Friday, November 30, 2018

Clerihew for Reoriented Focus


EDWARD SAID

Reason not the need
Of Edward Said;
Before him there was just the mists
Of the Orientalists.

A Caricature


Daily Dose



From Canto General, by Pablo Neruda, translated by Jack Schmitt

LET

"Let the white youth, the black youth,
march singing and smiling
against the walls of gold,
against the manufacturer of hatred,
against the merchant of their blood,
singing, smiling and conquering."

From Let the Woodcutter Awaken, Part V

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Clerihew for the Dramatiker


BERTOLT BRECHT

Bertolt Brecht
Thought most writers "schlecht."
In translation this means, "bad".
Rather discouraging that, comrade.*

*He probably said "scheisse"
Which is further from nice.

A Caricature


Daily Dose

From The Storm, by Tomas Gonzalez, translated by Andrea Rosenberg

THINK

"I don't think I'm going to get rabies. That lady put up quite a fight! she gave us all a run for our money, but I got the worst of it. And all because she tried to hit the fat girl from the kitchen over the head."

From page 160

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Clerihew for an OG of the English Critical Tradition


WILLIAM HAZLITT

Later, more systematic critics
Rely on elaborate analytics,
Whereas Hazlitt
Has wit.

A Caricature


Daily Dose


From The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter, edited by Robert Kimball

EXPERIMENT

Before you leave these portals
To meet less fortunate mortals,
There’s just one final message
I would give to you.
You all have learned reliance
On the sacred teachings of science,
So I hope, through life, you never will decline
In spite of philistine
Defiance
To do what all good scientists do.

Refrain

Experiment.
Make it your motto day and night.
Experiment
And it will lead you to the light.
The apple on the top of the tree
Is never too high to achieve,
So take an example from Eve,
Experiment.
Be curious,
Though interfering friends may frown.
Get furious
At each attempt to hold you down.
If this advice you always employ
The future can offer you infinite joy
And merriment,
Experiment
And you’ll see!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A Caricature


Daily Dose


From The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter, edited by Robert Kimball

YOU'VE GOT THAT THING

Since first you blew in like a boisterous breeze
I often have wondered, Dear
Why gentlemen all seem to fall on their knees
The moment that you appear
Your fetching physique is hardly unique
You're mentally not so hot
You'll never win laurels because of your morals
But I'll tell you what you've got.....

You've got that thing, you've got that thing
That thing that makes birds forget to sing
Yes, you've got that thing, that certain thing

You've got that charm, that subtle charm
That makes young farmers desert the farm
'Cause you've got that thing, that certain thing

You've got what Adam craved when he
With love for Eve was tortured
She only had an apple tree
But you, you've got an orchard

You've got those ways, those taking ways
That make me rush off to Cartier's
For a wedding ring, you've got that thing

You've got that thing, you've got that thing
That thing that makes vines prefer to cling
Yes, you've got that thing, that certain thing

You've got those looks, those fatal looks
That make book censors enjoy their books
'Cause you've got that thing, that certain thing

Just what made Samson be, for years
Delilah's lord and keeper
She only had a pair of shears
But you, you've got a reaper

You've got that power, that power to grip
That makes me map out a wedding trip
For the early spring, you've got that thing

You've got that thing, you've got that thing
That thing that makes bees refuse to sting
Yes, you've got that thing, that certain thing

You've got that kiss, that kiss that warms
That makes reformers reform reforms
'Cause you've got that thing, that certain thing

They tell us Trojan Helen's lips
Made every man her slavey
If her face launched a thousand ships
Well, yours could launch a navy

You've got that that love, and such a lot
It makes me think you're prepared for what
Any stork might bring, you've got that thing.

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Caricature


Daily Dose

From Les Liaisons Dangereuses, by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, translated by Ernest Dowson

THIS

"This was much; but it was not enough."

From Chapter 79

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A Caricature


Daily Dose

From The Gospel of Nature, by John Burroughs

ASSOCIATIONS

"Our associations with Nature vulgarize it and rob it of its divinity."

From page 6

Saturday, November 24, 2018

A Caricature


Daily Dose


From Collected Poems, by Jack Gilbert

IN DISPRAISE OF POETRY

When the King of Siam disliked a courtier,
he gave him a beautiful white elephant.
The miracle beast deserved such ritual
that to care for him properly meant ruin.
Yet to care for him improperly was worse.
It appears the gift could not be refused.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Clerihew for a Nobel Czech


JAROSLAV SEIFERT

However the censors might try,
The Nobel they could not deny
And could no longer thereby hurt
Seifert.

A Caricature


Daily Dose


From In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965 - 90, by Frank Bidart

DARK NIGHT

In a dark night, when the light
burning was the burning of love (fortuitous
night, fated, free,--)
as I stole from my dark house, dark
house that was silent, grave, sleeping,--

by the staircase that was secret, hidden,
safe: disguised by darkness (fortuitous
night, fated, free,--)
by darkness and by cunning, dark
house that was silent, grave, sleeping--;

in that sweet night, secret, seen by
no one and seeing
nothing, my only light or
guide
the burning in my burning heart,

night was the guide
to the place where he for whom I
waited, whom I had long ago chosen,
waits: night
brighter than noon, in which none can see--;

night was the guide
sweeter than the sun raw at
dawn, for there the burning bridegroom is
bride
and he who chose at last is chosen.


*

As he lay sleeping on my sleepless
breast, kept from the beginning for him
alone, lying on the gift I gave
as the restless
fragrant cedars moved the restless winds,--

winds from the circling parapet circling
us as I lay there touching and lifting his hair,--
with his sovereign hand, he
wounded my neck-
and my senses, when they touched that, touched nothing...

In a dark night (there where I
lost myself,--) as I leaned to rest
in his smooth white breast, everything
ceased
and left me, forgotten in the grave of forgotten lilies.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Caricature


Daily Dose


From Little Stranger, by Lisa Olstein

LEOPARDS ARE FLEXIBLE CATS

When the dentist tells me
he's found a remnent of a baby tooth
hiding alongside my right bicuspid,
I'm born again: eight years old
and bleeding happily beneath
the apple tree, bicycle a small wreck
in the distance, clover light
and eye spots filling the screen.
This is how we know the world:
hit something hard, hit something soft,
sit by a glowing window and watch
the lighted storm swim by.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #139

A Caricature


Daily Dose


From The Passenger Pigeon, by John James Audubon

THE AIR

"The air was literally filled with Pigeons; the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse; the dung fell in spots, not unlike melting flakes of snow; the continued buzz of wings had a tendency to lull my senses to repose."

From page 7

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Gritty Clerihew


CHARLES PORTIS

Thrown elbows
In ornate prose?
Sure 'tis
Portis.

A Caricature


Daily Dose

From True Grit, by Charles Portis

LIKE YOU

"He was a whiskey drinker like you. It led to killing in the end."

From page 146

Monday, November 19, 2018

Clerihew In Lieu of a Ballad


CARSON MCCULLERS

Carson McCullers
Just could not enjoy the crullers
When she stopped in one day
at The Sad Cafe.

A Caricature


Daily Dose

From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

EVERYBODY

"Everybody was staring at Violet. And what a terrible, peculiar sight she was!"

From Chapter 21, Good-bye Violet

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #138

Silly Walking Clerihew


JOHN CLEESE

John Cleese
Disturbs the peace
Of merchant bankers,
Headmasters, and pompous wankers.

A Caricature


Daily Dose


From Peacock & Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny, by A. S. Byatt

REMEMBER

"I remember being overcome with delight when I realized how rigorously the geometry of plants worked among the apparently accidental forms of particular flowers or leaves."

From Fabrics, Designs, and Light

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Clerihew for Dr. Benway


WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS

William S. Burroughs,
While dining on churros,
Said "The taste's rather thin
Without heroin."

A Caricature


Daily Dose

From A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind, by Suri Hustvedt

GREEK

"Greek culture was openly homoerotic and, as such, subject to conventions about how male love affairs should unfold. It was not a free-for-all."

From Mapplethorpe/Almodovar: Points and Counterpoints

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Clerihew for the Trout


KURT VONNEGUT

If they wanna shut
Down Vonnegut
They'll find they can't shut out
Kilgore Trout.

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad & Nick #136

A Caricature


Daily Dose


From In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson

EASY

"It is amazingly easy in Australia to forget, or at least to reduce to a dim awareness, that there is a world out there."

From Chapter 12

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Clerihew in the New World


FRANCOISE-RENE DE CHATEAUBRIAND

Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand
Went to bed with his buckskins on
And dreamt of native plaisirs
In Atala, ou Les Amours de deux sauvages dans le d├ęsert.

A Caricature


Daily Dose

From Vile Days: The Village Voice Art Columns 1985 - 1988, by Gary Indiana

THINGS

"Things don't really move according to decades, but the change from the '70s to the '80s was in fact dramatic and rather nauseating."

From July 23, 1985 Dear Decade

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Caricature


Daily Dose

From Lethal Passage: the Story of a Gun, by Erik Larson

PASSION

"The passion for lethality suffuses the process through which guns and ammunition are conceived and made.."

From Chapter 12, The Culture

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #134

A Caricature


Daily Dose


From Vile Days: The Village Voice Art Columns 1985 - 1988, by Gary Indiana

SOLD

"The fate of many plants sold at the flower show must certainly resemble that of those hapless baby alligators who died slow, painful deaths in terrariums of Florida tourists in the '50s."

From March 24, 1987 Triumph of the Cute

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Clerihew for a Chilled Romantic


LYTTON STRACHEY

On a gay spree
Lytton Strachey
Tucked French letters
Among his sweaters.