Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Triumph of the Hope

"What's life? Not anything it seems.
A shadow. Fiction filling reams."

-------- La vida es sueno, Pedro Calderon de la Barca.

The pageantry, the stadium sized video screens, the rock concerts,
the cavalcade of stars, the breathless second after second of
the 24 hour nationally televised apotheosis, and the once modestly
attired muse of "History" decked in the gaudy hues of Hope.....

Newscasters congratulate themselves on bringing this nicely packaged
show of "History". Honeyed promise drips from the screen. Gather
around Citizens of the World. Witness the Triumph of the Hope.

Abraham Lincoln has come again! Every gesture in his shadow,
even the actor's clouded face. Tall and thin he stoically shakes Bono's
hand at the Monument. Stoically wrapt in thought he listens to Celebrities
read lines rehearsed from Nursery Books. At times he cracks a satisfied
grin. All is well. Though times are thin, Lincoln, my fellow Americans, has
come again.

The secrets of History are charmed.
Hope, from the Box, leaps fully armed.

Pandora! Don't turn from the flashing bulbs! Drink full the license of
unabashed celebration. Forget the masses are surfeit with trepidation.
Ask for more lucre and pull off the show.

America! The endless promise is renewed. Two million throng the
Capitol. They chant like Corybantes. "Thank you Pandora!" Next year
they'll whisper, "We were screwed."
The cameras and stars will not be there to catch their plaint.
They'll be too busy admiring Pandora's face paint.

Change indeed-- On the back of the dollar we will murder Greed.

Hope, like Pandora, is a whore for all seasons. It, like she, holds out
a hand, never troubling over reasons.

She triumphs. But no crone whispers in her ear, "Remember you
are mortal. Hold this day dear."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Oooliad, Book I ---The Fair Maiden and Her Menagerie

Book I

The Sun sprays light gen'rously over
Suburbia's sprawl. Its rays gently hover
In our heroine's green eyes.
She turns slowly and espies,
'Tis noon and lazily sighs.
The room, hard to tell, if be an abode
For a maiden or a foul toad.
In the corner a proud Parrot
Guards her repose. A carrot
In his beak and unnerv'd on the perch
Opposite a giant lizard, still as a church.
He licks his scaly maw and eyes slow
Seven turtles in an aquarium's murky glow.

This the fair maiden who stokes Hera's hate?
This the fair maiden who invokes dire fate?
In the fields south of Dallas she dwells,
A land of hillbillies and proud yokels.
From Olympus Hera's aweful gaze
Follows our heroine and then stays.
"What can I essay to bring her woe?
The ways infinite, and the ease ill dispose
My decision must be weighed with craft.
For Zeus has eyes and is far from daft."
In counsel with dread Alecto She issues
A plot, deceptive, to assail inner tissues.
"Her bowels I pollute with Avernian dross!
Sulfurous and deathly, creeping, it shall cross
Her e'ery second and make life hell!"
The Heavens ring with Hera's curse
Lesser Gods scurry, to Her anger averse.

And what, pray tell, has our maiden done,
To deserve dire curse and Hera's shun?
All Zeus' ennui we, the blame lay.
He is a God, so He cannot pay.
At first her green eyes and fair skin
Caught the Thunderer when she, at Gym,
Gracefully climbed the stairmaster
And ne'er looked pained and marched faster.
Zeus' heart sped as her lithe legs lifted
His loins burned and His passions sifted.
Dalliances past He contriv'd artful disguise
But Oooli is strange and full of guise.
Our Heroine's nothing like maidens past,
She loves guns, reptiles and things aghast.
And to her girlfriends winks and simpers,
"I've climbed the fence but never leaped over."
How to catch such a slippery wench?
Zeus cannot find a perfect cinch.

In desperation, at first, He tries
The tried and true element of surprise.
As a rat he leaps on her snow-like shoulder
In her garage, in darkness, but Oooli, bolder,
Slaps Him away and screams bloody murder.
Back He goes, shamed and plots further,
Zeus is a God, undaunted He again endeavors.
Doubtful yet proud He questioned his powers
"Have I lost my touch, no more Golden Showers?
But lost to things that creep 'neath fallen bowers,
The Golden Age is gone, I must new method try."
He lifted His proud head and in distress a cry
Cleaves the clouds above Olympus and then a sigh.
Days passed and alone Zeus sulked.
The Gods all noticed and on His throne Hulked
In thought, no God or Goddess dare inquire.
Hera knew what pained, her jealous eyes dart fire.

A second stratagem He, at length, employs.
In the light of her room not darkened decoys
Which only affright and cool the ardor.
Proudly He smiles and applauds His sagacity.
"I'll become a harmless mouse, blonde and pretty,
Creep into her bed and climb the Maiden Mound,
Nibble in and lap the nectar like a thirsty hound.
Then fertilize her with my heavenly load.
And she will bear a God's brood in her wild abode."

E'en plans of Gods are subject to fickle fate
He became a mouse and learned with regret
The weight of our Heroine on his little shape.
Crushed and without breath he labors
'Til Pallas, His favorite, sensed the dangers
And to the rescue She descended.
Too late, our Heroine her honor defended
With the thrash of a broom luckless Zeus sails
Across the room, landing on the Iguana's scales .
With hungry, cold, eyes the Lizard licks the air
And tastes the Mouse's scent and shifts his care
To eating the rodent tickling his palette.
In time Athene snatches Zeus from its gullet.

Athene with a mouse in tow up to Olympus sails
And Her disguised quarry to the throne avails.
"I dare not try this Maiden again! She, like dread Plutus,
Has a den full of Monsters and weapons to smote Us."

Here Book I ends.
Book II to come at the Kalends.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Oooliad: An Alimentary Epic, Prologue

"We usually react squeamishly to shit as if it were something bad.
But if we look into the matter we see that it could be the most
valuable substance on earth, because all life comes from shit and
returns to shit."

Vladimir Voinovich, The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin

Prologue on Olympus: Olympus and Hera's Anger

Hera's wrath, to Oooli the direful spring
Of turds unnumber'd, heavenly host, sing!

Et passim, ad nauseam!(Cough) One can't sing in the grande style the dire travails
our heroine endured at the terminus of her alimentary canal.
From the Queen of the Gods the ruinous bolt shot. Jealousy and Ennui poured
calumnies in her ear about Zeus' love. And to her Brother-mate she sped.

Zeus, at the time, was being spray-tanned by Ganymede. Thumbing through an issue
of US and shaking his Hoary Locks to music on his iPod. Ageless and careless,
the Gods were like wealthy Americans. And, like them, too, the Recession was fodder
for Banquet Hall bon-mots.

Espying Hera from the corner of his eyes, he nudged fair Ganymede and issued
a few sighs.
"Who is this Maiden you openly try to seduce? You only curse those you woo!
Two attempts have I heard, luckily failed. Now her very bowels I shall travail!"
"Shush dear Queen. It's only respite from the monotony. The girl drives a truck
with a gun-rack. She's a hillbilly! A match to you? No! A mere dalliance."
"Two attempts you fool! Once as a Rat, the next, a mouse! Once more and I'll
have Hephaestus geld you!"
"Hold thy threats and know your place! It may be different down there, but here,
nothing's changed!"
And Zeus' threat hit home and Hera began to blubber. Nothing changed, not even
Hera's hard heart.

The Gods were stuck between boredom and bemusement. Apollo ruled the Mount
with his son Aesculapius. Ambrosia, after so many years, tasted flat, gave no mirth.
Pill-time was the rage. Ganymede and Hebe pushed the cart at 6 hour intervals.
Zeus took Xanax. Hera,Paxil. Hermes was off on a cloud doing Crystal Meth. Ares,
after Aeons of War, was morbidly obese, took Lipitor and desired a Gastric By-Pass.
Aphrodite, his wife, had Chlamydia and wanted her breasts augmented.

In short Olympus, by dint of years of mortals' oblivion, had went neurotic
and became a clinic. Yearning for times when they actually mattered, they now
were nostalgic voyeurs, watching Reality TV and reading the Papers. Men had reached
the moon and made a pill to make them more virile. Why call upon the Gods' when they
did all by their own mettle? This deepened their sadness and they acted like parents
who have lost their children.

They had become myths for skinny pedants to argue over. Heroes and fair
maidens no longer vied for their favor. No fatted calf on the spit roasted for them.
Steaks, hamburgers and hot-dogs were insults.

So fortune and misfortune came from them as from a Lottery. They were careless,
fickle, yet still had the power of Deities.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Golden Hand

"Close your eyes to divine Nature." 


Open your eyes 
and the mystery flies 
You cheat every 
could have been. 

At the doorstep 
two Cherubim await, 
but it's not time..... 

Shake off the skin 
of a terrible year 
Leave dust and fear 
to oblivion. 

Let time's sweet sweep,  
the golden hand, cover eyes 
and delight with new possibility.