Barbara Crooker In The Middle
Deborah Cummins Just One God
Robert Graves Warning to Children
Siegfried Sassoon Counter Attack
Wilfred Owen Dulce et Decorum est
George Bilgere Holy Wedlock  /  Great Cathedrals
Jack Gilbert  Refusing Heaven
David Sedaris  Turbulence
Edgar Allen Poe Eldorado
Gregory Corso Marriage


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                In the Middle 

of a life that's as complicated as everyone else's,
struggling for balance, juggling time.
The mantle clock that was my grandfather's
has stopped at 9:20; we haven't had time
to get it repaired. The brass pendulum is still,
the chimes don't ring. One day you look out the window,
green summer, the next, and the leaves have already fallen,
and a grey sky lowers the horizon. Our children almost grown,
our parents gone, it happened so fast. Each day, we must learn
again how to love, between morning's quick coffee
and evening's slow return. Steam from a pot of soup rises,
mixing with the yeasty smell of baking bread. Our bodies
twine, and the big black dog pushes his great head between;
his tail is a metronome, 3/4 time. We'll never get there,
Time is always ahead of us, running down the beach, urging
us on faster, faster, but sometimes we take off our watches,
sometimes we lie in the hammock, caught between the mesh
of rope and the net of stars, suspended, tangled up
in love, running out of time.
				--- Barbara Crooker, from Yarrow
				         (Home page)
"Memory always obeys the commands of the heart."
     Antoine de Rivarol (The Little Almanac of Great Men)

"I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I'd rather one should walk
with me than merely tell the way."    Edgar Guest, poet (1881-1959)


  • "When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. 
    Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way, so I stole 
    one and asked for forgiveness." 
                                     -Emo Philips, poet (1956- 
Just One God 
             after Wesley McNair
And so many of us.
How can we expect Him
to keep track of which voice
goes with what request.
Words work their way skyward.
Oh Lord, followed by petition —
for a cure, the safe landing.
For what is lost, missing —
a spouse, a job, the final game.
Complaint cloaked as need —
the faster car, porcelain teeth.
That so many entreaties
go unanswered
may say less about our lamentable
inability to be heard
than our inherent flawed condition.
Why else, at birth, the first sound we make, that full-throttled cry? Of want, want, want. Of never enough. Desire as embedded in us as the ancestral tug in my unconscienced dog who takes to the woods, nose to the ground, pulled far from domesticated hearth, bowl of kibble. Left behind, I go about my superior business, my daily ritual I could call prayer.
But look, this morning, in my kitchen, I'm not asking for more of anything. My husband slices bread, hums a tune from our past. Eggs spatter in a skillet. Wands of lilac I stuck in a glass by the open window wobble in a radiant and — dare I say it? — merciful light.
         --Deborah Cummins
         from Counting the Waves. --Word Press.


Warning to Children
Children, if you dare to think
Of the greatness, rareness, muchness
Fewness of this precious only
Endless world in which you say
You live, you think of things like this:
Blocks of slate enclosing dappled
Red and green, enclosing tawny
Yellow nets, enclosing white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where a neat brown paper parcel
Tempts you to untie the string.
In the parcel a small island,
On the island a large tree,
On the tree a husky fruit.
Strip the husk and pare the rind off:
In the kernel you will see
Blocks of slate enclosed by dappled
Red and green, enclosed by tawny
Yellow nets, enclosed by white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where the same brown paper parcel -
Children, leave the string alone!
For who dares undo the parcel
Finds himself at once inside it,
On the island, in the fruit,
Blocks of slate about his head,
Finds himself enclosed by dappled
Green and red, enclosed by yellow
Tawny nets, enclosed by black
And white acres of dominoes,
With the same brown paper parcel
Still untied upon his knee.
And, if he then should dare to think
Of the fewness, muchness, rareness,
Greatness of this endless only
Precious world in which he says
he lives - he then unties the string.
                   -- Robert Graves --

          Remembering Robert Graves pdf.  Alastar Reid    


Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.

--A. E. Housmann



We'd gained our first objective hours before
While dawn broke like a face with blinking eyes,
Pallid, unshaved and thirsty, blind with smoke.
Things seemed all right at first. We held their line,
With bombers posted, Lewis guns well placed,
And clink of shovels deepening the shallow trench.
The place was rotten with dead; green clumsy legs
High-booted, sprawled and grovelled along the saps;
And trunks, face downward, in the sucking mud,
Wallowed like trodden sand-bags loosely filled;
And naked sodden buttocks, mats of hair,
Bulged, clotted heads slept in the plastering slime.
And then the rain began,--the jolly old rain!

A yawning soldier knelt against the bank,
Staring across the morning blear with fog;
He wondered when the Allemands would get busy;
And then, of course, they started with five-nines
Traversing, sure as fate, and never a dud.
Mute in the clamour of shells he watched them burst
Spouting dark earth and wire with gusts from hell,
While posturing giants dissolved in drifts of smoke.
He crouched and flinched, dizzy with galloping fear,
Sick for escape,--loathing the strangled horror
And butchered, frantic gestures of the dead.

An officer came blundering down the trench:
"Stand-to and man the fire-step!" On he went ...
Gasping and bawling, "Fire-step ... counter-attack!"
Then the haze lifted. Bombing on the right
Down the old sap: machine-guns on the left;
And stumbling figures looming out in front.
"O Christ, they're coming at us!" Bullets spat,
And he remembered his rifle ... rapid fire ...

And started blazing wildly ... then a bang
Crumpled and spun him sideways, knocked him out
To grunt and wriggle: none heeded him; he choked
And fought the flapping veils of smothering gloom,
Lost in a blurred confusion of yells and groans ...
Down, and down, and down, he sank and drowned,
Bleeding to death. The counter-attack had failed.

Siegfried Sassoon













Dulce Et Decorum Est    

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
                          Wilfred Owen





                                                       H   O  L    Y         W    E    D    L    O    C     K         /            G   R  E   A  T       C  A   T  H   E   D   R  A  L  S

"Marriage: The state or condition of a community consisting of
a master,a mistress and two slaves, making in all two.
--Ambrose Bierce, The Devils Dictionary

"Take it from me, marriage isn't a word, it's a sentence!"
                    --Vidor King
"When you're young, you think of marriage as a train you simply have to catch.
You run and run until you've caught it, and then you sit back and look out of
the window and realize you're bored!"
Elizabeth Bowen
"Marriage is a noose."
                    ---Miguel de Cervantes


         Great Cathedrals 

Before a date, my college roommate Used to drive his candy-apple red Camaro Down to the car wash and spend the afternoon Washing, waxing, vacuuming it, Detailing the chrome strips, buffing the fenders, Spraying the big expensive tires With their raised white lettering

That said something like Intruder Or Marauder, with a silicone spray Until they were slick and dark as sex. He polished that car as if each caress, Each pass of the chamois, each loving Stroke of the terry cloth would increase, By measurable degrees, The likelihood that in the immaculate Front seat, with its film of freshly applied Vinyl cleaner, at the end of a cul-de-sac Somewhere above the campus, She would consent to be rubbed And buffed just as lovingly. We do what we can, And if God is no more impressed By the cathedral at Chartres Than by a righteously clean and cherry Camaro, at least He can't say We haven't tried With all our might to conceal our fear That we have little else to offer Than stained glass or polished chrome, The elbow grease of our good intentions.

So I'm happy to see That in the Christmas card photo he sent Mark stands, balding now, With a dignified gut, a pretty wife, And a couple of nice-looking kids, in front Of the great cathedral Like the sweet vision of a future He'd been vouchsafed one day Long ago, through Turtle Wax On a gleaming hubcap.
                       -George Bilgere-   


"Marriage is a ghastly public confession of a strictly private intention."
Ian Hay, British Arthur 1876-1952
"A good marriage is that in which each appoints the other guardian of his solitude."
                                                                    Rainer Maria Rilke, 1875 - 1926 Letters.

"Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity."
                                                                    Henri Philippe Petain,
1856 - 1951 Ibid
"Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures."
Samuel Johnson,  Lexicographer
"Strike an average between what a woman thinks of her husband a month before she marries him
 and what she thinks of him a year afterward, and you will  have the truth about him."
                                                                    H. L. Mencken,  1880-1956


  Failing and Flying

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work.  That she was
old enough to know better.   But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that.   Listened to her
while we ate lunch.   How can they say
the marriage failed?  Like the people who
came back from
Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of triumph.

                                               Jack Gilbert, from Refusing Heaven


                                                          Jack G.-- Wikied




When it's time to change your seat.
0n the flight to Raleigh, I sneezed, and the cough drop I'd been sucking on shot from my mouth, ricocheted off my folded tray table, and landed, as I remember it, in the lap of the woman beside me, who was asleep and had her arms folded across her chest.  I'm surprised that the force didn't wake her that's how hard it hit‑but all she did was flutter her eyelids and let out a tiny sigh, the kind you might hear from a baby.
        Under normal circumstances, I'd have had three choices, the first being to do nothing.  The woman would wake up in her own time, and notice what looked like a shiny new button sewn to the crotch of her jeans. This was a small plane, with one seat per row on Aisle A, and two seats per row on Aisle B.  We were on B, so should she go searching for answers I would be the first person on her list. "Is this yours?" she'd ask, and I'd look dumbly into her lap.
          "Is what mine?
          Option No. 2 was to reach over and pluck it from her pants, and No. 3 was to wake her up and turn the tables, saying, "I'm sorry, but I think you have something that belongs to me."  Then she'd hand the lozenge back and maybe even apologize, confused into thinking that she'd somehow stolen it.
            These circumstances, however, were not normal, as before she'd fallen asleep the woman and 1 had had a fight.  I'd known her for only an hour, yet I felt her hatred just as strongly as I felt the stream of cold air blowing into my face—this after she'd repositioned the nozzle above her head, a final fuck—you before settling down for her nap.
          The odd thing was that she hadn't looked like trouble.  I'd stood behind her while boarding and she was just this woman—forty at most—wearing a T‑shirt and cutoff jeans.  Her hair was brown, and fell to her shoulders, and as we waited she gathered it into a ponytail and fastened it with an elastic band.  There was a man beside her, who was around the same age and was also wearing shorts, though his were hemmed.  He was skimming through a golf magazine, and I guessed correctly that the two of them were embarking on a vacation.  While on the gangway, the woman mentioned a rental car, and wondered if the beach cottage was far from a grocery store.  She was clearly looking forward to her trip, and I found myself hoping that, whichever beach they were going to, the grocery store wouldn't be too far away.  It was just one of those things that go through your mind.  Best of luck, I thought.
          Once on board, I realized that the woman and I would be sitting next to one another, which was fine.  I took my place on the aisle, and within a minute she excused herself and walked a few rows up to talk to the man with the golf magazine.  He was at the front of the cabin, in a single bulkhead seat, and I recall feeling sorry for him, because I hate the bulkhead.  Tall people covet it, but I prefer as little leg room as possible.  When I'm on a plane or in a movie theatre, I like to slouch down as low as I can, and rest my knees on the seat back in front of me.  In the bulkhead, there is no seat in front of you, just a wall a good three feet away, and I never know what to do with my legs.   Another drawback is that you have to stow all of your belongings in the overhead compartment, and these are usually full by the time I board.  All in all, I'd rather hang from one of the wheels than have to sit up front.
          When they announced our departure, the woman returned to her seat, and hovered a half foot off the cushion, so she could continue her conversation with the man she'd been talking to earlier.  I wasn't paying attention to what they were saying, but I believe I heard him refer to her as Becky, a wholesome name that matched her contagious, almost childlike enthusiasm.           

The plane took off and everything was as it should be until the woman touched my arm, and pointed to the man she'd been talking to earlier.  "Hey," she said, "see that guy up there?" Then she called out his name--    Eric, I think—and the man turned and waved.  "That's my husband, see, and I'm wondering if you could maybe swap seats so that me and him could sit together."
          "Well, actually—" I said, and before I could finish her face hardened, and she interrupted me, saying, "What? You have a problem with that?"
          "Well," I said, "ordinarily I'd be happy to move, but he's in the bulkhead, and I just hate that seat."
         "He's in the what?"
"The bulkhead," I explained.  "That's what you call that front row."
          "Listen," she said, "I'm not asking you to switch because it's a bad seat.  I'm asking you to switch because we're married.  "She pointed to her wedding ring, and when I leaned in closer to get a better look at it she drew back her hand, saying, "Oh, never mind.  Just forget it."
          It was as if she had slammed a door in my face, and quite unfairly, it seemed to me.  I should have left well enough alone, but instead I tried to reason with her.  "It's only a ninety‑minute flight," I said, suggesting that in the great scheme of things it wasn't that long to be separated from your husband.  "I mean, what, is he going to prison the moment we land in Raleigh?"
          "No, he's not going to prison," she said, and on the last word she lifted her voice, mocking me.
          "Look," I told her, "if he was a child I'd do it."  And she cut me off saying, "Whatever."  Then she rolled her eyes and glared out the window.
          The woman had decided that I was a hard‑ass, one of those guys who refuse under any circumstances to do anyone a favor.  But it's not true.  I just prefer that the favor be my idea, that it leaves me feeling kind rather than bullied and uncomfortable. So, no.  Let her sulk, I decided.
          Eric had stopped waving, and signalled for me to get Becky’s
          "My wife," he mouthed. "Get my wife."
          There was no way out, and so I tapped the woman on the shoulder.
          "Don't touch me," she said, as if I had thrown a punch.
          "Your husband wants you."
          "Well, that doesn't give you the right to touch me."  Becky unbuckled her seat belt, raised herself off the cushion, and spoke to Eric in a loud stage whisper:  "I asked him to swap seats, but he won't do it.”
          He cocked his head, sign language for "How come?," and she said, much louder than she needed to, "'Cause he's an asshole, that's why."
An elderly woman across the aisle turned to look at me, and I pulled a Times crossword puzzle from the bag beneath my seat.  That always makes you look reasonable, especially on a Saturday, when the words are long and the clues are exceptionally tough.  The problem is that you have to concentrate, and all I could think of was this woman.
         Seventeen across.  A fifteen‑letter word for enlightenment.  "I am not an asshole," I wrote, and it fit.
         Five down.  Six‑letter Indian tribe.  "You are."
         Look at the smart man, breezing through the puzzle, I imagined everyone thinking.  He must be a genius. That's why he wouldn't swap seats for that poor married woman.  He knows something we don’t.
         It's pathetic how much significance I attach to the Times puzzle, which is easy on Monday and gets progressively harder as the week advances.  I'll spend fourteen hours finishing the Friday, and then I'll wave it in someone's face and demand that they acknowledge my superior intelligence.  I think it means that I'm smarter than the next guy, but all it really means is that I don't have a life.
          As I turned to my puzzle, Becky reached for a paperback novel, the kind with an embossed cover.  I strained to see what the title was, and she jerked it closer to the window.  Strange how that happens, how you can feel someone's eyes on your book or magazine as surely as you can feel a touch.  It only works for the written word, though.  I stared at her feet for a good five minutes, and she never jerked those away.  After our fight, she'd removed her sneakers, and I saw that her toenails were painted white, and that each one was perfectly sculpted.
          Eighteen across: "Not impressed."
          Eleven down: "Whore."
          I wasn't even looking at the clues anymore.
          When the drink cart came, we fought through the flight attendant.
         "What can I offer you folks?" she asked, and Becky threw down her book saying,  "We're not together." It killed her that we might be mistaken for a couple, or even friends.  "I'm traveling with my husband," she continued.  "He's sitting up there.  In the bulkhead. "
You learned that word from me, I thought.
          "Well, can I offer‑‑"
          "I'll have a Coke," Becky said.  "Not much ice.
          I was thirsty, too, but more than a drink I wanted the flight attendant to like me.  And who would you prefer, the finicky baby who cuts you off and gets all specific about her ice cubes, or the thoughtful, non-demanding gentleman who smiles up from his difficult Saturday puzzle saying, "Nothing for me, thank you"?
          Were the plane to lose altitude and the only way to stay aloft was to push one person out the emergency exit, I now felt certain that the flight attendant would select Becky rather than me.  I pictured her clinging to the door frame, her hair blown so hard it was starting to fall out.  "But my husband‑‑" she'd cry.  Then I would step forward saying, "Hey, I've been to Raleigh before. Take me instead."  Becky would see that I am not the asshole she mistook me for, and in that instant she would lose her grip, and be sucked into space.
          Two down: "Take that!"
          It's always so satisfying when you can twist someone's hatred into guilt‑make them realize that they were wrong, too quick to judge, too unwilling to look beyond their own petty concerns.  The problem is that it works both ways.  I'd taken this woman as the type who arrives late at a movie, then asks me to move behind the tallest person in the theatre so that she and her husband can sit together.  Everyone has to suffer just because she's sleeping with someone.  But what if I was wrong?  1 pictured her in a dimly lit room, trembling before a portfolio of glowing X‑rays.  "I give you two weeks at the most," the doctor says.  "Why don't you get your toenails done, buy yourself a nice pair of cutoffs, and spend some quality time with your husband.  I hear the beaches of North Carolina are pretty nice this time of year''
          I looked at her then, and thought, No.  If she'd had so much as a stomach ache, she would have mentioned it.  Or would she?  I kept telling myself that I was within my rights, but I knew it wasn't working when I turned back to my puzzle and started listing the various reasons I was not an asshole
          Forty across: "I give money to p
Forty‑six down: "‑-ublic radio."
          While groping for reason No. 2, 1 noticed that Becky was not making a lst of her own.  She was the one who had called me a name, who had gone out of her way to stir up trouble, but it didn't seem to bother her in the least.  After finishing her Coke, she folded up the tray table, summoned the flight attendant to take her empty can, and settled back for a nap.  It was shortly after‑ward that I put the throat lozenge in my mouth, and shortly after that that I sneezed, and it shot like a bullet onto the crotch of her shorts.
          Nine across: "Fuck!"
          Thirteen down: "Now what?"
          It was then that another option occurred to me. You know 1 thought.  Maybe I will swap places with her husband  But I'd waited too long, and now he was asleep as well.  My only way out was to nudge this woman awake, and make the same offer I sometimes make to Hugh.  We'll be arguing, and I'll stop in mid‑sentence and ask if we can just s tart over.  "Ill go outside and when I come back in we'll just pretend this never happened, O.K"
          If the fight is huge, he'll wait until I'm in the hall, then bolt the door behind me, but if it's minor he'll go along, and I'll reenter the apartment saying, "What are you doing home?"  Or "Gee, it smells good in here. What's cooking?"‑‑‑an easy question, as he's always got something on the stove.
          For a while, it feels goofy, but eventually the self‑consciousness wears off, and we ease into the roles of two decent people, trapped in a rather dull play.  "Is there anything I can do to help?"
          "You can set the table if you want."
          "All‑righty then."
          I don't know how many times I've set the table in the middle of the afternoon; long before we sit down to eat.  But the play would be all the duller without action, and I don't want to do anything really hard, like paint a room.  I'm just so grateful that he goes along with it.  Other people's lives can be full of screaming ‑-and flying plates, but I prefer that my own remains as civil as possible, even if it means faking it every once in a while.
          I'd gladly have started over with Becky, but something told me she wouldn't go for it.  Even asleep, she broadcast her hostility, each gentle snore sounding like an accusation. Ass‑hole. Ass‑ho‑ole.  The landing announcement failed to wake her, and when the flight attendant asked her to fasten her seat belt she did it in a drowse, without looking.  The lozenge disappeared beneath the buckle, and this bought me an extra ten minutes, time spent gathering my things, so that I could make for the door the moment we arrived at our gate.  I just didn't count on the man in front of me being a little bit quicker, and holding me up as he wrestled his duffelbag from the overhead bin.  Had it not been for him, I might have been gone by the time Becky unfastened her seat belt, but as it was I was only four rows away, standing, as it turned out, right beside the bulkhead.
          The name she called me was nothing I hadn't heard before, and nothing that I won't hear again, probably. Eight letters, and the clue might read, "Above the shoulders, he's nothing but crap."  Of course, they don't put words like that in the Times crossword puzzle.  If they did, anyone could finish it.

David Sedaris


"You Democrats will never win back the red states
 if you keep refusing to go out with me."




Gaily bedight,
   A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
   Had journeyed long,
   Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

   But he grew old--
   This knight so bold--
And o'er his heart a shadow
   Fell as he found
   No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

   And, as his strength
   Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow-
   "Shadow," said he,
   "Where can it be--
This land of Eldorado?"

   "Over the Mountains
   Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
   Ride, boldly ride,"
   The shade replied--
"If you seek for Eldorado!"

                 --Edgar Allen Poe
                (9 Jan, 1989 -7 Oct 1849)


Should I get married? Should I be good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood?
Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell her all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets.
Then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying, You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms, lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night, the constellations in the sky-
When she introduces me to her parents,
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,
should I sit with my knees together on their 3rd degree sofa
and not ask Where's the bathroom?
How else to feel other than I am,
often thinking Flash Gordon soap-
O how terrible it must be for a young man,
seated before a family and the family thinking,
We never saw him before!  He wants our Mary Lou!
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living?
Should I tell them?  Would they like me then?
Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter
but we're gaining a son-
And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?
O God, and the wedding!  All her family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just waiting to get at the drinks and food-
And the priest!  He looking at me as if I masturbated,
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife?
And I, trembling what to say, say, Pie Glue!
I kiss the bride, all those corny men slapping me on the back
She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha!
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on-
Then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes
Niagara Falls!  Hordes of us!  Husbands!  Wives!  Flowers!  Chocolates!
All streaming into cozy hotels
All going to do the same thing tonight.
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen
The lobby zombies they knowing what
The whistling elevator man he knowing
Everybody knowing!  I'd almost be inclined not to do anything!
Stay up all night!  Stare that hotel clerk in the eye!
Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon!
running rampant into those almost climactic suites
yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel!
O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls
I'd sit there, the Mad Honeymooner.
devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of bigamy
a saint of divorce-
But I should get married, I should be good
How nice it'd be to come home to her
and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen
aproned young and lovely, wanting my baby
and so happy about me she burns the roast beef
and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair
saying Christmas teeth!  Radiant brains!  Apple deaf!
God what a husband I'd make! 
Yes, I should get married!
So much to do!  Like sneaking into Mr. Jones' house late at night
and covering his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books
like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower
like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence
like when Mrs. Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest
grab her and tell her, There are unfavorable omens in the sky!
And when the mayor comes to get my vote, tell him
When are you going to stop people killing whales!
And when the milkman comes, leave him a note in the bottle:
Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust!
Yet, if I should get married and it's Connecticut and snow
and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn,
up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me,
finding myself in the most common of situations, a trembling man,
knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear nor Roman coin soup-
O what would that be like!
Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus
For a rattle a bag of broken Bach records.
Tack Della Francesca all over its crib.
Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib
And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon
No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father
Not rural.  Not snow,  no quiet window,
but hot smelly tight New York City
seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls,
a fat Reichian wife, screeching over potatoes Get a job!
And five nose running brats in love with Batman
And the neighbors, all toothless and dry-haired
like those hag masses of the 18th century
all wanting to come in and watch TV.
The landlord wants his rent
Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus.
Impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking-
No!  I should not get married!  I should never get married!
But-imagine if I were married to a beautiful sophisticated woman
tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves
holding a cigarette holder in one hand and a highball in the other
and we lived high up in a penthouse with a huge window
from which we could see all of New York, and even farther on clearer days.
No, can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream-
O but what about love?  I forget love
--Not that I am incapable of love
It's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes-
I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother
And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible
And there's maybe a girl now but she's already married
And I don't like men and-
But there's got to be somebody!
Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married,
all alone in a furnished room with pee stains on my underwear
and everybody else is married!  All the universe married but me!
Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible-
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so i wait, bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.

Gregory Corso
Analysis Tannu Tuva Stamps from 1934