The Ides of March
August 15, 1969:
Half a million hippies
converged on Max Yasgur's pig farm
in Woodstock, New York.
Featured in this issue:
--- "Imagined Thoughts Before the Boston Tea Party, 1773"
--- "Lebensraum Blues"
--- "Lake Geneva Summer, 1818"
--- "The Inventor"
--- "The Zeroth American President"
--- "Adam and Eve"
--- "Battle Array"
--- "The Articles of Confederation"
--- "Ulysses S. Grant"
--- "Barack Obama"
--- "Tasmanian Heritage"
--- "Teach by Example"
--- "Sad Homecoming"
--- "William Tell's Agony"
--- "Origin of the Suns"
"Imagined Thoughts Before the Boston Tea Party, 1773"
Aye, coercive though your acts may be,
with your taxes and axes at our Liberty Tree,
we're all freemen, aye, and fine men, too,
and we've taken all we'll take from you.
When darkness covers the cobbles tonight,
when the ships' masts creak in pale moonlight
and bob in the water with their damned pounds
of English tea, we will be found breaking
and taking the law into our
hands. Tonight the fishes in Boston Harbor
will swim in a teapot, a damned big one, too,
filled to the brim with our defiant brew!
The three-hundred-year long presence of Germanic
people left no lasting trace in the Carpathian Basin.
A History of Hungary
Like large senescent moths,
the Heruls and the Ostrogoths,
the Gepids and the Longobards
have perished in
Wiped like a clean lampshade,
no speck of them remained
except a small teut teut
(stuck onto one word-root)
still used in
"Lake Geneva Summer, 1818"
There's Pollidori, vain and irascible, perpetually craving approval
from Lord Byron, who provokes him mercilessly with sarcasm
until the doctor turns hysterical, then quasi-suicidal, even paddling him
with an oar, though later temporarily consoled by her dark illicit love...
Percy, who likes to launch balloons over the lake, neglecting his wife's
needs by keeping company with George, then transferring attention
to his discarded mistress, Claire, perhaps even making love to her
(which might be why, on her death bed, she clutched his shawl to her breast)...
and Mary, several of her children dead already and she intimidated
by the personality of the Lord and distressed by her husband's long sessions
with him, herself spending many hours with the medicus, who later writes
in his diary that he has threatened to shoot Percy that day and feelings,
as things showed later in that summer labyrinth, prophetically violent.
Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
All those who safely read in bed
Owe much to Thomas Edison,
For after years of sweat and toil
A light came on inside his head,
Allowing them to jettison
Their candles and their midnight oil.
And those who like to dance and laugh
May thank him for the phonograph.
"The Zeroth American President"
Benjamin Franklin, both scholar and rogue,
Printer, inventor, and man of the world,
Showed his bare pate when the wig was in vogue,
Lending a hand till our flag was unfurled.
"The Plucked Rib"
While Adam slept,
God plucked his rib to make a woman,
Then closed the flesh that bled.
When Adam woke, Eve stood unclothed.
It was then that he called her woman.
She began to wash the blood from Adam's side
She looked into his eyes,
And having never seen eyes before,
Adam felt a new emotion.
It was then that he called her wife.
Adam told his new wife of God's plan.
They would have dominion over every plant,
Beast, creeping thing. At night, in the garden,
They began bucking their way from tree to tree,
And it was then that he called her Eve.
Astarte the Queen, high glory to her,
In silver mail rode.
Her warriors bold, did clash their arms,
Loyal unto death.
Raced the queen, in chariot of gold,
Before the ranks.
Long live the queen, was their shout,
Glory to her.
Her champion brave, did spur his steed,
First lance today.
Foeman wavered, to see the serried lines,
"The Articles of Confederation"
The Articles of 'Federation
gave us some presidents--ten.
Despite these precedents,
we count our presidents
from after the Constitution.
"Ulysses S. Grant"
Though he bested Lee
with siege and calvary,
as president, well,
he wasn't so swell--
he couldn't best whiskey.
Mr. Barry Obama
was born in the...Bahamas?
was it Kuwait?
Kuwait?! I heard Kenya!
"I have one black parent, one white,"
she says, "My black family raised me.
All people's blood runs just as red.
We exist today as you plainly see."
The Tasmanian aborigines
have been deemed extinct people,
a legend holding great appeal:
sad, dramatic, untrue but simple.
Modern rulers of Tasmania still hoped
to hide the truth with Truganni's photo:
the last aborigine passed to history.
Conveniently forgot, mixed blood flows.
"Teach by Example"
Like Blackbeard, pirates live a life of crime.
Named Teach, he trapped gold ships many times
enriching himself and Tarheels with a fee
tolled at sword and pistol point at sea
where pirates live and rob.
Now Somali youths think piracy crime's
moment has returned, think it lucrative to climb
aboard merchant ships to seize booty
for hauling home as looted fee
where pirates live and rob.
The world looks aghast at TV time.
Viewers think these pirates' daring crimes
demand quick action from the world's navies.
They think Teach's hanging should be the key
to clear the sea where pirates live and rob.
As a celestial fireball
transforming to a comet's tail
they're coming out way
news shouts, we rush out to listen
for the lout blast that marks
the shuttle's homeward passage.
I strain to hear the tell-tale sound
the explosive indication
their aircraft is passing over
Texas on its final approach.
Listen for sound that never comes
as Columbia astronauts
and their space ship fall in pieces
littering Texas landscape.
"William Tell's Agony"
Up against the tree--
sin's bright apple,
the apple on his head,
apple of my eye.
My boy stares,
rounded eyes shooting
along the notched arrow
to my own feverish brow.
that I don't miss!
"Origin of the Suns"
Ancient Chinese myth has it that the world began with ten suns.
They are sons of God of Heavens
Each with an all-faced body
Each has a heart
Where dwells a three-legged golden crow
They are sons of God of Heavens
As wild as so many bears bursting with fire
Playing non-stop, lolling and wallowing
In the heavenly river of stars
Until one day they go crazy
All jumping high in the sky
Refusing to return home
And take a break at night