Even so, we have forgotten their graves.
I swear to you I will not beat one drum in your absence.

And the beasts of night will not forget their crimes,
nor the others their roly-polyness.

It was in a garage where tire irons jangled in the breeze
to the accompaniment of fly swatters functioning
that we first heard of that Phoenician sailor
and how when the tide was out he would pretend to be
the Flying Dutchman on one of his infrequent shore leaves
to garner a spouse. But he was all red with jewels—
not rubies, cheap gems. And his incisors struck fear
in the hearts of the entourage. Nevertheless, many
were the maidens who considered him an option,
though they always ended by rejecting it. Some said it was his breath,
others, the driven cornsilk of his hair. Perhaps
it was the lack of something called “personable,”
though I don’t even want to know what that is. I’ll follow
my heart over warm oceans of Chinese lounge music
until the day the badger coughs up that secret,
though first we must discover the emetic,
the one I told you about.

Confused minions swarmed on the quarter-deck.
No one was giving orders any more. In fact it was quite a while
since any had been issued. Who’s in charge here?
Can’t anyone stop the player piano before it rolls us
in the trough of a tidal wave? How did we get to be so many?
I wonder what’s playing at the local movie theater.
Some Hitchcock or other, for there are many fanciers
in these unsightly parts. And who would want mothers
for supper?

This Issue

October 5, 1995