IN PRAISE OF THE STILL UNWEIGHED: off the Record at Eighty.

…………………GRAVITY’S RAINBOW:
……………………….Sunday in the park with Sir Stanley

……………………….O rejoice in the women,
……………………….and the white perfect ducks
……………………….with their fashionable heads in the mud,
……………………….how they tether themselves down
……………………….with pegs in the ground
……………………….so they won’t float up in the air,
……………………….the feathery dry air that is brighter than gold
……………………….but stays unredeemed on the shelf.

……………………….For those ducks like the women
……………………….turn weight upside down
……………………….by the water on Sunday to stay down,
……………………….not to be better, or up nearer the sun —
……………………….like buskers, fine philharmonic
……………………….conductors, preachers, teachers,
……………………….invalids in chariots, toddlers and clowns,
……………………….all creatures with sweet little flippers that tickle the air,
……………………….as pliant as play-dough or beeswax,
……………………….useless as paperweight slippers,
……………………….ballast for butterflies, barbells for kittens —
……………………….perfect as the lead in the magician’s tight furnace
……………………….or the sticky brown muck in God’s oven.

……………………….“O the big wide basket of my body,”
……………………….the duck woman cries,
……………………….“O the piles of starched linen, the fillips,
……………………….the white cotton aprons and tea-towels
……………………….folded so nicely in my trembling arms,
……………………….down on my knees by the pool!

……………………….“Take this fine little turn-up,
……………………….for example,” she says,
……………………….“do you see how it’s paddled and done?
……………………….“The masterful curl at the end of the tail,
……………………….how the bottom turns upward as if at a ball,
……………………….the crinoline, the petticoats,
……………………….the old-fashioned drawers that kick highest of all —
……………………….and O how they flutter with each do-si-do,
……………………….and how the heart goes — can’t you feel it?
……………………….And aren’t it worth the applause?”

………………………. “Come on in then, come on in!”
……………………….the duck-caller cries,
……………………….and when she comes in on his arm
……………………….to waddle like a lover on the velvety floor
……………………….or soon to be mother,
……………………….which is very good too,
……………………….how he dips by the water for a nod or a snooze
……………………….any day in the park, old poet by the pool —
……………………….takes his nap on a folding green chair and the paper,
……………………….a moist royal nap amongst women,
……………………….head-over-heels in God’s pool.

……………………………………….from GALILEO’S SECRET: Two Decades
………………………………………………….of poems under House Arrest.
…………

AD HOC
This poem has a whole bibliography just waiting to be discovered by some ardent young academic a few years after my death. “And the guy never got published,” he may recount breathlessly to his friends over his latte at Starbucks. “So nobody’s ever done him!”

For a bit more on what’s to be done, this off-the-record discussion continues in the comments below — and needless to say, anybody is welcome to join in.

Christopher

[The discussion continues in the Comments.]