MT 1-10 Swine Flu Hits the Monkey Temple

IMG_0066 (2)

MT 1-10
Swine Flu Hits the Monkey Temple

(after a Fable by Lafontaine and with memories of Bakhtin
and his upside-down worlds of Carnival and the Antipodes)

Swine flu has struck the temple.
Unter– monkeys sniffle and grovel,
blaming each other for their snuffles.

They request a platypus duck to oversee a kangaroo court
with chief scapegoat monkey absent of course.

The unter-monkeys sit in a circle,
where all are equal but some are more equal than others.
They pass a lyre bird feather round and round,
weeping crocodile tears and lying through
the tight monkey grins of their alligator teeth.

A black-capped chickadee lends his cap to the platypus duck
who then pronounces sentence,
“There is no defence: guilty, in absentia, guilty as charged.”

“Fumer l’herbe d’autrui? Quel crime abominable!”* **

*”Smoking someone else’s grass, what an abominable crime.”
** “Manger l’herbe d’autrui? Qel crime abominable!”
LaFontaine: Les animaux malades de la peste.

 

 

 

MT 1-9 Monkey Turns Down Promotion

img_0186

MT 1-9
Monkey Turns Down Promotion

 “I hereby appoint you head of the asylum.”
The young office monkey with the plastic stethoscope
was dressed neatly in a white sheet.

“Dr. Freud, I presume?”
Monkey held out his hand
but his witticism was lost in a flood of water
flowing from the flush and over the floor.

Monkey stood there, paddling in piddle.

Inmates with crowded heads and vacant faces,
fools grinning at a universe of folly,
paddled beside him.

He wiped a sick one’s drool from his sleeve.

The office boy spat on his hands,
slicked down his hair,
and placed his stethoscope on monkey’s heaving chest.

“You have no pulse.”

“How do you know I have no pulse?
Surely, you cannot hear my heart
for you have a banana stuck in your ear.”

“Speak up!” said the doctor, “I cannot hear you:
I have a banana stuck in my ear.”

Then monkey felt fear.

Daylight diminished and waters closed over his head.
He spurned the proffered paw,
the life belt thrown by the offer of a new position.

Exit monkey left, pursued by a chorus:
“Run, monkey, run!”

 

MT 1-8 Monkey’s Verdict

IMG_0457

Monkey’s Verdict

(After George Orwell’s Animal Farm,
an inverted Mr. Micawber, and a Gower proverb) 

Although monkey has been the primus primate inter pares,
he has never done anything himself,
so he reduces all competitive monkeys to his own level
by negating anything they have ever done.
Only then, will he be their equal.

“All monkeys are equal,
but some monkeys are obviously
more equal than others!”

Here, in the temple’s garbage dump,
monkey finds the lowest of the low,
scratching for fleas and baring
their yellowed, monkey teeth.

They scrabble in the temple’s garbage,
searching for something,
anything to reject yet again.

Monkey writes anonymous letters
with a poisoned pen.
He conceals his hand
and throws ambiguous stones.
He has learned from blows
delivered to another monkey’s head
and has become a wise monkey:

Monkey’s template for survival in the temple:
“Dick other monkeys before they can dick you!”

Primus primate steadily ascends
the monkey puzzle tree:
but the higher he climbs,
the more he reveals
his asshole.

 

Triage

img_0185

Triage
A stitch in time

1

Banality or stupidity: how
did the knife slip from its intended path
and end up slicing through my finger? Blood

everywhere, oozing, then pumping, flowing
freely, deep ugly, red, between fleshy
cliffs, the wound’s edges. Chaotic, shrill pain,

short, sharp shocks, cold water flowing, flushing
out the sudden gulley, cleansing, thinning
my life’s liquid. Little finger, left hand,

right down to bright bone. Instant recall, first
aid course. Sheet from paper towel, staunch, press
down, pressure, find gauze, bandages, scarlet

ink, my blood, not royal blue. Take bathroom
towel, run down corridor to garage,
leaving fresh blood spoor, the cat following,

sniffing, licking the floor, hand clumsy on
steering wheel, drive to emergency, fast.

2

Three nurses attend me. The first completes
the triage, stops the bleeding, bandages
my hand, gauze pads press down, sends me to wait.

Second nurse inserts needles, kills the nerve,
cleans the wound, sews my little finger up.

Three stitches. A tubular dressing. Time
now for third nurse, anti-T-jab, checks me
for PTSD, smiles sadly, sends me home.

MT 1-7 Monkey’s Cage Rage

Chaos

Monkey’s Cage Rage
(Remembering  Dylan Thomas:
“Do not go gentle into that dark night…”)

“Do not go gentle!”
Monkey’s sharp teeth gnaw holes in the safety blanket;
a fist in the darkness, he punches the pillow, again and again,
until the dark fist tires and rage falls silent.

Angry words are forged in iron.
Monkey wants to rage, rage, rage,
against blind bars which bind him.

In dawn’s frail light, cage bars are less visible.
Iron bars seem softer in the silence
of their invisible, silken gloves.

This barred and barren cage
in which he bangs his head against the bars
means all the world to monkey.

But how can monkey lament the loss of liberty
when he wasn’t born free?

 

MT 1-6 Monkey Gets Cabin Fever

 

IMG_0473

MT 1-6
Monkey Gets Cabin Fever

Monkey has worked for forty years
among foreigners and lunatics,
afraid of the rats who keep him company,
devoured by his monkey lust
to drive silver knives and forks
through the watch springs
of their inhuman, foreign hearts.

Is there a gem concealed in those hearts,
he wonders, a blood-red heart stone,
like the jewel in the crown
of the green toad’s throbbing skull?

Monkey explores new territories
with his knife and fork.
He lifts the flap on the ventricle’s
dark, pulsing cave,
and is aware of bright red sparks:
blood diamonds, perhaps?

Rose petals gently bleed.
Monkey wipes his scalpel on his ruby apron,
and opens another heart,
searching one more scarlet oyster
for the perfect mystery of its imperfect pearl.

 

 

Roger Moore’s Monkey Temple is available on Amazon.