Friday, July 20, 2007

The Prophet and the Sage...

My love for the kind of poetry that people like Lewis Carrol and Dr. Zeuss is unabashed. The command of meter and rythmn enchant me much in the same way jazz and blues fans embrace, New Orleans jazz and Delta and Chicago blues.

The trifle I post today was a long time in gestation.

I hope, in the few moments you spend parsing it, that you will take the time to speak it out loud -- one of my prime axioms regarding poetry is that it must be spoken. So long as it is silent scribbles on a page, poetry is nothing but scribbles on a page.

One afternoon in the early spring, three hours before the dark,
the Prophet and the Sage were sitting on a bench in the park.
The Prophet was munching stale bread while sparrows chirped for crumbs,
although he was intelligent, he looked just like a bum.

"Now's the time to talk of many things," said the Prophet to the Sage,
"of love and life's eternal strife and the worship of Holy Cabbage!"
"I'd much rather talk about the simple truth!" replied the Sage.
"The truth isn't simple!" rejoined the Prophet, somewhat enraged.

The Sage, he smiled and stroked his beard and his smile was wryly weak,
"The truth's the first to die in war whatever else we seek.
Look at us! We get our signals crossed every time we speak!
I say your lines and you say mine -- now that's a sign of the End of Time!"

"End of Time, end of Schmime!" grunted the Prophet with a grin,
while brushing crumbs of stale bread from his scraggled chin,
"We're not looking at the End of Anything, except my peace of mind!
What I think I need the most right now is another drink of wine!"

"I'll give you a piece of my mind!" laughed the Sage in retort.
He pulled a bottle from his plastic bag, took a hefty snort,
and then he burped, "There are shiploads full of demons sailing into port!
The world's in need of heroes and the time is getting short!"

"We're all short," growled the Prophet, "as long as we're sitting down..."
He took a drink of his wine and then he slowly turned around,
returning the bottle to a briefcase, he had from the time before,
his employer exported his job across the seas to foreign shores.

"They're looking for intelligence somewhere in outer space?
They ought to see if there's still some soul left in inner space!
There's too damn many 'telly'-gents to suit my taste!
Just give me some 70-cent spread and some fresh bread on my plate!"

The Sage nodded, partly to agree and partly because he was stewed,
"Yeah, I know what you mean! Remember what we used to see on the news,
the fair and balanced bullshit we saw almost every night,
the no-spin zones, with the facts sliced and diced into sound bites?"

"I hear what you're saying," the Prophet mumbled as his chin
touched his chest...suddenly he started, "Repeat what you said once again!"
But the Sage didn't answer, not with the words he'd spoken just before,
the only thing the Prophet heard was his gentle snore...

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