MS Found in a Typewriter

After dreaming on and off all last night of falling rain, I woke to find this poem on a sheet of foolscap someone had left in the old typewriter I still keep on the shelf. I surmise it is a response to my poem, A Malison.
homage to archy
tell me mr why so glum question mark
yr time will go and ours will come.
why so bitter question mark why so vexed question mark
you ve had yr turn and we are next.
for that s how evolution works
progress comes in fits and jerks.
the future s not as bad as it appears
a lot can happen in a billion years.
roaches will learn to dig and build
and after the sun explodes we ll be here still.
survival of the fittest is another term for fate.
we roaches understand. we wait.

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A Malison

9248091760_5dce1d3d0a_bCockroach, eater of refuse, crawler
in corners, inhabitant of dark spaces,
unwanted denizen of all our
proud modern cities, scourge of all races;
disgusting, vile, unkillable
by any but the heaviest tread
or most corrosive chemical;
prolific, fecund, Darwinianly bred
to survive any adversity:

though your species will continue
long after the end of humanity
it consoles me somewhat that in two,
or four, — at most five billion years —
the Sun will explode in your sky
and your Earth will boil and sear
and every last one of you will also die.

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Sonnet: On the Brand-X Anthology of Poetry

(a book review in verse)
Much had I travell’d in the realms of gold
And never found a blessed thing to eat;
For laurels, though they may smell very sweet,
As nourishment – try one? – they leave you cold.

By not one teacher was I ever told
There was a land both lowly and obscene
That Bill Zaranka ruled as his demesne!
His book was sent me by a flame of old

Bought from wherever such odd things were selling;
And now, some decades late, to write I’ve hasted:
For though I know that flowers are for smelling
I were a liar if I kept from telling
How many precious hours and days I’ve wasted
Since first I of Zaranka’s garland tasted.


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Lines for Mr. T.S. Eliot

File:T.S. Eliot, 1923.JPG

“Here he drank pastis with the mayors of the Basses-Alpes, and even found time to lecture on Edgar Allan Poe, although his new false teeth made it difficult for him to speak French.”

How pleasant to know Mr. Eliot!
With his Nobel Prize and ironical eyes
How pleasant to know Mr. Eliot!

He exhibits a mystical, mischievous dread
And he smokes French tobacco and lies in his bed
As he waits for the world to fall in on his head
(Taking comfort in knowing his poetry’s read);
And everyone says what has always been said
That it’s lovely to know Mr. Eliot!

If he drinks rather much and his teeth are quite new
If he finds it, you know, rather painful to chew
If he speaks somewhat slower than he used to do
It is only because he’s deliberate!
And if he seems chilly, it’s maybe because he’s been celibate —
But they say for all that, it’s still terribly, terribly,
awfully, horribly, pleasant to know Mr. Eliot!


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The Woodman’s Reply

 (or, Some things you may not have considered)

little house big woods
Woodman, spare that tree!
Touch not a single bough!
In youth it sheltered me,
And I’ll protect it now…
George Pope Morris (1837)

All right, fine, I’ll harm it not!
Although it’s clearly got the rot.
You needn’t threaten me–I’ll go!
But first, there’s something you should know:

When comes a storm, this tree will fall
Upon your house, and crush you all:
Your mother, father, sisters too,
Will all be dead because of you.
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When a Baby Meets a Baby

Duo penotti fighting over a ballWhen a baby meets a baby
Coming through the rye
Says the baby to the baby
I must poke you in the eye.

When a baby meets a  baby
Walking through the wheat
Says the baby to the baby
I must tread upon your feet

When a baby meets a baby
And the baby says Hello
They may play until the baby says
It’s time for you to go.

When a baby meets a baby
Coming through the corn
Says the baby to the baby
You will wish you weren’t born

When a baby meets a baby
And the babies start to play
They will play until the baby says
It’s time to go away.

So when a baby meets a baby
Coming through the rye
Says the baby to the baby
Better pass the baby by.


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Things Have Been Thought About Enough, Already

Che Wright

In one of his first public statements after learning of his new post, Charles Wright said that, as laureate, “I’ll probably stay here at home and think about things… I will not be an activist laureate, I don’t think…I have no program.” 

I’ve seen you out there by the barn,
surreptitiously tucking away your meditative, image-driven lyrics
Between hard covers,
Thinking that absolves you, that it’s enough.

Well, no, goddammit.
I mean, really, I don’t have to explain it to you, do I?
God damn it, get out there and sell us some poetry!
Are you with us, or against us?

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A Dedication, Whatever; Followed by Breakfast

“I’m very honored and flattered to be picked, but also somewhat confused,” Mr. Wright said in a softly accented voice, after apologizing for the sound of buzz saws cutting trees in the yard that he has described in poem after poem.

“I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” he continued. “But as soon as I find out, I’ll do it.”

Wright-at-RaesSince that first phone call
I’ve been somewhat confused, sure. But finally
things are back to normal, I think.

Anyway, I awoke this morning
then didn’t bother to get up.
The sun was shining anyway,
like always. So, I thought… after a while…
why bother
getting up?
I just lay there for a while,

thinking about nothing in particular,
and not wondering why things weren’t really going anywhere.
I don’t care about progress, anyway,
it doesn’t interest me. Never has,
even though I’ve somehow lived to see my seventies anyway. You see?
You don’t really have to try.

And really, why get up, after all is said and done?
Well, said, anyway.

Although, one gets hungry

And the people at school aren’t really waiting for me to show up.
They already know where I am,
or suspect that I am
probably just lying in bed, or dead.


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The Dwarf Bids Farewell to His Wife, the Elephant Lady, Citing Their Sexual Incompatibility

Dolly Dimple + DwarfOne ought not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediment.  But then again,
Let us be reasonable, dear.  I find,
Though minds be true, still bodies may present

Some difficulties – and, in point of fact,
Impediments there are, though you admit
Them not. Let’s not mince words: putting all tact
Aside, we both are freaks: I am a midget;

You, my love, are grossly fat.  That’s just
The way of it, there is no blame.  However,
After all our trials, I think you must
Admit some things just can’t be done, whatever

Minds may think of it.  With this in view,
My body’s left you, though my mind’s still true.