for Johnny Griffin and
Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis
“ ; --
pell-mell, helter-skelter, ding-dong ”
Laurence Sterne: The Life and Opinions of
Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
This soul, already melancholy, pelted anecdotally,
Confused and foiled, confessed a logical folly only
Doting fancy redressed. For a tune misfortune
Hid he had a wish. So sooner tally fully
Folly on folly; this jolly land now holy how --
Solely joy jogged free vile devils’ evils seen.
Wham!!! Dreary, drearier, and dreariest still:
His hamminess a hamminess, by any formula
Whatsoever, swelled till the dear fool’s cleverness
Mulled all; citing rules onto rules, and roles:
Excited hollow allies’ goals, who followed into
Homemade hells. Well, here he rollicks and rocks
Vertiginous flights nights’ fracas cussed. He stands
Accused, to rue cruel mulish acts. What might be to him
Errant whims, to others were dim maggoty beginnings
To winged ends: granted eloquent tantalizing
Voices bantering unmuzzled puzzled choices mating
The absurd and the refined: the showy inclined and the
Shy disinclined: wondering why wondering why
Oh why oh why oh why this siren song
Continued while he languished in despair?
What language gauged his anguish best?
What magic quest allowed jest best?
What aided his modest lot not least?
What cheap mischief’s cheer crumpled or
Rumpled spirits more pell-mell? Helter-skelter?
Ding-dong. Ding-dong. Could the wicked witch
Be dead? Bewitched bothered or bewildered?
Could a rainbow be a rainbow with no rain? Willows
Weeping, at sixes and sevens, sex vexed a humbled who?
A hampered plumber blossomed somehow now but
How? Some hyped and some helped but who cajoled
Lonesome somebodies and handsome nobodies?
What cant can’t the canting critics cant and why
Can’t they? Or can they? But but but … pure reason
Declares. Declares!!!: clear reasons are needed
Or need is unreasoned. Seasoned in gloom. Grovels
To rivals. Concedes to scoffs, sarcasm and flattery. And
He? He’s still bewildered, gropes and mopes. And hopes.
From what mystic atavistic vistas or visions will he
Determine or mine what’s what and who’s who?
Amorous chitchat, moral chitchat, floral chitchat:
All failed to deter innumerable graces erasure and
Irreparable disquietudes embracing him, disabling him.
He longed for more; could time give him more? Alarmed,
Armed with several dictionaries, could he discover more?
He played, prayed promiscuously, and promised much;
Monkeyed around on my keyboard, but then fate came and