Three excerpts from Ludicrous Parole



after Nelligan
My braincase is prinked with pinpricks of stars
And stinks of the fetid toes of the dead.
My brainflower blows its little green head;
Bloodied bull, dips horns to carve scars

In the dirt. In a humming ditch, les soirs
Doux have died slowly, plashing and red.
My braincase is prinked with pinpricks of stars
And stinks of the fetid toes of the dead.

My brain, a train of vagabond boxcars,
Discharges its gold-plated freight of lead
Bars, chugs from the barrens, deadheads
It to cloud-locked Valhallas of stars.

My braincase floods with the light of dead stars.

* * *


Hey there, you seabottom bagpipe!
You tentacular spectacle!

You sleazy close-hugger!

You rubbery bugger!

You cuttlefish cousin!

You cephalopod mollusk!

You crab-cracking glutton!

You lover of lobster!

You egghead archiver!

You trial-and-error improver!

You telescopic observer!

You terrible bluffer!

You skulker amidshipwrecks!

You poet, supersensitive in your cups!

You Houdini, through holes small as your nose
You goes!

You chromataphoric scarf threading moodrings for sand dollars!

You squirter of ink into oceans!

You tubular siphonjet motor!

You shameless self-promoter!

You son of a squid’s daughter!

You blotcher of enemies with a deep-purple blotter!

* * *


When I am dead, but not yet
Gone, promise to fulfill one wish.
I allow you to erect for me
Whatever monument you might
Deem fit, whatever sort you can
Afford, if, that is, you still can
Stand the thought of me once I’m no
Longer here, which, if I’ve done
My job while walking this green earth,
You will or won’t, depending
Who you are (though I must now
Concede, however well or ill
My work has gone, this will be
A topic indifferent to most).
You may, as I say, build for me
A mausoleum, statues, or
Just lay down a simple stone
With name and dates, a scrap of verse
Engraved. You may call on me often
With flowers and dirges, you may
Desecrate the shrine, topple
Statues, graffito-tag the stone
If more inclined to sacrilege.
All this I will permit. Only
This I ask, that when my corpse,
Though dead, is fresh, do not embalm,
Preserve, or stuff my flesh, don’t clothe
My limbs or paint me up pretty—
And this is crucial, are you
Listening? Don’t lock my body
In a box and drop me six feet
Under earth, don’t incinerate
My last remains and keep my
Sterile ashes in a jar. I will not have
My lovely death so marred by these
Too-human trappings. If I have
Organs fit for use, leave them
Where they grew. Why should my parts
Postpone another’s end, augment
A surgeon’s fame? Rather, lay me
Out, complete and whole on hilltop
Or in the midst of mottled woods,
So that my solid flesh might melt
Unhindered into earth from whence
It came, my skin and muscles meals
For fox and crow. Let a goshawk
Tear open my liver, let bugs
And worms consume what rotting meat
Remains, let a squirrel cache nuts
In my skull, let my ribs, covered
Over by a litter of leaves,
Be a den for a tangle of snakes
Sloughing their spangled dead skin.

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