Afternoon, now, is not disappointing me. The air, warm but not oppressive, smells not only of the drying grasses of midsummer, but also carries intermittently a tangy/sweet fragrance from some flower I'm unable to identify. In addition, there is a stream of soft chirping from young birds, and a softer rustling of the sun-brightened mulberry leaves which flicker like a canopy of green fire just outside my window. Hopping from branch to branch is an acorn woodpecker who pecks lazily at the bark. The sky above is limpid blue, and even the haze to the south and west is far less dense than it has lately been. It's as perfect a day as summer days can get in these parts.
Time to cook something.
Oh, it's that time of year again for the crowning with laurel of the nation's official poet. Last week I posted something from the new guy, so this week I'll post a farewell for the old guy, since he will now be washed-up, a has-been with no friends, never to be heard from again, and I feel momentarily sorry for him:
To a Waterfowl
by Donald Hall
Women with hats like the rear ends of pink ducks
applauded you, my poems.
These are the women whose husbands I meet on airplanes,
who close their briefcases and ask, "What are you in?"
I look in their eyes, I tell them I am in poetry,
and their eyes fill with anxiety, and with little tears.
"Oh, yeah?" they say, developing an interest in clouds.
"My wife, she likes that sort of thing? Hah-hah?
I guess maybe I'd better watch my grammar, huh?"
I leave them in airports, watching their grammar,
and take a limousine to the Women's Goodness Club
where I drink Harvey's Bristol Cream with their wives,
and eat chicken salad with capers, with little tomato wedges,
and I read them "The Erotic Crocodile," and "Eating You."
Ah, when I have concluded the disbursement of sonorities,
crooning, "High on thy thigh I cry, Hi!" - and so forth -
they spank their wide hands, they smile like Jell-O,
and they say, "Hah-hah? My goodness, Mr. Hall,
but you certainly do have an imagination, huh?"
"Thank you, indeed," I say; "it brings in the bacon."
But now, my poems, now I have returned to the motel,
returned to l'eternel retour of the Holiday Inn,
naked, lying on the bed, watching Godzilla Sucks Mt. Fuji,
addressing my poems, feeling superior, and drinking bourbon
from a flask disguised to look like a transistor radio.
And what about you? You, laughing? You, in the bluejeans,
laughing at your mother who wears hats, and at your father
who rides on airplanes with a briefcase watching his grammar?
Will you ever be old and dumb, like your creepy parents?
Not you, not you, not you, not you, not you, not you.