Friday, November 25, 2016

Barry Wallenstein

How Fast

One day in summer
an alien from Mars or somewhere
landed and spoke to me
from his busy mouth:
“Your hours, like rats
will keep coming
and pile high as Everest,
before that long drop down,
too fast for you to frame
or see your minutes,
their delights, as you fall.”

Without a second to think,
sweat, or parry, I reposted:
“Remove your clock
and your foul mouth too -
back to Mars;
I’ve hours enough in this world
but not a minute to spare
for your vision or venom.

The Imp Speaks

I may be too pooped to prove the point,
as we say in the lands of frolic,
but I’m still perky
and can do the do
when my turn comes around,

and can climb the banyan tree
limb by limb to where the snake and tiger
wrap themselves in the myth of the manger;
and should you call up “when you reach the top,
toss me a kiss with your fingers,”

I’ll do just that – with the spark I’ve left,
more tired by then than ever I remember.


Professor Mathe, emeritus now,
bends over his files –
old files boxed in old oak –
pulls them out by their worn tabs
by ones and twos into the fire
in a hurry, with august anger,
that self-mocking grin.

“That’s that for that,” he chortles,
clearing out obsolescence;
there’s a long pause before some prospect
might swim into focus. 
“One ending need not presage another”
is another sentence he likes to repeat.

So he sits, his fingers twiddling,
straight-backed, practicing with his yo-yo
and conjuring time beyond limits
where, through the doors of the laboratory,
we hear mice singing, men chirping,
and women obeying the moon,
while singing aloud to a randy tune. 

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