Tuesday, October 25, 2011


 My Dad placed great store in his wingtip  brogues.
Paid a weekly quarter for the shine on those brogues.

Thin laces, rounded with wax, tied in  firm bows,
Cordovan, rich brown, the sheen on those brogues!

Silk socks, stretched tight in corpulent rows
Above lacey leather holes in the patterned brogues.

So many feet standing firmly  where good beer flows
Men who treasure the cut and last of their fine brogues.

 Almost a secret society whose handshake no one knows
These men who prefer the intricate design in their brogues.

What an outrage--the turns the fashion runway shows
When the dignity of design is stolen for women’s brogues.

Monday, October 10, 2011


It's all his fault!  Had Parmentier                           
not taught Europeans to eat potatoes                   
American teenagers wouldn't be fat.                     
They'd still be slender as snakes                           
slithering through dew-dawn grass          
to drink at  favorite watering holes.                                               
The Prussians played their part in this black hole
in American experience. When Parmentier,
was captured  among the leaves of grass
of the Seven Years War, he was fed potatoes,
the fare the French fed their hogs, snakes
tempting their porkers to market fat.

That captive never forgot the fat
that saved him in the dark prison hole,
not even when clerics raised their snake-like
heads and denied  the pharmacist Parmentier
the right to garden potatoes
among  his other vegetative grasses.

As inevitable as the persistent grass,
the French caught on and voted the fatty
tuber edible. Ben Franklin even ate potatoes
as the guest of this mad scientist with a holy
obsession.  Wishing to convince, Parmentier
lured luminaries far and wide, snaking

his beguiling dishes into banquet halls,  snaking
his theories into mass production.  Like the grass
that sustains herds of  cattle, Parmentier's
efforts put fat
on famine-starved ribs, filled the holes
of 18th century stomachs with les pommes de terre.

Mashed and baked, salads and soups, his potatoes
left the table of necessity to swim in vats of grease, snakes
made crispy over flaming holes
withering Whitman's grass,
adding pounds of fat
never envisioned in the dreams of Parmentier.

Now, American culture is holy super-sized on French fried potatoes.
Wouldn't  Parmentier be surprised to know that he became the snake
in the grass duping a generation to fatten likes hogs for the slaughter?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Straws of a New Order

What’s the purpose of a scarecrow
in a cucumber patch?  Does it provide
the young cucs a secure environment
to grow in cucdom?  Does it provide the crows
a centering purpose for their lives? An idol
to worship?  A place to gather, to rest their claws
before descending for the kill?  Do they hang
out boasting of the cucumbers they’ve seen,
the delicacies they’ve sampled in gardens
of the world? 

And what does the scarecrow think
of himself?  Does he dream of gardens
beyond his own?  Wish that he could select
a new jacket from L.L. Bean?  Meet a mate
on an evening date?  How would Facebook
change his boredom?  Provide connectivity!  He’d
give all the straw of one arm to be able to send
a single tweet.  He knows. Yes, he knows
that at best he is the limit of one man’s imagination,
the fragments of cloth no longer valued.

His  creator worked in the vacuum
of his culture.  He was locked into mere craft
that replicates the images of his race, incarcerated
in stock icons. He will have to jimmy the lock, tunnel
beneath the cell, steal the the key to open rusty hinges
if he is to escape.  Somehow, he’ll have to kindle
a new fire, burn every scarecrow, serrate his eyeballs,
pluck them out of the shared illusion of his race.
He must sacrifice more than a dozen crows
if he hopes to gain the edge, to broil his task 
over the flame of artifice.