October 24, 2007

Nothing left but color television
And our PhDs

Richard Prince, Dude Ranch Nurse, 2002

The Spell Cast Over
by Jack Gilbert

In the old days we could see nakedness only
in the burlesque houses. In the lavish
theatres left over from vaudeville,
ruined in the Great Depression. What had been
grand gestures of huge chandeliers
and mythic heroes courting the goddess
on the ceiling. Now the chandeliers were grimy
and the ceilings hanging in tatters. It was
like the Russian aristocrats fleeing
the Revolution. Ending up as taxi-drivers
in Paris dressed in their worn-out elegance.
It was like that in the Pittsburgh of my days.
Old men of shabby clothes in the empty
seats at the Roxy Theatre dreaming
of the sumptuous headliners
slowly discarding layers of their
lavish gowns. Baring the secret
beauty to the men of their season.
The old men came from their one room
(with its single, forbidden gas range)
to watch the strippers. To remember what used
to be. Like the gray-haired men of Ilium
who waited each morning for Helen
to cross over to the temple in her light raiment.
The waning men longed to escape from the spell
cast over them by time. To escape the imprisoned
longing. To insist on dispensation. To see
their young hearts just one more time.
Those famous women like honeycombs. Women moving
to the old music again. That former grace of flesh.
The sheen of them in the sunlight, to watch
them walking by the sea.

Desperate Young Americans
by Denise Duhamel and Stephen Paul Miller

Angela Y. Davis is history’s darling today.
The apple says yes, the artichoke says yay,
when Angela Y. Davis addresses young Democrats
and their yoyos. Yankee Doodles pony up
vapid ditties about yesterday’s baddy supermodel —
oh beautiful, for delicious skin, for amber eye shadow, so vain.
Angie Dickinson yodels to the Danish army.
Angelina Jolie’s giddy. The mayo on her sandwich
is laced with oxycodone. On a Discovery
Channel game show David Arquette yaps on
about dainty yak. Sweaty headgear around Dick Cheney
is brandished audaciously in bastard country clubs.
Social Security draws desperate young Americans,
disenfranchised elderly, dirty dancers, and celebrity dads.
My diaper bag is dowdy. Andy Dick’s diaper bag
holds austerely plaid baby bibs. Cindy Crawford
rocks the academy with a stylish dissertation
and dizzying defense: Dowdy Darlings and Daring Yin.
But Angela delays duplicating her syllabi,
rapidly white-watering on Yosemite, radical.

by Denise Duhamel and Stephen Paul Miller


Gorgeous goofballs gas golf clubs. Genies genuflect goyishly. Mel Gibson gladly gouges gumshoes, gung ho Gambler Anonymous! Goliath goes gang-busters. Gelatto, Gordian knots, guts, gross profits gang up. Gangly ghost writers grandstand G-spots. Grief-stricken goumads gratify God genes. Grammarians gab aghast, goo grooving and gettying-up. Gags rule. Gitouttahere!


Whatever wimpy wad wiggles water, wake up.

Ward Cleaver. Wally Cleaver. Weird.
Wherever Walker wigs out, a war wobbles walls,

wicked warmth, woozy wan weaponry.
Wondrous whenevers whisper “wheeler-dealer,”

wine-and-dine whatshisnames, wet wage incentives.
Wobblies worry wizards. Walmart wails, walky-talkies wink,

wistful Washington woos Wonkettes. Why work?


Bush bellyaches by bicycling past baby-boomers blasted onto billions, bananas, Bachs, bistros, Barbara bullying base bad-asses lobbing blushing bottoms because cable bellybuttons bump blowhards best. Bolivian brouhaha vibrates, basting beach balls. Bugs boycott Outward-Bound boy-scouts behind bunkers bit by biblical basset hounds. A body builder businesswoman berates a Born-again bridegroom.


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