Sunday, December 13, 2009

Big Carnival Ballade

Was it Oscar's body a bosc pear a white ceramic pitcher
        dripping milk
Was it Nature Morte
Was it an orange rock cod on ice bundled in newsprint was it
Cold Duck Oscar gulped was it a love potion he chugged he
        couldn't hide the fact was it
Paper dolls was it
        as sexy as any walleyed tropical fish swimming past the
        wreck in its tank was it
Soap bubbles Oscar blew gasping what a dilapidated accordion
Was it a wax museum
If it was a hand it must have been waving

Was it someone's Ti Bon Ange was it Alice
Pissing Liebfraumilch was it
Poor poor Oscar's body a navel orange splitting under a
        thumbnail the thumbnail was
A decaying molar the tooth fairy will come for was it
Meat sauce was it red carnations ladled across the linguini
Was it a stomach x-ray was it
A Frederick's of Hollywood catalog in the good doctor's office
Was it Oscar plagued by canaries behind his face
If it was a hand it must have been waving

Was it Liz doing Little Egypt was it
Another hospital moonlighting as a Herzog movie
Was it puppets cursing like Violas D'Amore being tuned up
Was it Turkish State Monopoly cigarettes
Cough cough was it the Black Death was it

Sugar molecules swirling tentacles in the black coffee was it
        Oscar's black suit he stood shivering in was it
An upright bass grandiose as a Frigidaire moaning coronary
        thrombosis was it
A blue love wig from Sheba's he stroked it was it
Alice's chest inked with the entire orchestral score to Aïda
If it was a hand it must have been waving

Tell me what happened once the tricycle sank was it
Aortas like bulbous kelp washed up was it Dungeness crabs
        boiled passionate in the pot was it
A valentine Oscar ripped from his ribcage was it
A toucan
If it was a hand it must have been waving

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2009


Poetikat said...

I always take a deep breath before I begin to read your poems. I need that extra dose of oxygen to see me through - bulk me up for the trip ahead.
I should have got a tank and hooked it up beside me for this one!
The refrain of "if it was a hand it must have been waving" (NOT drowning?)
Oscar, Oscar, Oscar. I ask myself, Oscar Wilde?, Oscar Peterson?, Oscar Hammerstein. Who???
Whoever he is, he certainly had an interesting experience at this carnival.
You make me want to slug back a bottle of Liebfraumilch, light a cigarette and go dancing naked down the street. (Not here though, it's too bloody cold!)

John Hayes said...

Hi Kat: Oscar is just Oscar! Fun to think of Stevie Smith seeping in on the refrain. Glad you liked it!

Dominic Rivron said...

Sometimes one is lost for words but feels a need to leave a comment. Often, with poems. Good poems probably should leave you feeling like that. This is such a time!

John Hayes said...

Hi Dominic: I really appreciate that--always glad to see you stop by.