Sunday, February 13, 2011

Don't Make Me Laugh

This Sharpest Thrill

Don't make me laugh. Sure, I'm uxorious,
But my wife, beautiful, devoted, smart,
Has earned the full devotion of my heart.
Our love, resplendent and victorious,
Is unassuming, not vainglorious
Or overweening. From the very start
We felt less calm, less whole, less well apart,
And parting always seemed laborious.

But sometimes, when we have to separate,
We keep ourselves aloof, sure, steady, still,
By courtesy and by an act of will.
She is nevertheless my perfect mate.
Please understand that I don't call it fate;
Don't make me laugh. I choose this sharpest thrill.

Love's Triumph

Don't make me laugh. I'm now so furious
That I've been shouting at the long-necked geese
That fly past my front yard. Uneasy peace
Descends on us, but I'm still curious:
Is it a kindness, or injurious?
I'm told that all hostilities will cease,
The indigent will get a wage increase,
And love will triumph. It's all spurious.

Proclaiming "Amor vincit omnia,"
They promise everything, but won't deliver.
There are a hundred arrows in their quiver,
None magical, and in your viscera
You're thinking how we fixed the Kiowa.
They say, "Don't make me laugh. Cry me a river."

Romantic Tropes

Don't make me laugh. This is nefarious,
Your bland insistence on romantic tropes,
Ill-built on plaintive cries and foolish hopes,
The dreams cruel, the joys vicarious.
The sad, defrocked vicar can't marry us,
Amid his miscellaneous hemp ropes,
Transaxles, animals carved out of soaps,
And driftwood clubs, many and various.

You might as well claim he's your fiancé;
He's something of a reticent mooncalf
And easily convinced ­— don't make me laugh.
It's written on your face, as plain as day:
What you desire I want to toss away.
It is detritus, sweetheart. It is chaff.

Learning How to Whistle

Don't make me laugh. I've gotten serious
Since learning how to whistle. Like the sound
Of harness bells, or dogs sniffing the ground,
It's neither humble nor imperious,
Not useful, smart, or deleterious,
But natural, commonplace, always around,
Unreasoned, unrestrained, unbowed, unbound,
And unexpectedly delirious.

We're having an adventure and a half
Since learning how to whistle. In a haze
Of indecision, imprecision, greys
And sepia tones, an old photograph
Shows where we've travelled from. Don't make me laugh.
I've gotten serious, these last six days.