THE ANGELS OF MAY

The angels of May make the seven

gray steps down and enter the clean sunlight.

Along the sidewalk, they move in pairs or in clusters

In solidarity on their way away from the severe

dark building where they learn to be good citizens.

 

In the ripple of Spring, in their plaid wraparound

skirts, sharply pleated, worn (their choice) up enough

to reveal burgeoning limbs caught between hem and

long socks, there are glimpses of the quality of

destination explorers have gladly died for: These are

perfectly in bloom art flowers!

 

Now, at lunchtime, they wave and frolic, dash and

dive, giving up squeals of  glee and bursts of temper

in gamely fashion under the city branches, some on swings

kick at the sky with outstretched legs, as if they wanted to

leave the world;  some sit in groups on the grass in bonding

arrangements, making sisterly gestures, at ease in their abstractions,

and on this oasis,  what secrets shared,  what plans hatched,

what crushes formed in their eager young hearts!

 

And when a silent bell sounds it is time to put down the recreations and

return to the cold building where instruction is bought for future advantage

when they will  be harnessed to their adult woes, although for the time being,

 they float automatically in procession, resigned to the remainder of their day

 like angels in the afternoon.

SKELETONS

Capture d’écran, le 2022-04-08 à 10.19.07

Skeletons don’t have problems. I always knew this, so I joined Weight Watchers in order to lose all the weight I needed to in order to become one. It took me 3 years, during which I refused to eat anything heavier than a cracker, and getting so thin my friends and family deserted me, claiming I was less than the person they used to know. But I persisted, and one day I was on my exercise regime jogging along the sidewalk when an enthusiastic gust of wind pushed me up onto a tree branch. Nobody could see me up there at all, and I had to shout at some people to get me down, which caused them to surmise there was a ghost in their midst. Finally I died a pathetic death from a disease I cannot pronounce. I am now a skeleton in the dark with no problems, but with no fun weekends either.

I’M A SWEATER, RON

RON’S WISDOM SALON: 

A fictional advice column

Dear Ron,

I notice that you have letters lately that have to do with humidity and I just wanted to add my own. It is something I could never tell anyone, but now I am going to tell it to you: I am a sweater. You read it correct. I sweat, Ron. I am a woman who oozes and I cannot help it. My problem is not only do I sweat – I sweat profusely., and when I do, I stick to things.

For example, I will be passing a table and by accident I touch it with my arm and my arm sticks to the table. It is not fun to have to pull yourself off furniture all the time while everyone around you is enjoying a good glass of lemonade and a couple of rice batons, and they have to put it down and help you to come unglued. It is not a way to keep friends.

And besides, I am a proud person. I don’t like to ask for help. I am made that way. I would like to be able to sweat less. Is there anything I can do about it?

Liquid Nightmare

Dear Liquid,

The first thing I would tell anyone in your position is: Don’t sweat it. The truth is we all sweat, it is a normal, natural, unattractive function of the human body when one is hot or under some kind of stress. It is nothing to be ashamed of.

The fact that you become attached to furniture is obviously a problem. On warm says, I would suggest that you wear lots of clothing to cover you up, say a housecoat or a djaalabba. This will prevent contact with your moist surfaces. Carry a hanky or a sock around with you in case your brow bubbles up. Don’t hold anything in your palm too long as this is a part of the anatomy that likes to get wet first, and stay away from toilet seats.

If you are ever in an emergency and have no one around to  help you sever yourself from an inanimate object, don’t panic.

Wait until nightfall when the heat is dispelled and then calmly back up. Don’t worry about burdening friends and neighbours if these are available. People are surprisingly forthcoming to aid their fellow man (or woman) and it might even prove a bit of a lark for them to dislodge you. Best of luck to you and have a nice, dry summer.

My Problem Is No Problems

RON’S WISDOM SALON: A fictional advice column

Dear  Ron,

Do you think having no problems is a problem in itself?  I have no problems today and it bothers me.

Dunno

Dear Dunno,

You are right on the money that having no problems is a problem in itself, and sometimes it can make you take your own life. Look at the Scandinavians. They have everything handed to them. They screw like sizzling rodents, they are all tall blonde and beautiful. They drink like fish. All they have to do in life is ponder the universe,  like that Ingemar Bergman guy, and make depressing movies.

Problems make people happy. You got a problem, you are focussed on it, and you try to solve it. It narrows you down so that you are not thinking, “Well, I’m gonna die and nobody will come to my funeral, and I won’t ever be back to shave my pet monkey again.”  Now that is a problem we can never resolve, so the more problems the better, and besides, where would I be if people didn’t have problems?  It would be a problem for me that I would not want to have.

I hope this helped.

THE FIRST DRINK OF THE EVENING

Margarita,

Your 4 syllables thrill, they chill me.

You are a celebration,

 a marching band down my throat.

Your lips, satisfyingly salty,

Then comes the squash of lime

Joined by a sweet liqueur.

They dance deliciously

To the overall

Tune of the agave,

Oh, agave!

Blue agave

Desert notes that brace.

I can finally breathe.

Margarita,

You are always fidele,

I am never put off.

You settle me

I need more, more of your cold love,

My dear.

I must trick out fresh cubes.

Second rounds, please.

I AM BLACK

I eat on black plates

I eat black food on black plates

I drink black tea in black cups

The sun shines black on me, too.

 

Black sucks in light,

meaning it contains light.

I am the Real Light, it says,

the hard shapes you see in day

disappear at night,

I own them.

 

Black is the color of sleep.

We rest in black

if black so desires,

or

black wields a whip

to keep us out,

starve us from our dreams.

 

While other colors strike poses,

play party games,

black remains serene

like an unruffled butler.

Distinguished

Absolute

A master of circumstance,

black rules quietly.

 

Black is jazz,

a burning saxophone on

the summer pavement,

slow drinks,

sex, easy and long.

 

Black is the dislocated,

sirens blaring to upset

delicate ears,

Police bullets spray,

the city is turned into

a trauma unit.

 

No,

don’t mess with black,

because black has been here

even longer than truth.

She is the Great Mother,

Africa,

the earth

that can swallow you.

 

So,

rise now,

and raise your glass to black,

in Coca Cola or in Russians.

And, remember,

everything goes with black,

it’s a well known custom.

 

MEAT

Meat is gravity

a dreamless state

pieces of death

there already in the beginning

and in all things

their essence.

Meat allows nothing to escape

and is empty of all but itself.

Meat consumes meat

becoming more meat

fleshier carcasses

duller slices of heads and legs

some younger

some more red.

The butcher is our friend.

And if we pretend

to aspire to other ends

with our many meat brains

meat guards meet us

at the door to the station

to disconnect the trains.

Fresh meat sizzles with notions,

take sides.

Lies slide from its bloodied hides.

Shapes abound.

Meat like meat likes to fry

in meat patties and on delegations

and in pairings that result in

baby meat who cry.

The meat parade began in time,

its womb the mirror, before

which we walked on air

part of the atmosphere

or flew

or were never there.

I’VE HAD ENOUGH

I’ve had enough

I’ve had enough of this road

And the stone in my shoe

I’ve had enough of me

And not enough of you

 

I’ve had enough

Of the air that I breathe

It’s painful to swallow

Painful to grieve

 

I’ve had enough

Don’t tell me no

I don’t know where to turn to

Don’t know where to go

 

I’ve had too little

Of glory and faith

Faith in something

I could never erase

 

I’ve had just enough

Time to prepare

Give me a signal

And I’ll try to get there

MARSHMALLOWS AND BALLOONS

RON’S WISDOM SALONA fictional advice column

Dear Ron,

I had a dream last night that I was floating around in a big air balloon. I woke up feeling elated and confused. What does it mean?

Confused

Dear Confused,

You’re confusing me. Do you mean what does the dream mean, or your confusion and elation? Let’s take it one at a time. You dreamed that you floated in an air balloon. By the way, why do they call it an air balloon? All balloons are air-bound or they wouldn’t be balloons, would they? It’s so redundant.

Okay, so you dreamed you floated in a balloon. Did you drink something before you went to sleep? Did you drink anything during the day? If yes, that probably did it. Floating in a balloon is also symbolic. It means you don’t like the ground and wish to be elsewhere. It could also mean you got a new pair of shoes, metaphorically speaking, which are killing you, and you don’t know whether to take them back or not.

My advice to you is to take them back and buy a more comfortable pair (soft leather, not too small, not too big) If the shoe fits, wear it. Many people insist on buying shoes that don’t fit them, which contributes to much misery.  There is also often a connection between floating in the air and marshmallows.

Think about it. Have you ever had thoughts about marshmallows?  Do you ever fantasize about doing things to marshmallows? Roasting them, biting them, gumming them? Do you buy the white ones or do you sometimes buy the coloured ones? If you always buy the white ones, do you sometimes wish they were coloured, or vice-versa?

Be honest with yourself. Be alert to possible color biases. Make sure there is not too much white in your life. You might think you are brightening up the atmosphere, but you’re not, you’re just leaving yourself open to stains. You are inviting problems.

There is a possibility also you may even have a perverted need to be stained in some way because you don’t feel you are worthy. You subconsciously wish to be besmirched. I don’t know if you are worthy or not, so I won’t go there. I assume you are a worthy person because you read my column, but even I can’t tell  for sure, so  wisdom dictates that I go no further with speculation.

As for your elation, I would suggest that you  rub the smirk off your face pronto and face reality. Did you really think you could just float away and bump around in the sky for the rest of your life? You are not a bird, after all. Don’t be so darn happy!

I could call you a coward for being elated, but I won’t. The confusion part I understand. Here you were, fading off into sleepland, never expecting to be abducted in some airborne device, and you wake up thinking how do I get home from the airport. Well, it was an imaginary voyage! You did not really go sky riding,  you are on terra firma now. I might suggest that if you want to avoid confusing dreams, you try keeping your eyes slightly open when you sleep. Clothespins often do the trick.

I hope this helped.

HOPE

I hope Alain is happy with his cat

And didn’t go out and buy a rat

I hope he’s happier still

That he’s not buried on a hill

 

I hope Eddie is okay

Not in some disastrous play

With his wife and his son

Held down under somebody’s gun

 

I hope my folks are doing good

Wherever they may be I’ve understood

Whatever transpired I can’t deny

Made me I and I will not lie

 

I hope Barbara is on her way

To becoming every day

The artist she is supposed to be

And creates herself and remembers me

 

I hope everyone in this world

Who suffers with what has unfurled

Gains relief and conquers pain

And comes back to live again

DREAM DIARY

I am in a house. Not clear if it is my house or that I am taking care of it for someone else. But it has a long hallway and off it an alcove, which is at first unseen by me, as I am at one end. At the far end of the hallway a man stands almost out of sight. He is telling me adamantly that a portrait hung in the alcove should be taken down, because something disastrous will happen as a result of it. I know the portrait and find nothing wrong with it. I remember It is a picture of a middle-aged man who has a round face and a high forehead. He has thin blondish hair. In fact, I am thinking as we speak that there may  be two of the same person hanging there, one of these taken when the man had been under the influence of opium. There is a lot of talk back and forth, but I refuse to remove them. Then I enter the alcove and am surrounded by many portraits in old-fashioned frames. Near the floor I see rows of children’s books together with decorations and drawings. When I lean down to inspect them the books begin to sing to me in beautiful young voices. I am entranced and the dream ends.

A WORD ABOUT BUSINESS AS USUAL

People should be screaming out of windows
people should be kicking down doors,
jumping on flags,
shaking like epileptics!

How is this possible?
We have
nearly a million years of human evolution
and the standard line can still prevail:

“It’s mine!”

Well,
It’s not.

You have no right to it.

A spell is on
you,

which continues
generation after generation,
an afternoon darkness,
your robotic mind
clinging to a cliff of lies.

And your mouth that spits on
anything better
and shoulders that
shrug ugly
and bellies that stick out
like eggs
.

And you want security?

This will not stand!
There is a Law that says:
This. Will. Not. Stand.
We will make sure
you understand this.
By train and by plane and by ship,
your skin will dissolve in fear.
You will breathe in the stinking corpses
of your children.
Your houses will crumble over you.
You will be availed of no
hope,
no future.
You will cry to the end
of your days
when you may finally
realize the Justice in this
for your atrocious
incomparable
stupidity.

ENIGMA (for J-M)

If it’s too good to be true

is it true,

a young man, nearly

a boy, really,

who astounds in

twenty-first century space

with jewels as words that are

louder than blame

and as magnificent

as First Love?

 

Who is he,

who writes in a third language

he met on a beach as a child?

 

He is doubtless connected

to those who spoke

before him

in the flowers of language,

messages of possibility,

all the while surrounded

in a world

swallowed by toxins.

 

If Art is a lie that tells the truth,

then he is a great liar,

a magician who spins wheels

before fortunate spectators.

 

Regardless,

Beauty is proffered by the arthritic

hand.

A HOLE IN ME

There is a hole in me that can’t be filled

I try to stay alert to everything in there

I stuff myself with pleasure

I disengage from pain

I stand in the rain 

                                                                                              

The hole I realize is an illusion

I realize this with a deep breath

That a fine hand is guiding me

Somewhere

I don’t care where

Only that it is away from

A hole that can’t be filled

UNBREAKABLE

You’re unbreakable, little girl.

I see it in your eyes

as you tell your story

of the ordeal endured

of a hell almost

incomprehensible,

Satanic ritual abuse.

Blood, murder, humiliation

foisted on you by your grandmother

no less, Nana and her ilk

for their god, Lucifer.

We call a lot of things suffering,

but this is beyond the pale

even in this day of the extraordinary.

The human will cannot be broken.

You’re unbreakable, little girl.

I’m glad to see this in your eyes.

UNTITLED

C’mon baby
Take me where I need to go
C’mon baby
Take me down real slow
 
Had so much trouble in this town
It never leave me alone
Had so much of nothing
Nothing never lets me go
 
It’s getting cold out there
Need to find a place to land
I’m broken and used up
Gotta find a silky hand
 
I got no future
Got no past to tell
Get close to me baby
Let me drink from your well
 
We could make it together
Live in the same old tree
Could be birds of a feather
Sure wish you’d agree

I CAN’T GET UP

I’m stuck
I’m stuck I can’t get up
I’m stuck I’m in between
I can’t formulate a theory
I won’t take a stand
I’m stuck like a balloon in a tree
And no one is coming to get me
Motion escapes me
My angels forsake me
I am just about ready
And I don’t know what for
It has come to this and this takes
The cake
I’ve been educated I once held a job
They told me I was alive
I really believed it
I had a past
I wanted things
I could tell the difference between things
I could see colors
I had plans
I believed I could perfect myself
I was curious about everything
God the nature of the universe
My place in the picture
Now I’m stuck
In rage in savagery
In ignorance and solitude
The world is so solid
Freedom is so far away

I TRY

I try so hard

I try so hard

I try so hard to love you

 

I try so hard to live with you

I try so hard to know you

 

I do not know you

I cannot rule you

 

Fact

 

I am blue not gray

I am just made that way

I will just fade that way

 

Now

 

The lamp’s down low

How low will it go

 

Into the dark

Our natural space

Our silly place

 

I try so hard

To win the race

To end the race

 

I try so hard

To find my place

A WORD WITH GOD

I wake up in the morning
To nothing much at all
I let it all go thru me
I don’t have much recall
 
The never changing noises
The total disrespect
For any real advancement
And all the same neglect
 
Like black men sitting in prison
Many innocent of crime
The others that did it
Obliged to make a dime
 
I wish I could make things happen
I wish I had the balls
To overthrow the status quo
Escape privilege once and for all
 
I want off this merry-go-round
With all the drugs and lies
From the evening pundits
In their shirts and their ties
 
But I’m just a good Jewish boy
Did everything I was told
By books and parents
Who really were quite old
 
I’ll deal with defeat in heaven
If everything goes well
I’ll be right up in front
Sounding a big brass bell
 
I’ll kiss all the angels
Give them each a rose
Convince them to relocate
Buy them some street clothes
 
If there is a God sitting there
I won’t say a word
I won’t betray my bitterness
About which I am not cured
 
I imagine He’ll just nod and wink
And drink up His usual praise
Coming thru the Intercom
From churches in a haze
 
What do they expect from me He”ll ask
What do they think I can do
About all their pain and unhappiness
Their problems not a few
 
I’m just a dude with a good job
I got it long ago
I was elected President
In a world I do not know
 
I’ve been to hell and back
I’ll tell Him steady and straight
It was quite a ride for sure
It makes me want to hate
 
And now you’re in heaven you think
With the man Himself
I guess you want an autograph
To place on your shelf
 
No I don’t think so I’ll retort
I never thought You great
For being so full of yourself
In everything You state
 
You made humans the way we are
That really wasn’t smart
We’re just a bunch of insane beasts
From the end and from the start
 
I think you made a mistake He’ll say
You came to the wrong place
You need to go next door I think
The Devil’s in that space
 
Blame blame is all You know
I’ll tell Him with a sneer
It’s always the other guy
It’s always the one You fear
 
Fear in what You bank on
Fear is what You need
To keep Your fans writing cheques
While they continue to bleed
 
Your fans don’t even know who they are
They only know their names
You need to make them need You
To referee their games
 
Why don’t You tell them the truth of it
Tell them they can be strong
That they don’t have to get on their knees
To live well and get along
 
Then what would I do up here He’d say
I would be all alone
No more droning prayers to hear
No more messages on my phone
 
The fact of the matter is
I’m not getting any younger
Don’t have the energy anymore
To satisfy anyone’s hunger
 
Still people want to dream I guess
Of an afterlife one day
They cannot handle the alternative
That they must just decay
 
Should I destroy the illusions
That keep some men afloat
In a world they cannot tolerate
In a world without hope
 
To these very words
I wouldn’t know what to say
Illusions may be all we have
To keep the world at bay