Poem for August 15

August 15, 2012 § Leave a comment


I am in love with this Holiday season and you
Are doing research as feet drop on the cluster of splinters
On the squeezed tip of the middle finger on my left hand
With men looking at it in the room designed for men.
What holiday is this, Clarence? Why it’s the fasching season
When Lords and Ladies play ‘Roll Out the Barrel’ or lay abed
Because they don’t have to know the right ping-pong table size
To stop climbing up a ladder toward a certain gray fat
Hee-haw there kid! How could you stand Pat
Coming in while your hand was under the dressmaker’s machine?
Danger in them thar hills, said Boy, finger, and nostril
Too much room here said the fat
Miniature of Mao Tse-tung, as you dropped a tear on the crockery
Rubbing me the wrong way near the Manhattan Bridge.
So now we’re zipping up a one-way street
Only, who turned on the cameras, you charming Boy?
Here is the glum Bengali of the dangling hairs, at his
Cub Scout meeting; remember the time he kissed you and broke his tooth?
Yes, he was with the alcoholic young lady in white
Who disappeared through the rectangle with the dangling thing!
Followed at a distance of one half inch by seven men and a posse.
What excitement when your hairy pants were not a hit!
No, I’d rather not take it home since it’s bubbling
In the other room. Please apply the gush to it.
Gush! but it was Pepsi-Cola so how could you take place?
You who offered milk so freely that soothed my bare boil.
The bus pulled to a stop emitting seven red napkins
A technique common among zookeepers and spies
Got off the bus years later. That day our homestead vanished
Just as the contest began. What about love then, Clarence, you sot!
Disguised as a roll of nickles the lump surged and surged
In front of the imperative sentence, “Do not erase.”
As the winning bus grunted to a stop you came off too quickly
In order to collect the two-penny prize. You chose the snooze as usual.
But behind the door Clarence continued to fondle the mustache
Then placed it in a little box marked, “Do not open until Christmas.”

-Ted Berrigan & Ron Padgett, from Bean Spasms, originally published by Kulchur Press in 1967; long overdue reprinting by Granary Books is due out Sept. 30, 2012. In the meantime, this excerpt was taken from the third issue of GAS (Summer, 1991, the “Ted Berrigan” issue).












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