To be exact, I liked the white tale in the tail,
the wild waves, those sounds, save for the whale of the wail.
Some made no sense: I never learned how the made maid
the sea hare happy housed inside the ship’s pail pale?
When you wondered out loud about the weigh to way
a whale in ship full of hey, and when you yelled "hay",
my mind was somewhere else, not hear. I could not here
your views on whale’s pray either. Pardon me, I prey.
I had left the animals and there plight right their,
since for sea hair and blue fish I care not a hare—
that’s not write, baleen whales are mammal, I should right,
not fish!—Sorry to air, I’m human…I breathe err.
Perhaps I am a chewed up old pencil
but this body had once wrote beauty,
against the page had once sizzled,
a silhouette of seduction satisfying
the white face with sounds so tender
they melted into memory’s honeyed fountains,
had once tickled the pages with laughter,
once filled them with insights of such richness
no books could contain them nor hearts without
whispering them among silences of wonder―
dazzling celestial bodies in the darkness.
This body but I mean that I also
wrote masterpieces even, my
own Malvina and Vanessa.
Here’s something I have learned in my long life:
Whether or not it is turtles all the way down,
it must be pencils all the way up, for we write,
get written, and we’re the means of writing,
and words that move through our chewed up
bones, will have our signatures too somewhere
deep inside their marrow.
On the porch the sunshine pours into me
like a bowl of mom’s butternut squash soup
so hot the baby blue table turns white
where scented steam clumps or streaks across but
freezes long enough like a memory.
A South African lion thundered, roared
at me: Stop! I shall be devouring you!
Shuddering, "When?" I asked the mighty king.
The fiend bellowed: It will be a surprise,
like one's birthday bash…or a fatal stroke.
Oh please have mercy on me, I implored,
sobbing: Is there anything I can do?
The big cat growled back, Not a single thing
can save you, so get up and wipe your eyes,
you look pathetic…man is such a joke.
I stood up slowly—though my tears still poured,
my bones convulsing with despair, anew.
Meanwhile a breeze, perfumed with blooming spring,
passed by, birds sang as sun began to rise,
and spill the warmth of that, that runny yolk.
But what if I kill you, you godless lord,
or end myself, before you could get to?
I’m immortal, the beast began to sing,
and second, as for wooing your demise,
go on, I even lend you my own cloak.
And then the jungle's king retired toward
a red bush, after bidding me adieu.
That mamba hangs as though a tail or string
from some dead-rat tree; here slime lily lies:
split white petals…but those are frogs that croak.
Were you the one driving us sir,
alone, and one by one asking
earnestly...what...to bury you
right there—there!—by that barren sign?
Did you desire to heal, seeking
to find in our refusals lines
that lead to roots, curing you too?
Of what, tell me, your own despair?
Perhaps you were the passenger
who rode with us, the audience—
to whom cinema's for hiding
from self, who hope to find a friend
who'd stop a bit to throw a rope.
But what's the need for this pretense?
I too had seen me in your lens.
Abbas, confess though, was that you?
If not then what are you here for,
close-up or sound take only? Hope
celestial winds would carry you
to roots at home—or at a friend's....
*Abbas Kiarostami, the world-renowned Iranian filmmaker, passed away exactly a year ago, on July 4, 2016. He directed, among others, the Palme d'Or-winning "A Taste of Cherry" (referenced throughout my poem), a movie about a suicidal person driving around and asking others that should he go through with it, if they'd be willing to bury him. I also make passing references to three of his other films, "Where Is the Friend's Home?", "Close-Up", and "The Wind Will Carry Us."
Is there a chance the track could bend?
A chance our fates have long been penned?
A chance that hearts would fail to mend?
A chance our meanings won't transcend?
A chance our lives will not extend?
A chance our souls will not ascend?
A chance we've failed to comprehend?
A chance this really is the end?
Is there a chance, my Hindu friend?
As Professor John Frink says, Let
the commencing beginulate,
so starting with Homer's foe, let's begin:
We know where Frank Grimes was livin',
in a room above a bowling alley...
and below another bowling alley.
But did you know, that mouse, Bitey,
spent time in Monorail's closet nightly?
The show's animals that rhyme with Bitey:
Pinchy, Stampy, Blinky, Mr. Teeny,
Yeti, Itchy and Scratchy...Poochie!
There are exceptions like Lisa's pony
Princess, Snowball, Loch Ness Monster,
Plopper, Anastasia (the white tiger
owned by lion tamers, Ernst and Gunter),
Jub-Jub, Mojo...Santa's Little Helper.
But it's not just animals: Think Maggie,
Fat Tony, not Bill but Marty, Barney,
not Selma but Patty, Lenny,
and not Chief Wiggum or Lou but Eddie,
Mayor Quimby, Luigi, Sherri
and Terri, Bleeding Gums Murphy,
Charlie, Krusty, and Hyman Krustofski,
Mary Bailey, that Crazy Cat Lady,
Jasper Beardly, and Groundskeeper Willie
who got the "shinning"—but he did...really!
Some names though end in "man" like Hans Moleman,
Bumblebee Man, Duffman, Radioactive Man,
Kent Brockman, and Crazy Old Jewish Man.
But not quite, the one-armed Herman Hermann.
Names, characters...but there's a third factor:
It's about how good is the voice actor:
Now Roger Meyers was voiced by Rocco;
While Shearer did the bus driver Otto,
the school music teacher Dewey Largo,
and that shocking Dr. Marvin Monroe!
Pam Hayden did that bully named Jimbo;
Castellaneta, Guy Incognito;
and one of my favorites on the show
by the guest voice Al Brooks, Hank Scorpio!
But speaking of guest voices, John Waters,
he did not do Waylon Smithers,
but did his date, a guy named John
(scorned by Homer who worried for his son,
and despite that still adored by his wife,
he changed Homer's mind by saving his life).
The characters voiced by Azaria:
Moe, Cletus, Dr. Nick Riviera,
Chase or Pyro, Disco Stu, Akira,
Kirk Van Houten...and, well, Boobarella!
Fine, I was joking about that, as she
was voiced by Tress MacNeille, and Lunchlady
Doris too, though Doris Grau was the one
who did it, though sadly now she is gone.
The late Phil Hartman and Marcia Wallace
did their roles very well...almost flawless.
No longer here, their achievements endure:
Edna Krabappel, Hutz and Troy McClure...
The show features every faith and color:
The black Dr. Hibbert and Judge Snyder,
The Christian Ned Flanders and Tim Lovejoy,
The Jewish Krusty the Clown, Dolph, and oy
that wealthy and conceited Artie Ziff
who tried to force himself on Marge—as if!
The "miscellaneous" Apu
and Manjula...or rather called "Hindu",
Cookie Kwan of the west side who's Asian;
Richard Gere, of Buddhist persuasion,
as are Lenny, Carl, and Lisa, while Moe
is a snake-handler which means...I don't know.
At the end of the day you must relate
to the characters, be it love or hate.
So, be it Ling or Wolfcastle, one's joy
comes from how you feel for, say, Fallout Boy
I don't feel much for Nelson Muntz or Snake,
but for Milhouse whom Bart can never shake
and for Patches, Poor Violet, I do,
for pale Wendell, even Martin too.
Ralph who called Miss Hoover mommy, ate paste,
and said "burning" when describing the taste
of poison berries, is "learnding", said so,
to Super Nintendo Chalmers. Although
it is sure quite hard to believe, when he
still does call a rat a pointy kitty!
Of Homer's immediate family,
I like Herbert, Abe, Mona, not Abbie.
I don't know why but I like Arnie Pye
flying high in the sky. Comic Book Guy
too, the definition of a winner,
so sexy in bed with Agnes Skinner.
The abused Sideshow Bob and Sideshow Mel
despite the former's penchant for eevell,
get some sympathy from me; and Old Gil,
and Cecil, even Kodos and Kang will.
The Rich Texan, C. Montogmery Burns,
which of these two ruthless men earns
our love and liking more than hate instead?
A noble spirit, Jebediah said
embiggens the smallest man. Right or wrong,
fine words with which to end my Simpsons song.
I know the unyielding nature of the beast,
its sticky and yet far too slippery texture,
made more challenging by the disguises it wears.
Some find themselves awakened to nihilistic truths, others
find sleep every hour a siren song impossible to resist,
and some like the young woman here today
so detached from her own body by these layers of fat,
has no suspicions at all that that she—she—is alive,
but I suspect, no I’m sure, that she is, somewhere
in there screaming in the clutches of the beast.
The crystal bowl full of cherries
sat proudly right in the center
of the walnut coffee table.
Handsome men in expensive suits
and their beautiful ladies
sat in grand chairs with legs of gold,
while I felt lost among adults,
standing there eyeing the cherries.
I leaned forward and suddenly
a dozen smug eyes fixed on me
dissecting all my graceless moves
as I reached into the tangled
stems of that rich cherry jungle.
So with no time to think I picked
the ripest and juiciest one,
when all at once a loud chorus
shouted at me and I sat down,
ashamed of having mistaken
artificial fruit for real ones.
Falling asleep by the dying flames
of a faux-stone fireplace,
I found myself inside an empire
of fire, of faceless soldiers in flight,
the clashing embers above the ashes,
raging meteor showers, shooting lights,
sonorous lamentations in the air
above where ashen parents lie,
and I heard peaking hollers
of children burning with desire
to join the ranks of fighters in the night.
Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock….
Old Adams and Eves on the ageless rock
awash in oceans that spit shells and muck.
The shrinking Earth can never run nor walk
as wilful living do around the clock,
Some were left behind like the ones smeared on
backs of teachers' heavy hands in autumn.
Some where lost like the ones in red petals
of those tulips risen among the rocks,
my childhood springs in the construction sites.
And between cars beneath mulberry trees
lining the back alleys, in the presence
of us all playing ball in late July.
In Panchatantra, and Jules Verne's fancies,
in goodnight kisses every single night….
But now I stand a porous skin only
wrapped around absence that festers and spreads
a nameless disease that tears through the past.
I revel in repetition, I do,
like revolving around the lovely sun.
What Earthly carnival of life, these pine
valleys, these rural grasslands, rolling plains,
velvety rivers, groves of olive, beds
of wildflowers, these woods where lions roar.
This Ferris wheel of soil contains souls too—
in wrinkling skin, pumping their failing hearts,
who hold on tight as Earth circles and spins,
and sun takes in the sights and smiles once more....
I'll be brief.
This, to the thief
who stole—to my grief—
my Kobe beef
and ate it here
guzzling my beer
with no fear
that we will hear:
Your worse crime
was adding the lime
and all my thyme!
Hope you do time!
Think Belgian chocolate, caramel, fudge, pomegranate pistachio, mango-peach.... Think ice cream melting and a stranger's touch, think taste of salted skin, a moonlit beach that licks the foamy whites of ocean's reach, a breeze perfumed with rotting kelp and fish. Think waking cold and hungry...no, don't think!
At last to feel regret for having killed
myself, flesh and soul, systematically
over the years, though slowly and with care;
to peel that onion, drill through the numbness,
discovering jagged fossils of rage;
with surgical precision discharging
the ancient grief blocked by congested pain;
to find the core of self-flagellation
concealed within a fog, now lifting, rain
soaking my face, to bless me, thus washing
away the guilt and loss, dissolve their chain.
Beneath my childhood bed myriad monsters
lurked nightly in darkness, hidden horrors....
Oh how simple was life for the young me,
life's monsters confined in space and in time.
Mushrooming they've colonized every inch
of my insides now, of the world out there,
blending in when need be, profess honor,
ones that look like me, ones in modest robes,
in Kiton suits, fatigues, dirty tatters...
some even capes! Who to trust when I've known
monstrous hearts in some, some their monstrous brains?
But monsters live too inside chance and fate,
deep in the deafening hush of the world
where air, with or without you, keeps its form,
the sun's forever sun and the moon moon,
childhood's monsters gulped as if breaths in storm.