Raft

1920px-Winslow_Homer_-_Boy_on_a_Raft_(1879)

I thought to build a tidy craft
But botched the job, and built a raft—
A raffish craft, whose aft and fore
Are more or less (or less or more)

Identical—also, the same—
So where I go, and whence I came,
I cannot tell from where I sit.
And that’s a pity—isn’t it?

 

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I took the post-ultimate step

Detail Stairs to Nowhere

I took the post-ultimate step
The one at the top of the stair
That you take when you know there’s a step yet to go
When really, no step’s there.

Somewhere between plan and forget
I planted a foot in mid-air
Then I stepped up and stood. Now I’m stuck here for good,
On the step past the top of the stair.

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the girl in the swing having accomplished

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the girl in the swing having accomplished
prodigies of momentum
no longer needs her father
her friends too are out of alignment

she rushes and rushes
into a future
away from the present
into a future again

and ever
at the farthest edge of now
her forward rush commences again

just once when she was leaning back
so far back
she saw the departing world
quite clearly

the earth balanced perfectly atop
the tree that clung to the bird
that stood on its head
on the sky

 

then suddenly she knew the roots of the sky
were infinite
and that the rush of time itself
could not unseat it

 

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The Earl of Rollercoaster

Harry_G._Traver_Cyclone_roller_coaster_patent.png

The Earl of Rollercoaster found
It inconvenient to expound
On why it was he loved to race
Continually from place to place
Whilst whirling rapidly around —
Now here, now there, now soaring high,
Now falling freely toward the ground,
And screaming all the while.

That’s why he built that crazy train
That bears his name:
It’s easier to experience
than to explain.

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I misdropped the dictionary

Broken type by Javier Garcia - 254383498_b43198c5cc_o

I misdropped the dictionary
From the high topwobblest shelf
Now all the words are scatterfied
I’m absofoof beside myself

I simply known’t what to do
About this diffish puzzlication
It’s almost too incomprehandle
Such a mixcombobulation!

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The Museum Elephants

Elephant in Rotunda of Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Within the murmurous expanse
Beneath the bas-relief-ringed dome
The taxidermied elephants
Reign over their eternal home:

With tiles for the grass-giving earth;
For sun-burnt destinations, walls.
Eight times a week, the monkey mirth
Of school groups echoes through the halls

While in and out the galleries
Architectonically discrete
The docents’ high-toned rhapsodies
Contend with sounds of scuffling feet.

And once a month someone comes in
Brushes the dust from wrinkled skin
Sweeps cobwebs from the painted skies
And polishes the glittering eyes.

 

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“You can’t teach a rhinoceros tricks”

durer_-_rhinoceros

“You can’t teach a rhinoceros tricks,” he had explained in his brief and vigorous style.
Brave New World

You can’t teach a rhinoceros tricks
You can’t teach her to play dead or dance
Though you whip or reward her, malign or implore her,
She won’t fetch, beg, speak or shake hands.

You can’t teach a rhinoceros tricks
Not because she’s not worthy or fun
The rhinoceros goes where she wants to go
And will do what she always has done.

Try to teach a rhinoceros tricks
The results uniformly are gruesome
And the worst thing of all is, it’s quite possible
It may end up with her teaching you some.

 

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U, u: Unassuming Unicorns

Unicorns all kinds.jpg

The unassuming unicorns united underground
Upthrusting their umbrellas with an ululating sound;
Their umbrage unassuaged, they undertook an upward run
Emerging all unbidden underneath an umber sun.

 

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No magic, child

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There is no magic, child.
No mysterious stranger
awaiting the proper stormswept night
on which to introduce you to your destiny.
Your mother and father
are really your mother and father.
There are words for everything.
Behind every bookcase is only a wall,
and the walls are solid walls
and behind them only two by fours
plaster and pink insulation and thick wires
through which ordinary currents pulse invisibly.

There is no magic, child,
because it is entirely usual
to have been born to people
about whom you know nothing
and who have secrets they themselves will never fathom.

There is no magic, child,
because it is entirely mundane
to live side by side
with the passionate electricity
that lurks behind your bedroom walls.

There is no magic, child,
since the world is just the world
and there are words for everything
even if the ones you will someday require
may be in a language no one living speaks.

There is no magic, child,
because it is entirely ordinary
for entire peoples to spring up
and sing for a hundred years
only to vanish with their only traces
to be found in a bookcase
with a solid wall behind it
while within the wall seethes
the invisible electricity
that powers the screens and machines
that belong to the parents
who are really your parents.

There is no magic, child.
The stranger who will appear
some unexceptional day
and make truths of wishes
you never even knew you were capable of

is no more mysterious than you.

 

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All Quiet for the Queen (a prequel)

(Being an account of the Peculiar Events leading up to the Monstrous and Notorious Tragedy of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds who were martyred by being baked into a pie; and of the Warning previously issued to all Fowl within the Royal Earshot, which these aforementioned Blackbirds roundly ignored, to their own Detriment and Ultimate Demise; written by one, Witness to the Aforesaid Events.)

800px-four_and_twenty_blackbirds

Go quietly, quietly! Quell every sound,
You geese in the air and you quails on the ground!

You ducks with your querulous ducklings in tow,
You may go as you like; only quietly go.

No quacking; no quarreling; quash every cry;
Not a chirp from you blackbirds who quarter the sky!
The queen is asleep:
If you cease not to peep
She’ll awake and demand you be baked in a pie!

 

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