On Valentine’s

NOTE TO READERS: Here it is again: the famous Valentine Vic wrote and sent through the Darton College campus to the female faculty and staff, an act then-VP Joseph Kirkland termed “sexual harassment.” Vic’s lawyer condescendingly defined the term so Kirkland and President Peter Sireno had to contend themselves with a letter of reprimand for Vic’s records and the later dismissal of his division chair for not siding with key staff against faculty no matter how illegal or ludicrous the charges. So here it is again and so it shall be sent every Feb. 14 until his death and (according to the provisions of his will) in perpetuity by his heirs and descendents with this preface: ” A condition of my spiritual redemption mandates perpetual and public forgiveness to trespassors against me, in this case Peter Sireno and Jospeh Kirkland, who accused me falsely of “sexual harassment.” If you are easily harassed sexually, don’t read it.”

On Valentine’s the birds do choose their mates.

The hawks in flight and sparrows on the ground

Stop hunting prey and hopping all around.

They couple up, and then they copulate

 In feathered frenzy squawking all along.

And then some roost in trees, some merely sit

Upon the heads of statues where they shit.

Some sort of whistle, or they sing a song.

One thing is true of every kind of fowl:

Those of feather do together flock.

The buzzard never makes it with the cock.

The raven never climbs upon an owl.

 The heron does not stoop to hump the quail,

And lovebirds only nestle in a pair

with other lovebirds. The world never dare

to mount a peacock’s multi-colored tail.

 

You never see a bluebird mount a jay,

and chickadees don’t dittle mockingbirds,

but I could waste a hundred thousand words

and still not tell you what I have to say

 about the birds and all that they don’t do.

They do enough of interest, to be sure,

although they keep their pedigrees quite pure.

To illustrate, I will describe a few:

 

Male ostriches jump on their partner’s back.

Her head is stuck securely in the sand,

and eagles daily high above the land.

The duck has his orgasm with a quack!

 

The penguins pass the long mid-winter’s night

with lots and lots of sub-Antarctic vice.

They hunker down and do it on the ice

because they were denied the gift of flight

 and can’t fly off to Florida to mate.

Despite the cold the females are not frigid,

and little feathered penises get rigid

when February 14 is the date.

 

The vulture mixes dalliance with death.

His boudoir is the rib cage of a horse.

When buzzards have imbibed the final course,

they huddle up and coo with rancid breath.

And then there is the cuckoo, we are told,

that lays its eggs into another’s nest,

and foster parenthood is then impressed.

The bird that’s wronged is labeled the cuckold.

 

Some feathered fornicators mate in flight.

At least they come together in the air.

Then they become a quickly falling pair

with ruffled feathers, squawking with delight.

 They roll their soaring passion in a ball

but wisely keep an eye upon the ground

as they, inflamed in lust, come hurling down

while yodeling in joy their mating call.

 A carefree couple high above the stone

— two eagles, say, or falcons, even hawks —

may quite forget themselves in their sweet squawks

and break their feathered asses and their bones.

 

For birds that do their mating in the skies,

it’s best to prematurely ‘jaculate,

for they will both be wasted if they wait.

Coitus interruptus is advised.

The robin in his russet feathered breast

will strut his stuff upon the frosty ground,

while horny maiden robins gather round

deciding which cock robin they like best

And after that decision has been made

they gang-bang him round-robin near to death

until he’s long of tongue and short of breathand cured of any notion to get laid.

 

The female hummingbird receives a thrill

so quick it is a singular sensation

that’s put to her as one high-speed vibration.

She might as well sit on a dentist drill

 as let that high-tech hummer have his way —

he hits and runs and ravishes so fast

she feels a subtle tingle in her ass,

and that is all. I’m sure she could say

 for sure if she’d been diddled by a beau

or felt alone an airy premonition.

He never bothers with a proposition,

but if he’s good, she’ll ask “Which way’d he go?”

 

Well, people, too, when they are so inclined,

will come in season when the sap is down

in February, and they’ll choose their mates

and call them Valentines,

 whom the will hop upon with birdlike glee

and warble, whistle, whip-poor-will, or screech

when one is tow and half of all is each.

They may climb up and do it in a tree

or in a hammock swinging from its limbs,

in airplane restrooms high above the earth.

In caves they’ll fornicate for all they’re worth

or in the church’s vestry during hymns.

 

The human couples, like the owl or loon,

in cloistered darkness or in broad daylight

will come together morning, noon, and night

upon the water or beneath the moon.

 They’ll stretch their loves spread-eagle on the grass

or couple in the backseat of a car.

It doesn’t really matter where they are.

The body’s mobile when the mind’s on ass.

 

But now this Valentine is getting long.

And high time that I practiced what I preach

and hoping that my grasp exceeds my reach,

I’ll tell you why I up and wrote this song:

 I have admired your beauty from a-far

and now would like to have a closer look,

at all your crannies, valleys, hills, and nooks –

the stuff that makes you beauty that you are,

 

So if you’ll sacrifice a little time,

we’ll put our knees together for a chat,

and we’ll exchange our kisses tit for tat,

and you can then become my valentine.

 

Oh, I’ll provide the tats. You bring the other,

and we can dally well into the night

until the morning planet sends her light

to charm you wits. Then you will be my lover.

We’ll join up with the eagle and the dove,

of Mars and Venus, mom and dad of Cupid,

who (everybody knows that isn’t stupid)

can shoot a hypodermic dart of love

 

That will unite us solely; that’s a fact.

He can inflame man, woman, beast or birds.

Then you and I will make, in Shakespeare’s words,

the legendary “beast that has two backs.”

 

 

Ode to General Jane, Patron of the Arts

by
O. Vic Miller

My muse and me, we sing of little Gen’rl Jane,
Who asked politely that a symphony be sane
Or fair. Or failing that, at least to keep their promises.
Instead of crawfishing retroactively from what they said.
That’s Willson with two L’s, whom we applaud.
Oh happy hour when our heroine withdrawed
her patronage (also her money)
from those who’d squander it to silly sanctimony.

For my own part, I speak with some authority–
Not as the vanguard of the finer arts–
But rather holding up the hinder parts
of her. And I’ve been born again,
and more than once. I’m therefore free of sin,
Thus my muse and I have rose back up
from infamy to judge the dead and quick–
We’re clearly qualified to say who plays our music–
And furthermore, my fortune, age, and waxing impotence
Endow me with a higher moral sense
Than thou all’s. I’m also blessed with a healthy dose of Christian poverty,
Which is to say, I ain’t a commie yet, though lacking fiscal sovereignty.
And I’ve been judged by meatheads for my rhymes,
Condemned to reprobation for sending Valentines
To academes and moralists whose finest hour
is chunking stones from crystal palaces and ivory tower.

Alas, my tux has got too tight for me to don it;
One foot’s too swole with gout to lace a black shoe on it;
My shotgun’s made me deaf as Ludwig Von,
So for symphony I stay home and turn the TV on
and watch the Fox up yonder lashing his baton,
and I’m uplifted some, so here is where I think I’m coming from:
The libido that oozes from the id
can boil up too much pressure if we seal the lid
And make no sweat to sublimate it–
The faintest spark is all it takes to detonate it.
Therefore I’d have our precious arts distilled from better sludge
Than ferments in the brainpans of the dolts who’d judge
an artist, not his work.

There’s no excuse
for all this reprobation and abuse.
Our patronage, such as it is, should be a friend
of artists too– enable and defend ‘em.
Cut them some slack, enable them to do
the work their higher powers call them to.
I say they love not art
Who fail to take the artists’ part,
In making sure he’s happy, free, and fed.
Then you may hear a music that you touched your finger to,
Instead of minor poets flipping one at you.

I’d like to know who thinks the Pope don’t have his toddy.
Or that a human soul don’t have a body.
Who thinks an artist also is a prude
Or says a painter’s model can’t be nude?
Who’d emphasize peccadilloes Toscanini had
Even if his energy be inspired from being bad?
Art comes from fallen saints and resurrected imps,
while prudish judgment rises rigid from a libido that’s limp.
Love’s kin to lust, as beauty’s kin to truth, or maids to whores,
Eros, agape, hypocrites to liars, who say the things that make untrue
the things they said before.

I say a piper’s got to have a lot of fun,
By God, enough to play and dance for everyone.
The sweetest honey’s made from sourest wood,
So if you’d bray that geniuses be good,
Make sure your doltish virtue’s ample
To act it out for those who might improve by your example.
I never saw a saint could write a sonnet
(Though clerics seek a masterpiece to paint some fig leaves on it)

Minstrels are beloved for their songs,
So “If music be the food of love, play on.”
That’s what the Bard, my muse, and me would like to say.
It ain’t nobody’s business who don’t play
a piccolo or xylophone or flute.
So if you got a horn, go toot it
And let the artless Philistines harass,
Who best deserve the jawbone of an ass
upside a head whose brains will never fetch
forth a ditty, doodle, limerick or sketch,
but quick to launch their asses off their haunches
to censure music men before their tunes.
Our arts community should wiggle free of such buffoonery.

I know the libido that oozes from the id
Will build up too much pressure if I seal the lid.
I gotta act temptations out or sublimate ’em.
Or the dimmest spark will ember up to detonate’em.
It’s clear no muse nor deity can budge
Until some saint or sinner stirs the sludge
To dredge up imps and angels from the bottom.
So flaunt your morals elsewhere if you got ‘em.
And let the music blast and patrons dance,
affected critics manage their own pants,
suppressing the appendages inside
their zippers and master their own demons ere they chide.

Humanities will prosper only when
Her acolytes are human, not exempt of sin.
Therefore I say an artist’s got to have some fun
So he can play and dance for everyone.
And everybody knows whose head is on the level,
Best music comes from dancing with the devil.
The sculptress has to fondle human clay
Before she renders marble into flesh
Of Virgin, pieta or odalisque.
Fra Lippo Lippi must’ve known of Aphrodite’s heat
To paint the blush that glows upon his shameless little Virgin’s cheek
In luminescence from the holy fire inside her womb.
Just think of all the bacchanals– the orgies on sarcophagi and tombs
depicted in Italian churches by Michelangelo an ‘em
With gods and satyrs, pans and cherubim
In pagan pageantries of writhing sin.
Hey Ho! hooray, well done, you rascal, and Amen.

Let censors bitch, and balder dashers quibble.
Let painters paint and flutist toot and poets scribble.
The maestro waves his magic wand
And pipers play. I say we ought to pay them for their songs,
And let impious censors sing along.

Who’d raise a moral stink, well, let ‘em do it
From a pew while choirs sing to Jesus, who
Cherished more the content of our hearts than what we mortals do.
And if the scripture’s true, we should derive from it
That Jesus spent more love on whores than hypocrites.

Who’d have the arts subdued by ceremony’s pomp
And circumstance? When happy lovers dance and stomp
In joy to tunes divine and yodel songs,
While all you prudish judges stay at home
Lest undigested piety turn flatulent and make you sick.
I say, rear back, kick up, cool out, enjoy the music!

While covens, corporations, Klans or boards
Hide cowardice collectively. But , oh my Lord,
Our Joy– that source of light immortal–
Transcends the desultory suspiration of the soul
into the meaty fingers weaving leaden straw into the golden
Tapestry of life and the resounding yes of new creation–
The hope beneath the no of spiritual stagnation.

He best loves God who sings life’s praise,
Through all his naughty nights, and brilliant days
Against the braying out of tune medieval laws
That emphasize the weakness of the flesh and human flaws.
The soul loves music flying wild and free
Unbound by tedious stocks of self-proclaiming piety.

Now my own muse ( I honestly confess this)
Is far more lewd than fair.
She rides in on a goat with rhinestones in her hair,
naked as a chicken, but she’d rather see me die
Than languish in a jaundiced public eye,
Brow beaten, viewed askance and harassed
By philistines better served by the jawbone of an ass
upside a head whose brains will never fetch
forth a ditty, doodle, limerick or sketch.
And if a painter’s better angels don’t take over,
Well, his model’s nude and prone beneath the cover.
The masterpiece can wait—I say, lets close the arras tight and turn her over.

Art’s made of soul stirred out of tempted meat.
Without temptation composers can’t create.
So if a rascal slips, we help him up, and bring him home to wash his feet
Of clay, then kill a fatted calf for him to eat,
So he, encouraged, brings to fruit the things self-righteous prudes can’t do.

So, General Jane, this doggerel’s for you,
I know you’d rather that I hadn’t wrote it.
We know self-rightous patrons of the town won’t quote it,
Still the pearl in all this oyster’s simply this:
You gotta have a little hubris
To know your faults and make a better music.
We gotta climb Fools’ Hill and fall back down a time or two
To pipe a universal yes to life and love –creation ever new.
Let’s leave it to the Pope to winnow right from wrong,
For life’s very short and Art is long.
So let the trumpets bray to beat the band with drum and xylophone,
And damn judgmental judges till the Judgment comes
to usher them below to darker shades,
where all the best and hottest music’s made.
And so–Hey ho!– My muse is telling me it’s time to go.
She bids farewell, so with her flourish I shall hit the road.
Goodbye, dear readers. Bless y’all. Adios!
And may you find our mundane musings apropos.
(end)

Happy Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s the birds do choose their mates.
The hawks in flight and sparrows on the ground
Stop hunting prey and hopping all around.
They couple up, and then they copulate

In feathered frenzy squawking all along.
And then some roost in trees, some merely sit
Upon the heads of statues where they shit.
Some sort of whistle, or they sing a song.
One thing is true of every kind of fowl:
Those of feather do together flock.
The buzzard never makes it with the cock.
The raven never climbs upon an owl.

The heron does not stoop to hump the quail,
And lovebirds only nestle in a pair
with other lovebirds. The world never dare
to mount a peacock’s multi-colored tail.

You never see a bluebird mount a jay,
and chickadees don’t dittle mockingbirds,
but I could waste a hundred thousand words
and still not tell you what I have to say

about the birds and all that they don’t do.
They do enough of interest, to be sure,
although they keep their pedigrees quite pure.
To illustrate, I will describe a few:

Male ostriches jump on their partner’s back.
Her head is stuck securely in the sand,
and eagles daily high above the land.
The duck has his orgasm with a quack!

The penguins pass the long mid-winter’s night
with lots and lots of sub-Antarctic vice.
They hunker down and do it on the ice
because they were denied the gift of flight

and can’t fly off to Florida to mate.
Despite the cold the females are not frigid,
and little feathered penises get rigid
when February 14 is the date.

The vulture mixes dalliance with death.
His boudoir is the rib cage of a horse.
When buzzards have imbibed the final course,
they huddle up and coo with rancid breath.

And then there is the cuckoo, we are told,
that lays its eggs into another’s nest,
and foster parenthood is then impressed.
The bird that’s wronged is labeled the cuckold.

Some feathered fornicators mate in flight.
At least they come together in the air.
Then they become a quickly falling pair
with ruffled feathers, squawking with delight.

They roll their soaring passion in a ball
but wisely keep an eye upon the ground
as they, inflamed in lust, come hurling down
while yodeling in joy their mating call.

A carefree couple high above the stone
— two eagles, say, or falcons, even hawks —
may quite forget themselves in their sweet squawks
and break their feathered asses and their bones.

For birds that do their mating in the skies,
it’s best to prematurely ‘jaculate,
for they will both be wasted if they wait.
Coitus interruptus is advised.
The robin in his russet feathered breast
will strut his stuff upon the frosty ground,
while horny maiden robins gather round
deciding which cock robin they like best

And after that decision has been made
they gang-bang him round-robin near to death
until he’s long of tongue and short of breath
and cured of any notion to get laid.

The female hummingbird receives a thrill
so quick it is a singular sensation
that’s put to her as one high-speed vibration.
She might as well sit on a dentist drill

as let that high-tech hummer have his way —
he hits and runs and ravishes so fast
she feels a subtle tingle in her ass,
and that is all. I’m sure she could say

for sure if she’d been diddled by a beau
or felt alone an airy premonition.
He never bothers with a proposition,
but if he’s good, she’ll ask “Which way’d he go?”
Well, people, too, when they are so inclined,
will come in season when the sap is down
in February, and they’ll choose their mates and call them Valentines,

whom the will hop upon with birdlike glee
and warble, whistle, whip-poor-will, or screech
when one is tow and half of all is each.
They may climb up and do it in a tree

or in a hammock swinging from its limbs,
in airplane restrooms high above the earth.
In caves they’ll fornicate for all they’re worth
or in the church’s vestry during hymns.

The human couples, like the owl or loon,
in cloistered darkness or in broad daylight
will come together morning, noon, and night
upon the water or beneath the moon.

They’ll stretch their loves spread-eagle on the grass
or couple in the backseat of a car.
It doesn’t really matter where they are.
The body’s mobile when the mind’s on ass.

But now this Valentine is getting long.
And high time that I practiced what I preach
and hoping that my grasp exceeds my reach,
I’ll tell you why I up and wrote this song:

I have admired your beauty from a-far
and now would like to have a closer look,
at all your crannies, valleys, hills, and nooks –
the stuff that makes you beauty that you are,

So if you’ll sacrifice a little time,
we’ll put our knees together for a chat,
and we’ll exchange our kisses tit for tat,
and you can then become my valentine.

Oh, I’ll provide the tats. You bring the other,
and we can dally well into the night
until the morning planet sends her light
to charm you wits. Then you will be my lover.
We’ll join up with the eagle and the dove,
of Mars and Venus, mom and dad of Cupid,
who (everybody knows that isn’t stupid)
can shoot a hypodermic dart of love

That will unite us solely; that’s a fact.
He can inflame man, woman, beast or birds.
Then you and I will make, in Shakespeare’s words,
the legendary “beast that has two backs.”

Rhetoric Flambe

Even assholes
ought to see
it’s words we shout
…that makes us free,
so stifle sticks,
condem the stones,
but leave our fucking
speech alone!

The Last Christmas

The Last Christmas
Season’s greetings
From:
O. Vic Miller

T’was right before Christmas & Ms. Santa Clause
was shrewishly numbering her husband’s flaws:
“You lecherous, drunken, degenerate slob,
Your manners and humor is rough as a cob.
You snore like a donkey and smell like a goat.
The bank, it won’t honor the check I just wrote.
You burp, and you snore halitosis like sump.
You’re never romantic, you overweight lump.”

As NASCAR engines run best when they’re hot,
she ran down the wherefores, ascending whatnots.

Then flexing her mandibles, spreading her neck,
she jettisoned dentures to lay it on thick.
She warmed up her mastoids and started to nag–
from on the toenail clippings she’d found in the shag
to the sorry-ass redbone asleep on the mat,
from his stinking cigars to the bells on his hat.

“The cap’s off the toothpaste! The lawn ain’t been mowed!”
“My dear,” he informed her, “it’s under the snow…”
“Don’t backtalk, you lardass, or offer excuses.
I’ve had it to here with your spousal abuses.”
And drawing her finger beneath her thick chin,
she offered the gesture of doing him in.
(Oh, vain to imagine how wedlock can worsen
when spouses start threatening damage to person!)
“The elf that I married was nothing like you.
My youth has been wasted, my mother’s dreams too,
on a drunk who don’t labor but one day a year
with a face like a roadmap from sucking up beer
and chasing a coonhound as sorry as him
Through snowdrifts and snowstorms and ice-lacy glen
With no passing care for the wife you left home
Until you get hungry, shitfaced or stoned
With never a whisper of sweetness or care
For the sweet natured bride you left languishing here.

You pig out the den while you’re watching TV.
You’re never considerate! What about me?”
She blamed him for peanuts she’d found in the sofa.
She called him misogynist, chauvinist, loafer.
She scaled down one tirade then flew up another.
She threatened attorneys and calling her mother.
She raged, filibustered, she screamed and she wept.
She swore that she’d scald him with grits when he slept.

Nick knew she’d exhausted what patience she had.
Deciding to vacate before she got mad,
He feigned a front exit, then dash out the back,
the hound right behind him, his tail in his crack.
Nick’s sleigh was all packed so he harnessed his deer.
She screamed, “Go ahead! Get the hell out of here.
Go visit your cronies, your potheads and slatterns,
continue to follow dysfunctional patterns.
But after tonight you can live in your socks,
Cause I’m burning your clothes and I’m changing the locks!”

“Ho, ho, Sugar booger,” I bet you forgot
tomorrow is Christmas. You know that I’ve got
to be off on my mission distributing toys
for all the exemplary girlies and boys.”

“You can bet I don’t care if you fly straight to hell.”
He waved and departed and cried out “Noel!”
But exclaimed to the hound as he drove out of sight:
“I’m marking the milestone– my last Christmas flight.
It’s Christmas two-thousand and time to retire.
The Shriners can have it. I’m down to the wire.
My ride’s obsolescent, my piles are aflame.
The Salvation Army has cheapened my name.
The census has tripled, I can’t get around.
The prefabs have chimneys too small to go down.
The children can purchase their toys on the Net.
The sky is congested with corporate jets
and smog that is thick as the down on a thistle.
and I live in sheer terror of ground-to-air missiles,
Spud warheads and tomahawks fretting the sky
It’s quickly becoming too dangerous to fly.
I don’t trust the Arabs; I’m scared of the Jews.
My wife is hormonal with empty nest blues.
The reindeers are skittish, in estrus or rut.
They mount one another while we are in route.
For the rest of my days I expect to live single,
or the name on my pension ain’t Christopher Kringle.”

Nick beat it to Patrick’s, a pub, to unload
and toss down an eggnog or three for the road.
Where drunkards sing carols with voices like bleats
as they clap with their hands and they stomp with their feet.
(Whenever Dame Claus got to calling him there.
Old Patrick would tell her, “Naw, Santa ain’t here.”)
He stood a few rounds and he told a few lies,
and soon he was snockered and ready to fly.
He fondled the bar maid, a minx named Yvonne,
then tipped her a fifty when he had to run.
“You ain’t in condition for driving on ice.
Let’s cull out from my place who’s naughty and nice;
We can Fed-ex the gifts to arrive in one day.”

But no one absconded the keys to his sleigh.
He ordered a go-cup of nog without egg
and lurched up to fetch it on rubbery legs.
His eyes didn’t focus, his reflexes slow.
His boots printed staggering tracks in the snow
to the eight tiny deers who was pawing with fright,
with eyeballs wide open to three quarters white.
What spooked them to panic is anyone’s guess,
but Santa approached them without much finesse.
He snatched at the harness, addressing the sled.
He stepped on the runners and swung up a leg,
but before he was seated, the reindeers went nuts,
got to twitching the tails on the top of their butts.
First Rudolph went postal, he snorted and blew.
Then Cupid and Blitzen became stressful too.
They bolted in harness, then farted and reared,
Hurtled the traces and whip-lashed the sled,
which skidded on slush before spinning around
in the path of a beer truck arriving in town.
The driver careened and he ran off the road,
rolling the beer-truck, and spewing the load,
thus launching the redbone into howling flight
to shatter the silence of this holy night.

The kegs blew their bung stops, commencing to spew
in a geyser of foam and some beverage too.
There was bitter and pilsner and lager and bock,
and they flooded the pavement for one city block
with beer that was marbled with by deer dung and blood.
The drunks congregated to drink them up some
Of the booze (not the deer shit) where the tankards had run.
The sheriff arrived and the ambulance came
With lawyers to litigate damage and blame,
a fire truck, a Krishna, a nun preaching hell,
a Salvation Santa Clause ringing his bell,
MADD mamas, pro lifers, and one skinny girl
announcing in Yiddish the end of the world.

So deep from the wreckage they drug St. Nick out
of the beer and the deer and the ale and the stout.
He was sloshed from his boots to the hat on his head[
If he hadn’t been plastered, he would’ve been dead.
He was soggy with beer from his head to his toes.
His buddies was worried their pal would get froze,
so they called up a taxi to take Santa home.
and he got there at sunrise on Christmas day morn.

No lamps, not a candle or taper, was lit.
He discovered his key to the door didn’t fit.
But Santa was freezing and they couldn’t stop,
so high to the rooftop they boosted him up.
He crawled across shingles as quiet as a mouse
to breach his traditional way into houses.
But he crashed through the flute and rolled out on the rug.
Then crawled to the bathroom to hurl in the tub.
He retched and he heaved and he coughed and he spat
till his face was as pale as the fur on his hat.
Then laying his cheek on the cool of the tile,
he snored and he snorted and slept for a while.

But who to his piteous sighs should arrive,
but an irate Miz. Clause set to eat him alive?
Her hair was in curlers, her face was a fright,
a Halloween nightmare on Christmas Eve night.
A terry cloth robe that her mother had gave her,
she wore it wide open, broadcasting her gender.
She shuffled in slippers of pink rabbit fur,
and Santa was mortally frightened of her.
Her eyes were like brimstones, her lips thick as liver.
Like Jell-O or clabber, her jowls were aquiver.
Her slander was pelting her husband like rain.
Her nostrils flared open exposing her brain.
She kicked him and tattooed his skull with her brush.
She stomped on his fingers and called him a lush,
But he “hey, ho, ho-ed” as he rolled on the floor,
which angered his bloodthirsty bride even more.
Well, the jolly old martyr of spousal abuse
was begging no quarter and made no excuses,
in spite of his wife, who still ranted and hissed
like a hellcat embroiled in a menopause fit.
Nick summonsed his helpers to gather post haste
to hear the important announcement he’d make.
The elves gathered ‘round like a road crew on Sunday,
attracted to carnage as Theodore Bundy,
but nothing can’t humble a drunk who’s retired.
Chris cackled and shouted, “You bastards are fired!
I’m bound and determined to start a new life
without the encumber of workers or wives!

For the first time in decades, Fra Clause shut her mouth
to marvel the stranger who’d broke in her house.
His eyes was a-twinkle though swole black and blue.
The grin through his whiskers was puzzling too,
as the haggard old gentleman rose to his feet,
and, clearing his throat, he commenced with this speech:

“For two thousand years I’ve been making this run.
My mission is up, the millennia’s done.
My heart is arrhythmic, my blood pressure’s up.
By God, I’ve decided enough is enough.
My last Christmas carol is finished and sung.
I’m through cleaning boot heels of ungulate dung.
I’ve heard till I’m crazy ‘The Nutcracker Suite’.
My coon hound has perished. I’m dead on my feet.
My children are thankless; my wife has got old;
my dentures won’t seal and my prostate is swole.
My bladder is leaky; my bowels are loose;
these long winter evenings are cooking my goose.
My sled has been totaled; my reindeers are dead.
I can’t wear my hat for the knots on my head.

But I’ve finally concluded that naughty IS nice–
that virtue’s rewards ain’t got nothing on vice,
so effective right now, I’m retiring my number,
to bed down Yvonne for a long winter’s slumber.
Y’all can pick up your paychecks and call them your last,
‘Cause I’m finished, RETIRED! Y’all can kiss my fat ass!”

Merry Christmas!
ovm

Resurrection

I

When mortal thoughts intrude to make me sad
I think of all the fun I’ve had
in life and get to wanting more.
It’s then I drop my ass down to the floor
stone dead. I writhe and wind and coil
like rattlesnakes in turpentine or boiling oil,
and then I go to sloughing off my sins
till I can jump flatfooted up, reborn again.

II

New amniotic juices flush
The cloudy scales from rheumy eyes,
and I can’t hush condemning my old ways,
until I’m born into the blinding light and realize
debauchery and joy have sweetened my best days
and even made me the little what I am of wise,
which is to say not innocent and dumb,
and so I wrap my mouth around my thumb
and drop down dead again
to resurrect my former love of sinning
and start out one more time from the beginning.

In Memory of Lt. Col. Frank F. Hutto, USAF Reserves

(For Linda Hutto)

 Your cousin

and I flew a Cessna to Eglin

to visit your brave wife and children

and found them surrounded

by women who gather late

together waiting

when a fighter pilot’s lost or down.

The night you ditched

somewhere off the Key Largo

in shallow ocean

and your sergeant found

your laughter in the fog,

you-crazy-son-of-a-bitch,

those women were around.

They came

when you ejected

over desert

and the choppers found your parachute,

and you in a yellow raft

floating on sand.

the same wives gathered.

Busy maternity wives,

infected with hope

while you screeched

through mountains that rise

from the South China Sea.

Hope out of habit

tempered in the ripped

thick darkness

of Viet Nam nights.

            II.

We leave the church at Shalimar,

the tan blond undertaker,

in despicable health, orchestrating,

arranging the sluggish formation

that follows to your grave:

Your wild-ass warrior friends

mellowed and sober, mute,

seasoned, debriefed, tamed

into civilian suits,

strapped into Chevrolets.

Those who learned to love you best,

the college friends

bound by middle age among the living,

your brother, your sister.

And your mother,

alone in grief that nature did not groom her for—

the death of sons.

Your wife, your son, your daughter

grappled to absent flesh,

and the crab scuttles back to the forth house.

            III.

We huddle in the August heat

around a flag-draped corpse

while adolescent corpsmen

stand in rank

to tap the drums

and raise the guns

to fire their muffled blanks.

After taps,

authenticated by the one bad note,

and after the pop-guns fired

and after the flyover

when the jets screamed,

teasing the barriers of sound,

howling…it seemed…

and after they buzzed again,

after the planes were gone,

after the minister mumbled

on and on…

…high above us, high above the cemetery lawn,

riding the updrafts and currents where

the airs of the land and sea collide,

an osprey sailed

higher than the ceremonial jets had flown,

a swept-wing, square-tailed silhouette alone

that frolicked through capricious, saline breezes

from the sea with aquiline felicity.

            And some said:

“There’s Frank, hot-shotting

now he’s got his wings.”

            When death’s around,

We say the damndest things.

            IV.

Returning home from burying you,

lone engine droning,

we feel like fledglings,

trespassing air space,

yours, if anyone has the claim of love on air,

here where the wrinkled gulf

gnaws the land’s edge – a wafer, thin and gray,

the color of your dying face.

We skirt weather that a jet would shatter,

the intermarried shroud

of wind and rain together

in the towering cumulus cloud.

            V.

We mourn

cheerfully where we are

and pray you will be borne

higher than ether,

mixing molecules with freckled stars.