Monday, April 22, 2013

For Blaine on His Birthday

Anyone can put clowns where they don’t belong, you lug pianos
to the side of roads
          where hitchhikers thumb rides
                          in sight of the federal prison,
to the North Pole, where letters to Santa Claus
          are finally addressed by bureaucrats
                         with threatening notes to children,
to corporate boardrooms where men with paste-on mustaches
          demonstrate points by flicking a whip
                          to dislodge the cigarette from the secretary’s lips,
to wherever there’s a wooden cigar store Indian,
         wherever diner bread is broken,
                          and wherever eggs benny is served.

All this is miraculous enough, but your true gift is in no one noticing
        the pianos are missing
                          from the finest jazz clubs
                                                                    you’ve squirreled them from
        with your invention that no one’s yet seen.

“Dada must be lived,” you always say, by way of explanation, but still
         you’re gracious enough to call at your latest dark nyet of the soul,
full of meta-amphetamines and pantomimes
        and pound cake and bad coffee about 3 am
                          when Flo in the Dark, yer all-nite radio dominatrix,
                                              has got you tongue-tied.

Trying to keep it real compared to Watts.

But more often than not, after hearing one of my 25 minute rants 
        about, say, the lack of cactus East of the Mississippi,                   
        or how I almost took the train to Poughkeepsie on your account,
                                             before I remembered the yellow mustard
                                                        on the submarine sandwees,
                         and I remembered the blue meanies, and was afraid,
              you make me feel that every occult detail I’d shared with you
   was important enough to avoid any mention of the reality of its truth
except for all your usual, wistful questions:

        Have you considered the benefits of a small rabid pet?
        Would you happen to know the bridge to Kwai Me a Wiver?
        Is a purple spraypainted rat wearing an eyepatch some sort of
                omen?
        Did I mention the tomatoes were canned?
        Well gee boss, why you gotta go an say a thing like that before?
        Can I get that with a pigeon pie, some Blackened Alibi, served with
                sauteed okra and air of mystery, and ah the Harvey, smoked
                rabbit dressed in a nice rich velveteen suit with matching
                smoking slippers, served in a black tophat, with a side of half-
                eaten fries and an Ethel Merman impersonation?
        Did I ever tell you about the time Frank Sinatra saved my life?

Then you’d produce a photo of you and Frankie shaking hands,
              and that would be enough.
                                                             It would always be enough.

Or I’d complain bitterly about people playing recorders in the wide-open
       spaces instead of an honest wood flute,
              calling out our favorite squatcher as an example.
You wouldn’t say anything, with your look of concern like this was
       the most urgent thing in the whole world,
              but a few days on, I’d receive a faded newspaper clipping
                           – about how sasquatches are strangely attracted to
                                                            the sound of a recorder.
Is it one of your hoaxes become real or the real becoming a hoax?
                          Who knows or cares.
                                                            The Dada is alive.

You wear the bowler’s hat befitting your stature
         as an entrepreneur of magic
               but your eyes do give away a guilty glint
                         of a certain charlatan charm.
But there was that time we talked reality off the ledge
         through deep-fried summer woods
                                                                      when suddenly,
there were marimbas waiting for us at the side of the trail,
                                                                      and you would smile
                          for what I think is the first time,
        despite the reporter who immediately appeared to question us,
for here was a theoretical universe that was worthy of you, that you
        didn’t have to create
                         out of pipe cleaners and flasks of ovaltine.

2 comments:

the walking man said...

If it has to have a name for it's motion then can it exist outside of the mind?

Anonymous said...

I'd rather roll with the preternatural and/or prenatal punches than eat fictitious cake, any day.