Thursday, December 13, 2007

Five themed poems by Peggy Landsman

Five poems
by Peggy Landsman


god isn't dead
we fired him

see him there with his head hanging down
trying to cut into line

he's been known to steal pencils from blind justice's cup

balding Sam
security guard two weeks from retirement
takes a second sizes him up

takes the bugger by the arm
tells him: I don't want no trouble
welcomes him to the end of the line

god isn't dead
we fired him

gross negligence
it's all in his permanent record

let the bastard go


Among the Ruins

Rivers are our mother's sweat
Oil is her blood
Trees make up her breathing skin
Sunlight is her god.

Our mother is unhealthy
Countless children--so unwise--
Poison matter to make themselves wealthy
Ignore spirit so long it must die.

Mater Dolorosa weeps
For Jesus and Quetzalcoatl
Mater Dolorosa weeps
In Aramaic and Nahuatl.

Disaster may loom in our future
We may soon disappear from the Earth
Our mother will bury all traces
Of our deaths, our lives, and our births.


Once a Philosopher, Twice a Fool

Almighty Pluto, all alone,
One empty dog-day afternoon
Kidnapped poor Persephone.
As she bent to pluck a flower,
He seized her by her delicate wrist.

She'd be damned, but she'd resist!
She screamed for help, she kicked, she scratched...
It did no good. She was dispatched.

He drove her down to his dark domain.
She picked at her dinner. She didn't complain.
The rest, as they say, is history.

Undone by underworldly power, Persephone fell.
Child's play for Pluto. He'd have his way.
Fait accompli in well under an hour.

But "poor" Persephone, my foot!

She and Pluto were in cahoots, carrying on,
Having a wonderful time passing that pomegranate around.

Persephone had no choice.
She had to resort to those theatrics.
A nice Greek goddess's girl like her,
So completely misunderstood.

She was seething after kicks,
Bored to death with being good.
She cooked up the whole thing
Complete with getaway and hideaway,
All the delicious details.

She and Pluto would have it all.

Did she smirk at the possibilities?
Pluck a narcissus for a souvenir?
Dribble pomegranate juice down her chin?

I bet the daring made the sex better.

But damn it! Any connoisseur will tell you:
The best crimes breed compromise.

Demeter wasted no time dithering--
Dialed direct to the higher-ups,
Threw her own weight around.

They didn't split the bargaining table
Till they agreed to split the goods.
Not one of them left happy. Not one of them left pleased.

Demeter raged that first winter.
Persephone sneezed,
Went through boxes and boxes of Kleenex in spring.
Pluto, for all his family connections,
Couldn't undo a goddamned thing.

Most gods, however, get used to new situations becoming eternal,
Take setbacks in their stride.

After a decent interval passed,
Demeter settled nicely into her new routine.
She grew complacent, fat with the joy of constantly expecting.

But Persephone still looks awful, haggard and anorexic.
All that traveling to hell and back--
Jet lag is having its way with her.

Pluto, meanwhile, has learned what hell helplessness can be,
But hellbent on saving Persephone,
He's perfecting the perfect plan.

There will be no shadow of a doubt
If he ever works this mother out!

He and his bride will sink together
Far past the reach of clement weather;
The earth herself will admit forever:
Pluto's god enough to be a man.


Ungodly Headaches

Athena sprang full-grown, full-clad, from the head of Zeus, her dad.
(By Jove, that must have hurt a tad!)

Product of pure paternity, well-armored Wisdom never smiles.
She is her father's favorite child--
He trusts his thunderbolt to her.
When he's brought down by fierce migraines,
Athena knows he's in the throes of phantom labor pains.

I'm a sucker for mythology, devour Bulfinch and Hamilton translations.
When I suffer from migraines, I blame my ruminations.
Sometimes there is no remedy as good as sweet Mnemosyne,
Sometimes a hint from Hera aids...
But, mon dieu, those midnight raids!

I don't believe Greek myths I've read.
I know what I know: All gods are dead.
Yet, godly forces seize me.
On the darkest nights they dare
Wage war against my atheist pride on battlefields of air.

I lament Immortals have to lose.
I've only headaches. No faith in the Muse.

Unless...These headaches I suffer from
Herald a whole new Pantheon!
High time a new generation's created.
Look how long since Greece we've waited.

But first let's set the record straight,
Open the files on Athena-gate:
Fearing her awesome female power might topple his Olympic Ivory Tower,
Zeus swallowed pregnant Metis whole,
Claimed credit for Wisdom's conception, consolidated his control.

But Wisdom in the womb was wise, waited till she'd grown full size.
Her shining armor would be well worn 'ere she caved in to being born.

Now I've satisfied my pregnant cravings.
Here come those cranial labor pains.
My thoughts, my elevated.
How goddesses should be created!

True Wisdom from my head will sprout.
She'll be a good daughter. She'll know her own mother.
We'll work our family problems out.
Modern Wisdom--delightful, joyous child
Will wear no armor but a smile.


Hell Hath No Fury

Eurydice plays the glockenspiel
Smiles since Orpheus left
Feels as good as a gal can feel
Not at all bereft.

Persephone mixes fruit drinks
Wears muumuus and colorful beads
Throws away those damn diet pills
Thanks heaven for pomegranate seeds.

Pluto retreats to his study
Shuts out those joyful ladies
Ever since they followed him down
No "Home Sweet Home" in Hades.

Eurydice plays that glockenspiel
Persephone pours those drinks
The dead have one helluva time in hell
Till every circle sinks.

Author bio:

Peggy Landsman's poetry and prose has been widely published in both online and print literary anthologies and journals,including The Muse Strikes Back (Story Line Press), The Largeness the Small Is Capable Of (Score Press), Bridges (Indiana University Press), Calyx, The Kerf, Thema, Poetica, Moondance, Spindle, and issue 6 of Clockwise Cat. Her first poetry chapbook, To-wit To-woo, is available from FootHills Publishing. Peggy lives in Pompano Beach, Florida.

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