I played a little fluteI played a little flute, they didn't seemTo hear. I played a little louder butThe fanfare still was over there. Their themeRemained themselves, their wealth, their fear, their gut.I tried a bugle, something coarser, pitchedTo capture here and now, attention! Stop!But you would think they all had earplugs, switchedTo cancel, making bugle waves a flop.I mastered tuba just in time to sendMy message way down low, a rumble meantTo imitate a quake, and maybe lendSome gravitas to saying, earth is spent.But no one listened. Now I play my fluteTo cheer myself, and wonder, who's the brute?
Working overtime dark bluesI've got the working overtime dark blues,The kind that knowledge workers get a lot.There are no planes, no trains, no wings, no shoes,No clever formulation, scheme or plotAnd certainly no gadget or deviceTo take away the busy, monkey brainThat haunts me day and night. I beg for iceTo cool the neuro-heat, a spout to drainThe gushing mental plasma that obtainsFrom too much problem-solving, too much timeSpent staring at computer screens. It painsMe to recall the steep and pointless climb.I've got the working overtime dark blues.If only I had guts to just refuse.
With high school forty years agoWith high school forty years ago, I wishThat I could say, it seems like yesterday.But no, it feels like eons, time amissIn some distorted universe. A stray,Unfocused thought was amplified. It ledDown paths that would not be retraced, no pause.I fell pell-mell like Jack or Jill, my headAbuzz (the broken crown came later) wasNot good at planning pauses, suited moreFor running fast with scissors. Simple lawsOf physics like inertia finally woreMe out. I'm sitting. Quietly. I pause.With high school forty years ago, I wantA plane that's flat: no incline, hill or slant.
Mascara smudgedMascara smudged, then sliding past the eye,The cheek, the fingertips, the pillow top,Then lifted by the special cream to pryIt off the lashes. But it doesn't stop.It comes again with each new day to limnThe eyes with contrast never found for real.And what does heightened contrast say? BeginWith, Look at me! I'm strong, I fight. I stealYour gaze to rest on me. I make you thinkI'm stronger than I feel. You ponder ifYou dare to conflagrate with one whose inkIs penned like war paint. See, mascara's gift.Mascara smudged, the fading battle cry.The soap, the cream, now sleeps the gentle eye.
I hit a wallI hit a wallyou know the one, where thoughtIs frozen like a shallow river onA January day. They say you oughtTo put the pencil down and look beyondThe manuscript. Go take a walk and breatheThe fresher air and do some physicalRelease like lifting small free weights, and heaveThe neurons oh so intellectual.Some happy chemistry will then replaceThe one that stiffened up like airplane glueAnd that one thought that broke the thinking spaceWill find succession in the newest new.I'm picking up the pencil now, I placeIt on the page. And thoughts begin to race.
Tethered to a place and timeI'm tethered to a place and time. I tieThe rope a little tighter every day.You know how rope can slip and then I'd flyQuite inadvertently too far away.For once you fly, you never trace it back.The smallest trip is costly and the thingsAround you change. So pound the stake and smackIt hard and prep for what the weather brings.Keep living in the Bayou when it floods.Keep talking family valuessense be damned.Keep mixing up the evils and the goods.Make good enough the rule and better banned.I'm tethered to a place and time. I tieThe rope a little tighter till I die.
You speak like MondrianYou speak like Mondrian and whistle justLike Pablo did before Picassos wentRight through the dealer's roof. Was money mustOr maybe when you picked up this new bent?Monet and Rothko, Klimt, Van Gogh, and Munch,Cezanne and Pollock, Warhol, Rubens, Johns,De Kooning, Titian, Hobleinah, a hunchPierre-Auguste Renoir. And now it dawns.Just like the patients Mr. Eakins drew,Someone must suffer, maybe die, for art.It's not a happy pastime for the fewWho make it big. Forget the money part.We'll hang them soon down at the coffee shop.And neither mind nor ears will need a lop.
A SaladI'd like a salad, ordered Kate, no cheese,no oil, no vinegar, but leave the nuts,the pear. Or was it apple? She said pleasebut in her voice an angry sound that cutsthe pleasure from the meal like orange pithcut from the rind, that no one cares to eat.The gusto of the deprivation withThe zeal of some new rite: no cheese, no meatWe ate our entrees carefully with bitesCut small and chewing kept to minimumTo make the eating sins less vulgar, whitesInstead of yolks, no toast, no clink, no yum.Perhaps we're ready for the meatless mealBut surely Kate was hungry. Stomachs feel.