Saturday, February 7, 2015

Archilochus Makes a Striking Confession, or The First Lyric Poet Loves to Slay Love


I won't be doing Sally Mary or Sue
(That's not the me I'd call the true)

With bunghole so close to twat
Only a fool would lick that spot

Rather pals with poo-tipped rods
Than a hairy hole clotted with clods

Give me a youthful warrior’s bum
To plunge my woody until I cum

Not a fur-scented lady's bullseye
Cooking lives just to see them all die


The shield’s feathers form a wing.
Whenever a boat approaches the beach
I seem to gravitate there. I pray to be made
A bush, a rock, a wisp of smoke

On a hill. Ares is that kind of lover
Whose weapons appear to be one's own hands--
You smack and clang and crash and thrust,
You defecate, cough; ooze the beast

Of life, the caged animal altogether
An animal kept inside its cage
In the mind inside another cage
Where the gods gather for friendly games

Of poker.  I love the sunbaked islands. 
Love’s my best trait. True, it can be
Wounded, and doesn’t belong
On the battlefield, though feels at home

In the trenches. Let Ares’ wife growl
And bark, patrol the fence like a brave man  
Before sending boys on ships in all directions.
I love the islands, and love is something

To kill for. Love’s my best trait.
Let’s try to keep it that way: your shield
And mine, two wings on an angel for whom
The gods, too dreamy for war, allow

Peace to make space for a sweeter song.
That’s all we ask, to belong to a song.
And if not, to become a bush, rock, tree
On sunbaked islands facing the open sea.


My shield is the real deal. I call it love.
The others? Who knows how they roll.
My father had a shield, also real-deal
Quality, but he lost it in Vegas
When his ship plowed a pedestrian
Riding a zebra in the middle of town.
The wine-reeking troubles he brought to us!
The world's debts he left on the tables.
The hungry mouths they couldn’t imagine
When they went off to show others
Their shields and wares, when they set
Sail for eyes that had yet to see such glory,
Such glorious beauties as these men be—
O legacies they proudly re-bequeath
Like litter on a beach that needs to be
Tidied up before the party can begin.
My shield is love. I wonder, does it
Float, will it rust if I bury it? Will it sink
To the bottom or sparkle like a mirror
Broken in the desert? Who knows?
The ones who might have told are gone
And there’s nothing left of them
But the eloquence of their rationales,
Its paraphernalia washing ashore
Like random thoughts pile up in the mind
With no better than to welcome them.


What day is it today
Whose birthday
What matter became love
What scatter hate
What patter negate
All that came before
That took hold of all that was
At the waist and dropped
To sniff the motion
To whiff the vibrations
To sail the scent
Bent sea end to end
To plunge and ride
To roll and abide
The monstrous breath
Life uses from here
To there to bear here
To there to fare
A fallen angel’s wares
Fashioning gears
To profit from tears
That be or not be
By the plus they see
What day is the best day
To have a birthday
A day when a new self
Taken from a shelf
Undoes the old
And then itself
And then the old mold
Once gold has to go
So says the new
Become now
The only then worth being
Since then became now
Anyhow wow see
How easy it is
To sail off
Scoffing at naught
In the night and day
Of now
That’s how
Big bangs bag themselves
For future dusted
Lives crusted
Busted by a lack of love
Like winter gloves
Left to freeze
Without fingers
Without a singer
Calling in the night
Bright with white
Moon in tune
With song
With high-pitched
Pleased to belong
Gone on a trip
A flip-flopped slip
Of the tongue
As it explores
The mouth
South behind doors
Whose locks
Mock the clock
In the race
Unwinnable so
Sinnable a trace
Of the hare
That took a nap
While the clock counted
The mounted world
By the second
Round and round
Over the same
Ground the same
Pound of flesh
Fresh from the sea
We how sweet
It be to free
The me
Inside the Oh gee
Sorry so sorry
Mr.  Man
With a plan
A canned plan
A can of faith
Faith in having
Faith in faith
To quake
A new surface
A new topside
Tide to ride
What a treat
A treaty
Of a treat
To beat the age
Of the sage
And let the flags
Fall like rags
On their poles
A new scroll
If we’re to go
Going on


The elephant raised by tigers
Regrets not having stripes
Jumping straight up in fear
When he looks in the lake
So high that his brothers and sisters
Run and hide in the bamboo
Where the wind plays percussion
In a band known by very few

The elephant raised by tigers
Has some serious issues
With his self-image
He can’t imagine killing anything
Without first being threatened
And he has no taste for blood
Just salad and nothing but
No matter they laugh and growl

The elephant raised by tigers
Hates the color gray
Hates the size of his nose
His ears and treetrunk legs
You’d think he did nothing
But drink water all day
But you’d be wrong to think
He’d ever get used to that

The elephant raised by tigers
Finds himself hiding a lot
As much as possible
Not from fear but it feels right
Out in the open he’s too big
Out in the open too much
Of an elephant too himself
Not to be in danger

The elephant raised by tigers
Knows all the tiger stories
The tiger songs by heart
That help a cub grow up
To be fierce and lethal
And fearless no matter what
When sent into a world
Of stripes and reeds

The elephant raised by a tiger
Loves his mother with all his heart
Big enough to kill
The brood’s hunger yet he
Understands not a word she says
As she sharpens her claws
On his tusks polished 
Like the well-fingered keys of a piano


(to his soul)

Don’t let them break you!
Don’t give an inch, even if they
Outmatch you. Face them shield
To shield—in defeat you’ll rise

Illustrious, taller than you ever were.
Stand your ground and you’ll never fall.
And even if you do, so what? Get over it!
It’s not the all of the all! Enjoy good times,

And live with your sorrows—
Look past hope and fear and learn to see the dance
That leaves its trace across the years.
Then: be happy like a tree.


All according to the will of the gods
Who pick people up when they fall
And set them on their feet

Then strike down others with a streak
Of bad luck they end up wandering
Off thinking the craziest things

All according to the will of the fathers
Who sit in air-conditioned offices
Riverside and decide when where how

What but not why not why that’s mine
To provide a good enough why
All according to the will of the fathers

According to the gods I’m no thing
A thing like dust in a pile waiting
To cross the living room in long

Slow-motions to fetch the broom
And dustpan and whisk up the sand
Of a birthday in ‘65 on the Cape

All according to the will of the gods
I am matter and matter loves 
And lives on a planet the size of a marble

In the pocket of the gods of gods
Before whom the story matters how
Loving and living accords with the gods

According to the stories a wheel
Spins and the blood rushes out
Attempts to get away feels it going

As if someone were closing the eyes
Of another’s panic and comforted
By all the others residing there
According to the will of the gods


The universe is mind seeking form.
Birds talk with birds about foxes.

Birch branches bend out of shape
To avoid the maple’s hand-size leaves.

The bumblebee taps on the window
As if to check that it’s true, as if 

It can’t trust its own eyes. Someone
Penned a list of pressing responsibilities

Though I’m not sure it’s for me or them.
Someone wants his life to be mine.

Do nothing, and it’s amazing how much
Gets done around you. I’d refuse to

Walk two feet for a fight. Come, if it’s
Important to slay the dragon, even if

It’s got no fire and teeth in its head.
Come visit, and we’ll slay it together.

The mind of the universe is as itself
When it rains, and the planets change

Position in the sky. Everything thinks
It's way around here. It's natural.

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