Fred Astaire Said Tomato, I Say Tomato
Lily-white PM Francis Urquhart becomes POTUS
Frank Underwood who gasses and hacks to death
red-blooded Americans but still destroys Barak
Othello Obama’s favorabilities in the latest Reuters poll.
So on the exact day more than a half millennium
since the last House of York and Plantagenet dynasty’s
hunchback remains were exhumed from a blood-stained
car park grave, given a burial fit for a king,
why’s my binge-watching Prez Kevin Spacey
and Robin Wright’s portrayal of his First Lady
Macbeth, the cunning Claire Undertaker in Netflix’s
House of Cards, considered decadently wrong,
while over one blue weekend your gobbling
catsup & mayonnaise Earl of Sandwiches
plus all the chapters in Dobbs’ English pol novel
the series’s based on, is judged quite decent indeed
though Ian Richardson’s Maggie Thatcher –- more Richard III
than Tom Sawyer’s Becky – blackmails foes with photos
of them with rent boys, tosses troublemakers off
Parliament’s roof with the zeal of Shakespeare?
Atonement, at least the HBO movie —
I read McEwan’s bestseller but don’t remember
— blasts open a countryside castle
with my whipsmartlaserfocused heroine
(not Keira Knightley’s Cecelia lovely I suppose
becomes the female lead if you stick with On Demand
which I probably won’t) whose names I don’t know
typing “England, 1935.” The jaunty beanpole
with straight blond hair plus bangs
says, When you write “castle,”
a reader might see flags waving under Northern Lights,
the medieval village below.
She sees everything always forever as if blocking a scene.
Takes the pinpricks with the ecstasy
but mostly seems oblivious to both.
The girl is twelve thirteen or fourteen.
Instead of like me beginning at sixty-three.
The month after Daddy died, I bought Mom a toy
poodle just like the one
she nursed at home during high school graduation.
Mommy called it Flo
after the original accessory named for Grandma
Florence: For the most part, Ma
spoke about not getting over her very first pooch
passing when she’s young —
after which Grandpa dumped Mama in boarding
school over in Florence…
I changed the subject by resurrecting a sepia photo
from my parents’ honeymoon
in Alabama where they rode exorbitant white stallions
while both also chain-smoked.
Jaunty fedora, Father looks just like a movie star.
Mother turned to me, Who’s that?
Taking Flo II for a walk, feeling as anonymous
as the patches of grass
between sidewalk and curb, when we got back,
now that Dad’s not watching, I won’t cook
covered casseroles or anything I don’t want to eat.
Out of rank pettiness,
I gave the dog food, gave Mommy’s maid Maya
dogfood, give Mama nada.
Basket cases of Auschwitz apostates will that their ashes be scattered
at Gucci’s & Dodgers Stadium so their daughters & sons might visit…
Forest Lawn cut loss leader deals with W.C., Errol, Clark, & Humphrey
among nebulae of movie stars in order to attract lesser full pay satellites.
Pierce Brothers Inc.’s black hole gobbled up Marilyn Truman Zappa
& angled for Jack Palance Rod Steiger futuristic father figures and suns.
More down to earth Hillside invested in the borsht belt firm, Jolson
Benny & Berle while Hollywood Forever landed Bugsy ‘n Johnny Ramone.
Pops’d have none of it, opting instead not for pristine ocean views
but staking value claims in the bleak Simi Valley tulies where he plus
Mommy could be parked in peace where the kids won’t come, far from LAX
but within room service of gas fumes and crash site freeway miasmas.
Albeit took us a few decades, Dad made it his idea to flip eternity
from the boonies back into City of Angels science fiction as long as the cost
of such a switch would be born by his lax children — which we did.
* Anniversary of the death of a Jewish parent, sibling, child, or spouse
Pain Is Inevitable, Suffering’s Subject Matter
Slept in, I wake to microwaved neck warmer,
French Roast brewing, French Toast to plump me up
while avoiding Pop’s obit in the LA Times.
My wife speaks softly, “We’ll go when you’re ready.”
Tortoiseshells turned in from everyone but the funeral director
who demands signatures and a fat check, I feel like Greta Garbo
fleeing from the casket room fast.
Hefty staff in black suits and shades are my blocking back wedge
to put off being confronted by the consolation
of friends and family — I hide away under the white gazebo
before joining mourners as the rent-a-rabbi calls us to order.
After the service, a veiled bombshell offers
the handle to my shovel-ready JewBu son
who whispers he’ll dig the same for me,
that living in the present is over-rated.
At first I regret not leaping into the pit
until noticing that for the first time in years,
Mom wills herself to see as well as veritably hear
what’s really happening around her.Nodding
and smiling graciously, she thanks all the eulogists,
invites the crowd back to the house for deli and schnapps.