwasher which symbolizes how I once checked my bank balance Online and when I saw that $11,000 Had disappeared from my account I kept checking it again and again. The Imperfect Enjoyment Here's how I learned there's nothing left: What once was a gift now seemed a theft By that guy who looked like he had it it all So I shoved him hard up against the wall And said, 'You've read no poems in your life 'So your girlfriend here will be my wife. 'Come on, honey,' I said, speaking to her Like the alpha rooster which they prefer And just like that we're on the 405 Heading north and I feel really alive For a minute or so until I recognize By the alexandrite change in her eyes That nothing is left, so now I know About when to enter and when to go. Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
Big Daddy didn't play any college ball The Marine Corps was pretty much all The experience he had on defensive line Till he joined the Rams and then signed With the Colts in '56 drove to Baltimore By himself except for picking up girls In towns where they want to get out Go to New York City or how about Memphis instead or anywhere is fine Nights by motel pools drinking wine Big Daddy wonders if should he quit Football before it starts with that shit Two-a-day practices out in the sun Which is work but girls are fun. I asked Jesus for a moment of his time We got together at the bottom of a mine There I asked Jesus for a couple of bucks He said ducks quack and chickens cluck But Big Daddy Lipscomb feared no man So be who you are to the best you can Like Big Daddy Lipscomb always real mean He called me Jesus and I called him Gene When we drove together on unlit streets To a boom-a-lay boom-a-lay old time beat On the radio Big Daddy Lipscomb and me Picking up chicks just being wild and free Big Daddy Lipscomb always real mean He called me Jesus and I called him Gene. There goes Big Daddy tooling 'round the bend He used to play for Baltimore I knew him when Him and Artie Donovan drank before the games Right there in the locker room with no shame About it either and Big Daddy also loved his car So they played in NYC and he drove it way too far Than was even necessary to take the scenic route Picking up girls in Delaware and other ones to boot In Philadelphia simply by mentioning how his name Was Daddy Lipscomb and nearly missed the game But distinguished himself in a goal line stand and As the final seconds ticked away he said hey man To Artie Donovan you want to shoot horse with me But Artie said go ahead I know what the end will be Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
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Number One, in a nutshell: life is pain And (Number Two) life's pain is caused By desire; so if Old Smengie desires A coffee date date with Paige Spiranac (Google her) because It might possibly Lead to "something," then Old Smengie Will feel pain and not just because he Desired the "wrong thing" but because He desired "anything" at all. Fortunately (Number Three) there's a way out of This predicament which is to follow (Number Four) the Eightfold Path Which says (once again, in a nutshell) Do the "right thing." Problem solved! Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
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Professor Koch said, 'We know the story 'Where the guy wakes up and he's turned 'Into a bug, right? Now write a story where 'The guy turns into a beautiful woman.' He was always talking about beautiful women. Very well. Anomaly Englehardt spoke up, A kid recognized as a universal genius who In class always kept one hand over his mouth. Anomaly Englehardt said, 'Concepts of ratio 'First appeared in ancient India as attempts 'To numerically express the ideal proportions of 'A beautiful woman's physiognomy, i.e. her face.' Then Mar Knee spoke. Mar Knee always kept One eye closed and most often the left eye. Mar Knee said, 'In The Book of the Courtier 'Castiglione imagines a conversation between 'A man and two beautiful women but one more 'Beautiful than the other and Castiglione relates 'How the man flatters the more beautiful woman 'Without at all offending the less beautiful one.' Then I spoke. 'Somewhere Byron remarks 'That a boy should see only beautiful women 'Until he's twelve years old,' I blurted out. In those days I ordinarily stood on one foot. 'But what about when the boy turns thirteen?' Inquired Anomaly Englehardt with his droll Intonation to which Mar Knee responded, 'Then we must simply do the best we can.' 'Haha, mes élèves,' Professor Koch laughed, 'Class dismissed. Go out into the world and 'Good luck to you.' He had a slight stammer Mostly on the letter G or on the letter M. Later on College Walk I ran into a grad student I knew slightly, an ardent Italian communist. A beautiful woman walked by and he sneered, 'Look at her. All she wants is a prick.' Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
1. I want you to imagine a yacht the length Of three football fields filled with the top Two hundred and fifty celebrities from The worlds of music, movies, sports, Silicon Valley and Wall Street sailing Around the world for three weeks With gourmet food twenty-four hours And nightly concerts in the auditorium Of the yacht that go on literally Until the next morning featuring Sam Blender, Cathy Lynn Doherty, Ed Froom, Jojo Greinke, and with Mary Drell and the whole thing Presided over by Henry Dreiben. 2. There were days when I woke up In the morning and said to myself What am I doing here? I confessed To Henry Dreiben that I felt sort of Unworthy all the time but Henry was Having none of it and he introduced Me to Bud Wagner a top entertainment Lawyer who remarked how if the boat Sank it would be like the extinction of The dinosaurs because imagine a boat With actually everybody who is anybody On it and then multiply it by a zillion, Pete Krups, Liz Walitari, Bub Zebel, Bess Turk, Pat Caine, Mel Brazelton. 3. But now let's look at it in reverse. Suppose instead of the boat sinking Everything except the boat sank So the boat would be like Noah's Ark And whereas if it sank that would be A tragedy but if everything else Sank we could start over from scratch Again with just the people on the boat Like the animals and Henry Dreiben Like Noah. Do you know how much Money he has? I once asked him What is the best thing about having So much money and he said it was Not having to stress about anything. 4. I feel like I can't put it into words. A huge yacht filled with celebrities, The brainchild of Henry Dreiben, A yacht full of famous musicians. Do you see what I'm trying to Convey here? It's so frustrating. Frank Catalano, Meg Deutsch, Also standup comics, animators, Lawyers all mingling around with Each other, Harley Blomquist, Maureen Garber, I feel like I can see it in my mind but If I write it I get so frustrated! Elise Krodniki. Everybody! Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
When she started up on him he said 'Yo no soy un stupido.' He also said 'I'm not going to play monkey for y'all.' It worked. She calmed right down. This is how Neurolinguistic Programming Teaches that there's only one right way To do something so if you want to open The window you don't unlock the door Or make the bed or any such nonsense; Same way when your old lady starts up On you, you say 'Yo no soy un stupido, 'I'm not going to play monkey for y'all.' Or if you want to shag a bird you say, 'Hey, you're looking good tonight.' Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
I was in North Liberty with Old Man Bud, Old to the point where he just sat there Looking out the window of his house. He asked me, 'What's the date today?' I said, 'March 19.' He said, 'What year?' I said, '1971.' 'Eighty years ago today,' He said, 'I shot my first duck.' We were Silent for some moments, each keeping His own counsel and it was so quiet That through the half-opened window You could scarcely hear the whoosh of An occasional car passing on the road Or discern the wheeze and whoosh Of Old Man Bud's uncertain breathing. What peculiar impetus or inspiration Led me then to speak to Old Man Bud Concerning Robert Frost's celebrated Poem entitled 'The Road Not Taken'? This was a sort of frisson whereby I found myself calling into question The whole collective enterprise of Metaphorically interpreting the poem To embrace instead a determinedly Bland reading in which a not-bright Rustic simply reports on a shortcut That saved him a few minutes getting From where he was to where he went. Then through the kitchen behind us And passing into the front room A bear-like man in his fifties appeared Who I knew as Old Man Bud's son, Willard was his name, a car mechanic Serving North Liberty and the rest of St. Joseph County. Albeit his father Was well within earshot Willard said, 'There is a groundhog case for you 'If ever there was one. I've seen 'Too many of them, I've moistened 'Their lips, I've put a cold cloth on 'Their brow and I've felt their hands' 'Go all clammy at the very end.' He continued, 'I'd rather keel over 'In the trees tomorrow, or in the 'Duck blind, or in the winter when 'Some of us like to go ice fishing. 'I have tried to be a good man.' Tears welled up in his eyes and I averted my gaze to spare him Any embarrassment. Thus it was Exactly fifty years ago today that I amended my understanding Not only of 'The Road Not Taken' But equally of 'Stopping by Woods On a Snowy Evening,' both poems From the pen of Robert Frost. Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
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Only Death Wows Me Hi, all. A couple of things. Only death wows me. Mansions, big private yachts, I can appreciate That stuff but it doesn't wow me. Not even birth, Because first nothing is there, then something Is there -- but once it's there it's like it's always Been there, which doesn't wow me. With death However something is there and then it isn't, But in a weird way it's still there and maybe Even more than before, like when you find The dead person's false teeth lying around. You know what else? Steve Jobs' last words Were wow oh wow because he was so wowed By the whole thing, which I can totally understand, Because, as I mentioned, only death wows me. Ed. note: "Only Death Wows Me" is a new poem and not included in the Collected Poems 2005-2020, about which you can read more here. Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
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The Great Tweed He was called the Great Tweed because A Tweed was a perfectly attired student And he was great at it so he was called The Great Tweed. Once in a while men From NYC advertising agencies would Visit the university looking for models And mostly they picked athletes but When they saw the Great Tweed they Put him in Esquire. Okay last night Upon suddenly awakening I flashed A so-vivid image of the Great Tweed Circa 1965 in the elevator of our Embarrassingly rundown Columbia Dormitory and I even remembered The Great Tweed's name although I had never spoken to him which Caused me to wonder if perhaps he He had died at that moment but When I Googled him I learned he's A retired brain surgeon in Florida. My takeaway? Though starlings fly By night in their sidereal thousands Their murmuration is a single voice. At the Valvoline Place At the Valvoline oil changing place I introduce myself as the oldest man In the world and I ask the young man What is the most miles he has seen On a car here at the Valvoline place. He says about four hundred thousand But I scoff at that and say how my car Already has two hundred twenty-five Thousand and it will easily make Four hundred thousand except I might Not be there to see it in as much as I'm already the oldest man in the World and he asks how old are you And I say I am two million and ten. Smolarek Smolarek. You know that name. When Smolarek said swimming Gets the crud out of your pores You listened and listened good. Same way as when Smolarek Went to jail and when he got out He said it was like Barnum & Bailey In there. Why was Smolarek in jail? He was talking to the female police Officer whereupon the male officer Horned in. What did Smolarek do? Same as you would have done! Exact same thing as Smolarek did Is what you would have done too! Hurricane Now is this what you expected? Mist or a fog-like moisture lasting An hour or so and then creepily Gaining intensity without you even Registering it until a steady rain Falls in the suspiciously still air. I say 'suspiciously' because the Stillness is in fact an unstable Equilibrium that slowly and then Suddenly explodes into a monster Simulacrum of itself as though In some demonic funhouse mirror. I say 'demonic' because of your Tendency to anthropomorphize A meteorological phenomenon Into some divine judgment now Sternly rendered on all your Boneheaded financial blunders And your dread of making a Fool of yourself in the bedroom, The boardroom, the bathroom, The barnyard, the beauty shop, The battlefield, or behind the The wheel of your automobile And when the hurricane blows All of that away you will go Oh wow. You will go oh wow Again and again. You will just Keep going oh wow, oh wow,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
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"Oy" is one of the greatest words in any language and I've noticed that people of all backgrounds quickly pick it up and start using it. Let's take a look at some situations in which saying "Oy" is very appropriate (click on thumbnail for full-sized image): Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
Schmegeges Schmegeges everywhere. Look over yonder Where schmegeges march down the street, See how the schmegeges cavort themselves Day and night, how new schmegege variations Appear, marching, marching, tailgating me, Telephoning me, telling me what they think, Singing schmegege roundelays, drinking, Dancing, eating what the schmegeges eat, Dressing like schmegeges, raising children As schmegeges, questioning how schmegege Has traditionally been understood, redefining Schmegege, and always marching, marching, Marching, I did not think there were so many Schmegeges and now I too begin to march. Mister Yes and No I called him Mister Yes and No because When you asked him a question he always Said yes and no. For example, if you asked Him if today is Friday he said yes and no or Even if you asked him if one plus one is two He said yes and no to my great puzzlement. Much later it dawned on me that maybe He was making a distinction between a Literal interpretation of the matter at hand And a metaphorical perspective like when John Ashbery wrote it had been raining But it had not been raining, in 1956. Or maybe John Ashbery was making A distinction between objective and Subjective realities like it was raining Outside when he wrote his poem but But it was a clear day in the subjective Landscape of his poem, entitled "A Boy." When I ran this by Mister Yes and No He said, 'Well, maybe" which had me Flummoxed coming from the man who Only said yes and no and seeing my look Of incredulity he added, 'Or maybe not.' Haha in life there is always more to learn! Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
The Girls Began Speaking Pig Latin When the girls began speaking Pig Latin On the school bus I saw the pleasure Women discover in a secret language And more importantly I understood how Learning Pig Latin could be a shibboleth Opening the door to love! Yes, love, Whereas sex such as it was existed Only as the Playboy pictures furtively Hidden under a mattress until one day Torn up and flushed down the toilet for The awful shame of it. Ethay answeryay Asway igpay atinlay andyay ohyay odgay Iyay iedtray. Oh God, I've tried but I failed, Andyay isyay ityay ownay ootay atelay? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eWlAkAJUOc&fbclid=IwAR2ObTAEZ-03EkhT8d9xX9Ak76EPR3sVNFcvXorJlHmrGLrHxEZ45rWvvMs F. Compton R. Buzzard Apropos my field of ancient Egypt I refer to her as Queen Nefertari or Mut The Sky Goddess in my texts When the colloquium brings me Down to New Haven each week And she replies with her cutesy Bear Moniker as in Missing You Now Bear, Loving You Bear, Lonely Tonight Bear, Or Horny & Bare Bear which gives me A laugh but oh my goodness we have Such a paucity of common ground: That is to say, I more or less inhabit The 19th Dynasty while she is purely This lively and delightful quotidian girl. Sigh! Recently she has downloaded Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners From Amazon -- but for goodness' sake That will never get her through a papyrus. Helen of Starbucks Hi everybody! Let's look at that scene in The Iliad where some old Trojan warriors Passing time on the city wall gaze upon Helen, the world's most beautiful woman. She won't even give them the time of day And the old war horses wax philosophical Because what the hell else can they do? Goddamn it, if you get past the age of 75 Or 80 it's like you don't even exist anymore In the eyes of the young gal serving coffee At Starbucks so when you tell her you knew Milton Berle it's like speaking Chinese! God forbid you mention the names of Ben Blue or Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom! Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
Of Wittgenstein here’s all I know and All you need to know, my dear friend: ‘I don’t care what I eat as long as it’s ‘The same thing every day.’ Genau! Thus spake the great philosopher! So don’t expect Cornish game hen Chez moi. I was raised on Swanson’s Chicken pot pies and the only change Now is we’ll have the Stauffers brand Plus an enormous orange Jell-o mold Which in the days my youth signified Gemütlichkeit, as the great philosopher Might say. Dessert will be fig newtons And I’ll ask you to please bring the wine. Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
The Old Pogue The Old Pogue said, ‘Class with just a touch of ‘Wicked sleaze, or more than a touch, right, boys? ‘Admit it. Class plus wicked sleaze is what we want ‘In women. Oh, I wish I was born in ancient Egypt ‘When the gals painted their cheeks a shade of ‘Yellowish red and wore a green eye shadow ‘Made from malachite, a copper derivative, and ‘Kohl, a charcoal-like eyeliner favored by women 'Of the aristocracy. During the 18th Dynasty ‘Queen Hatshepsut herself ground frankincense ‘Into her eyeliner and in the Minoan civilization ‘Around 2000 BC in the Aegean Islands servant girls ‘Wore short jumpers hanging loose from the shoulders ‘To the knees with no belt that yelled out to fuck me.’ I Got Nowhere In the whole world only one restaurant Was patronized by both Leon Trotsky And Bela Bartok. That would be the Old 57th Street Automat in Manhattan. Go into any restaurant today and ask Whether Leon Trotsky ever ate there. You'll get nowhere. Same with Bartok. You'll get nowhere. They'll shoot you A look of stupifaction. Apropos of which, Years ago I took the subway down to a Greek-run coffee shop on 86th Street Where I'd heard Isaac Singer used to Order a boiled potato. I got nowhere. I asked if Bartok ate there. Who? What? Charlie Livingston: A Novel He went into the jewelry business. He left the jewelry business and Went into the rug business. He left The rug business and went into The landscaping business. He left The landscaping business and went Into the ladies' ready-to-wear Business. He left the ladies' ready-to- Wear business and went into the Plumbing business. He left the plumbing Business and went into the pet grooming Business. He left the pet grooming business And went into the car detailing business. He left the car detailing business and went Into the shoe business. He left the shoe Business and went into the children's Furniture business. He left the children's Furniture business and went into the hair Replacement business. He left the hair Replacement business and went into the Leather goods business. He left the leather Goods business and went into the heating And air conditioning business. He left the Heating and air conditioning business and Went into the printing business. He left the Printing business and went into the exterminating Business. He left the exterminating business And went into the meat packing business. He left the meat packing business and went Into the organic vegetable business. He left The organic vegetable business and went Into the funeral home business. He left the Funeral home business and went into The bicycle shop business. He left the The bicycle shop business and went into The reinsurance business. He left the Reinsurance business and went into the Cow-and-calf business. He left the cow-and- Calf business and went into the yarn business. He left the yarn business and went into the Deep sea fishing business. He left the deep Sea fishing business... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2021 at The Best American Poetry
Danny was a unique character having been The youngest prisoner in San Quentin for A period of time during his overall 25 years Of incarceration in Q and in other California Institutions of higher learning plus time In the old federal lockup in Marion Illinois. When I asked Danny how he felt when they Welded him into his cell he laughed and said That although he couldn't get out they couldn't Get in either so you could say it was neither Fish nor fowl. That's the way he always was, Cool as a cucumber with a smile on his face. One day however Danny seemed a bit out of Sorts so I asked what the matter might be. He said, 'I was in my car on La Brea Avenue 'When a good looking girl pulled up beside me 'And said I should pull over to the curb because 'She wanted to talk to me so I did as she said.' He continued, 'When I pulled over to the curb 'She said her car was falling apart and she 'Asked me to rent a car for her since she didn't 'Have any credit cards or even a driver's license. 'I rented a car for her but then she didn't bring 'The car back, she just kept driving around in it.' He went on, 'When I was notified of the problem 'By the rent-a-car company I went looking for her 'And when I found her I said hey you didn't bring 'The car back and now they are charging me 'Fifty dollars a day or whatever it is plus the car 'Is on my insurance so what if you cracked it up?' As he went on I noticed a small scar on his nose And tempting though it was to ask after its origin I thought better of it. Now here is the funny part. The next day I was accidentally whacked on the Nose by a fellow opening the door to Starbucks And the upshot was I got a scar just like Danny's. What are the odds of getting whacked on the nose So soon after seeing a scar on the nose of another? Einstein wrote, 'Die Quantenmechanik ist achtung- Gebietend aber eine innere Stimme sagt mir dass Der Alte nicht würfelt.' Very well! But instead of The Old One I speak of the Great Hippopotamus. Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2020 at The Best American Poetry
The Wandering Jew 1. In the Gremlin he drove Chicago to NYC And back again I-90 segueing into I-80 Outside Cleveland but neither Chicago Nor NYC could be called his destination Considering how upon arrival in one city He turned back towards the other without So much as getting out of the Gremlin. For money he had a small inheritance Plus some government disability payments That he accessed at the ATM machines In gas stations or in the motels where He stayed every third or fourth night But definitely at least one night per week And he paid little attention to his meals. 2. After months or years of Chicago/NYC He began crisscrossing the country with No particular rhyme or reason while in His brain mentations came and went like The fireflies that flitted in the gloaming After long-ago picnics at Potawatomi Park. However as winter came upon the Interstates A more apt metaphor of his thoughts was Snowflakes blown by winds like the one that In a blizzard near King of Prussia Pennsylvania Sent the Gremlin spinning on an overpass and Plunging through the side rail as an apparition Of the man he could have been appeared. 3. This was the the man he could have been Had he not had spent his life in the Gremlin, The law school or medical school graduate, Husband and father, grandparent, homework Helper, dumb joke teller, dryer of tears, loving And loved in return, and he wept at seeing The man he could have been except in the Last second or even in the final nanosecond Of his wasted existence an amazing joy filled His heart as the man he could have been Disappeared and in that man's place he saw A shining and spectacular vision of the man He was irrevocably destined to be when the day Of גְּאֻלָּה and מָשִׁיחַ at long last arrives! Amen. New Tires Eventually I saw how beautiful women are Stimulated by new tires on a man's car and Ever since that realization dawned on me I buy new tires whenever the possibility of Liaison with a beautiful woman presents itself. Isn't that awfully expensive? Yes and no. Generally I pay around five hundred dollars For four tires which is nothing to sneeze at But look at it this way: beautiful women are Nature's true masterpieces so if they want New tires, well then, new tires they shall have. As to why they want new tires, I have no idea But many things in science remain unknown. How aspirin works was a mystery until 1994. Meat Loaf He had been watching Meat Loaf videos Or rather he watched the same video Again and again, the performance of Paradise by the Dashboard Light from 1979 or 1980 which was Meat Loaf's Masterpiece and had received over Forty-five million YouTube views and Eleven thousand admiring comments Since it first appeared on YouTube Four years earlier. The very existence Of the millions of Meat Loaf admirers Reassured him like... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2020 at The Best American Poetry
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He had been watching Meat Loaf videos Or rather he watched the same video Again and again, the performance of Paradise by the Dashboard Light from 1979 or 1980 which was Meat Loaf's Masterpiece and had received over Forty-five million YouTube views and Eleven thousand admiring comments Since it first appeared on YouTube Four years earlier. The very existence Of the millions of Meat Loaf admirers Reassured him like a quote from Seneca: 'Whatever time has passed is owned 'By death. Most of death is already gone.' Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2020 at The Best American Poetry
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They called him Tight Pants Blair and he Favored an eccentric notion of time derived From A.N. Whitehead's Process and Reality. In a nutshell, Tight Pants Blair proposed that The past does exist but with a certain flatness So that nothing in the past is farther back or Deeper in the past than anything else. Thus, Our "distance" from the Egyptian pharaohs Is the same as our "distance" from yesterday's Hamburger or anything else in the past that You care to name. For example, when did you Lose your virginity? Tight Pants Blair would Argue that the meaningful question would be Not when, but simply did you lose it or not? Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2020 at The Best American Poetry
You there having coitus, I gesture to you, I salute you and I genuflect as befits you And myself also, wandering Santa Monica Tonight as you have coitus. Are you the School teacher bored beyond belief in The faculty meeting finally having coitus Or the fool having coitus or the wise man Having coitus? The gray-haired woman Who had coitus, the retired bus driver -- 'Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne?' as the Pole wrote -- must you now only recall Having coitus or can you go on having it As in Joshua 10:13 when the sun didn't set Or when the sea opened in Exodus 15:19? Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2020 at The Best American Poetry
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Oh, on summer mornings darting through The county club's immense parking lot of Antique cars restored with great affection Or perfectly preserved: reds, greens, yellows, As if snatched from the nearby flower beds, And here the thwack of a struck tennis ball Was heard, there a golf ball took to the air. War das nicht eine schöne, schöne Zeit? Oh, winter afternoons at the bowling alley Down a flight of stairs from Diversey Avenue Where outrageous transactions commonly Took place; oh, and the movie theaters all In walking distance of one another, the Covent, The Century, the Lake Shore, and the Parkway, Best loved of all, renowned for its decrepitude. War das nicht auch eine schöne Zeit? But oh, what has a beginning has an ending, Said Senator Edward M. Kennedy at the time Of his very grave brain tumor diagnosis. Alas, But let's not make a federal case out of it. As La Rochefoucauld observed, thinking of Death, like staring at the sun, can't be done For long, or shouldn't be. So grieve not. Oy. Und hast du dich nicht so gut amüsiert? Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2020 at The Best American Poetry
'Send your sick animals to me' Kim and I (but she was Marilyn Novak then) We smelt fished at Belmont Harbor one April As the restriction allowed but seeing as how Smelt only ran in April anyway the restriction To April was really much ado about nothing. Smelt fishing happened only at night. Did you know that? Probably not, with Smelt fishing now a thing of the past. April nights were chilly, the cold not Ameliorated by our tiny Coleman stove. By an unwritten rule the smelt had to Be cooked immediately when snared In the little nets, nor was it at all difficult To fill a gallon-sized bucket with smelt. However, Marilyn threw all of them back. This was a person who in her bedroom Window displayed a hand-lettered sign: 'Send your sick animals to me.' It seemed She was no less concerned about saving Smelt while I monkeyed with the stove. 'Where the hell are the smelt?' I asked, But oh ho ho, she only shrugged and smiled And Marilyn's smile could break your heart. That night we fished no more. Back in my car, A 1949 Chevrolet, I asked her to marry me. 'Buddha," she said -- I was called Buddha In those days -- 'I love you but the thing is 'I'm leaving tomorrow on a cross-country tour 'To model refrigerators at trade shows for 'A big refrigerator company. I'm sorry, Buddha.' That was in 1953. In Los Angeles Marilyn Won the title of Miss Deep Freeze and soon Her name was Kim. I never saw her again. As for the smelt, they wised up so no longer Running in April they started running in May. Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2020 at The Best American Poetry