Archive for the ‘Verse’ Category

I’ve stuffed my Shelf with loads of learned Lumber,
Like Kant, and can’t let sleeping dogmas slumber.
“A little Learning is a dangerous Thing”?
Not so! A cat can look upon a King.
If Indy Ana Jones has not the means—
Nor Wit nor Art—to be the Pope of zines,
The best that I can do will have to serve
And others must decide what I deserve.

Mike Gunderloy, in nineteen-eighty-two,
Decided he’d begin a Zine Review.
*And even now, in nineteen-ninety-eight,
*His Factsheet 5 is still around, still great
*(Though, Some would say, collapsing from its Weight).
They usually find something nice to say,
Or don’t condemn things outright, anyway.
Doug Holland‘s Zine World follows no such Rule;
Indeed, they’ve been accused of being cruel.
In my Opinion, Critics shouldn’t shrink
From telling Readers what they really think:
Forgiveness can be less Divine than Vain;
We shouldn’t err by being too Humane.
I’ve often Thought (but never well Expressed)
That this is so. Yet Action is the test.
And, as for That, quite frequently I find
It’s easier to be a Bit too kind.
So even if I think a Zine’s no good,
I’ll seldom say so clearly, as I should.
I haven’t got the Nerve for Zine World‘s Style
(Although, one time, I did call Pop Smear “vile”).
*The Reasons why aren’t very hard to see:
*I’d like to keep on getting Zines for free
*And do as I’d have Others do to me.
Since Everyone knows Everyone (the World of Zines is small),
And Nature‘s major Masterpiece is being there at all,
I must confess, quite frequently I’ve tried
To keep from hurting anybody’s Pride.
Here, in any Case, are some Reviews.
I hope you like ’em. Read The Ten Page News.

Advertisements

If we had time enough, and money,
This life of ours would just look funny.
We’d sit and plan each ample day:
How much to work, and when to play,
And who to talk with, what to see,
And where to spend eternity,
And which immortal works of art
To study till we’d learned by heart.
Then I could take, if i should choose
Ten years to make each Ten Page News.

But on my back a monkey hollers,
And nothing shuts him up, but dollars.
And so, I spend my too-short hours
In serving vast and unseen powers.
A job’s a grave and solemn duty;
Our need for cash outranks mere beauty.

Now, therefore, let us, while we might,
Unleash our zines, however slight.
The main thing is to get it made
So we’ll have something new to trade
And, if we never get it done
Quite right, still we’ll have had some fun.

gaff my wheel (2009)

Here we go again
It’s another phony friend
Pretending that they’re oh so glad
They’ve found ya
Until you can escape
It’s emotional rape
You haven’t got a chance
When they’re all around ya
And they always seem to know
Right where to find me
And start right in
To own me or define me
I will somehow make ’em see
That that can never be
Get Away From Me With Your Lies

GAFMWYL Mister Salesman
GAFMWYL You flirt, you tease
GAFMWYL You politician
Get away from me you dread disease
Pretty please

Get away from me
With your phony sympathy
I can see what you want
In your eyes
All you want from me
Is that I should agree
That I’m the kind of guy
You should despise
But you really oughta pick
A better victim
Some sucker who won’t even know
You’ve picked him
I will somehow make you see
That your victim can’t be me
So get away from me
With your lies
Posted by r. r. vlorbik at 2:18 PM
(last year’s model.)

Blue Car, Blue Car (1998)
I finally got a learner’s permit
at age nineteen in Thousand Oaks,
where I’d been living like a hermit
on coffee, pot, and rum-and-cokes.
Now, back in school, a lack of patience
for classes during my vacations
had kept me out of Driver’s Ed.
But something had to give. I said,
“Of course I’d rather do things my way,
and walk, or thumb, or ride my bike.
But I can’t have things as I’d like.
This California’s one big highway!
It’s best to take things as they are.
I’d better learn to drive a car.”

And so my then-best-friend, Bob Shaffer,
agreed to bring me up to speed.
“I know a car that you could pay for.
I’ll teach you everything you need.”
“But what about repairs?” “Don’t panic!
This car was owned by a mechanic!
It’s in great shape! It runs just fine!
It sounded like that classic line:
“The only owner was some granny
who never drove”, but Bob was right.
I got the car that very night:
a sixty-three, push-button tranny,
Plymouth Valiant, not much rust.
It turned out worthy of my trust.

I made a hundred dollar payment
and owed another; then I’d bought
it. Breaking up the debt this way meant
I could pay with ease–I thought.
But then my boss at Howard Johnson’s–
whose every word was arrant nonsense–
said “Although it pains me, I
have got to let you go. Goodbye.”
(I thought I knew his secret reason:
I’d worked there for about a year,
and paid vacations cost them dear.
It’s always bellboy-shafting season.)
So even though I had enough
to make the payment, it was rough.

And so at last I started learning
how to drive. At least, I tried!
My second night, as I was turning
(way too fast and far too wid,
which should have been a minor error),
I saw a car and froze in terror,
making it a big mistake.
At last, too late, I hit the brake.
I’d caused a little fender-bender.
The other guy, whose car I’d hit
was more than fair, I must admit.
A small amount of legal tender
satisfied him–not too bad!
I called and got it from my dad.

The testing had me really worried
and, in fact, I failed it. Twice.
But then I got a guy who hurried
once around the block. How nice!
To earn the necessary rating
depended less on skill than waiting.
(I might have known from back in school
that grades are like that as a rule.)
I drove my Valiant to Laguna
to show my dad the famous dent.
He thought his money quite well spent;
he only wished I’d done it sooner.
He always hoped I’d leave the stage
of wayward youth and come of age.

But that’s another, longer, story
and not the one I came to tell.
I’m sticking to the task before me.
I think you’ll find it’s just as well.
Enough to say that now that twenty
years have passed, I’ve grown up plenty–
but still today, without a doubt,
I need a lot of bailing out.
Returning to my car: it never
once broke down, though there was once
I thought it had but like a dunce
I hadn’t checked the gas tank. Clever!
They’ll never make a fool-proof tool
as long as there’s a perfect fool.

Once I had the driving habit
I gave the car up as a loss.
I had a chance–and chose to grab it–
to move to Vegas with my boss.
It didn’t take a lot of thinking;
we’d sleep till noon, and then start drinking,
and work as little as we could
at cleaning carpets. Life was good.
But I was broke, as was my pattern,
and owed my landlord two months rent.
He got the car and off I went.
From then until I bought my Saturn–
that is, till fifteen years had passed–
that Valiant was my first and last.

At thirty-five, I got a fairly
well-paid job. But I lived far
enough away that I could barely
get around without a car.
I’ve never liked to deal with dealing–
a root canal is more appealing–
and so, I chose the one brand name
that cheated everyone the same
and wouldn’t make me drive a bargain
to drive a new car off their lot:
in short, a Saturn. Still, I got
a song-and-dance and empty jargon
about the warranty. Till Hell
completely freezes over, dealers sell.

I had a girlfriend, Betsy Baxter,
in Bloomington (my old home town).
I e-mailed, phoned (but never faxed) her,
and every weekend, drove around
five hundred miles in any weather
so we could have some fun together.
I married her, she finished school,
and then I learned I’d been a fool
for thinking that our love was thriving.
We hadn’t lived together long
when she decided we’d been wrong.
As long as it was mostly driving
back and forth from state to state
our marriage really worked out great.

Of course my car was bought on credit:
the price tag was eleven grand.
In sixty months, I’d finally get it
free and clear—or so I planned.
My enemies contrived to spoil it;
my whole career went down the toilet
(it might have lasted longer, but
I wouldn’t keep my big mouth shut).
I lived six months on unemployment
and credit cards whose interest rates
would ruin even William Gates.
Then, after all the fun enjoyment—
no job in sight—the bills came due.
So I went bankrupt. Wouldn’t you?

My two divorces, uncontested,
had, legally, been not too bad.
For this, though, common sense suggested
the banks would go for all I had.
My wife, the former Shauna Kearney,
referred me to a good attorney
who looked at my accounts with me
and, taking out a hefty fee,
said, “Well, this car’s worth too much money.
Depreciation’s cut the cost,
but not enough. And so, you’ve lost
because you’ve saved. It’s funny
but that’s the way things sometimes are.
You’ll keep the rest; they’ll get the car.”


tomorrow, the black morning

… but i’ve lost control of that one.
so here it is again. with a photo
from “vlorbik unstrung”.

the music isn’t by me, of course. “stealing”
already-well-known tunes was good enough for
joe hill and woody. and dylan. so it’s good
enough for me.

i easily figured out the main “trick” in playing it
but haven’t practiced it enough (even now) for
public performance.

Photo on 6-3-16 at 10.59 AM

negatively fifth street (2015)

a drifter escaped from a boxcar/ denouncing obviously jive believers/ has a zine about it in the catalog/ but nobody can work the damned randtrievers/ and the cats are praying in the alley/ and the pool shark is chalking up his cue/ an’ i’m out lookin’ for my lady/ down on kirkwood avenue

jesse, he’s round the corner/ buskin in front of the bird/ doesn’t bother him if no-one stops to listen/ doesn’t bother him if they don’t like the words/ and some violence boys might come and beat him down/ and he’ll forgive ’em more than i could ever do/ but that’s nothin compared to what’s goin on/ back on kirkwood avenue

a melancholy cougar/ buys a hoagie from a clown/ there’s a tempest brewing somewhere/ and there’s panthers on the other edge of town/ and the goddess of gloom and the jester/ are doin’, that thing they love to do/ in a video montage/ at the parking garage/ on kirkwood avenue

a cloud of marijuana/ is obscuring the people in the park/ or maybe i’m just losing my eyesight/ or maybe it’s just getting close to dark/ an’ the tournament game was a victory/ so now it’s turnin’ into a zoo/ an’ the riot squad and the thunder god/ are on kirkwood avenue

one song
two chords
three frets
four verses

one story
two versions
three gods
four horsemen

one people
two jews
three opinions
four gospels

one planet
two choices
three directions
four dimensions

uuce.net.
the schedule as of now… according to
my understanding as of now… is wrong;
i’ll *not* talk next week. but soon.
on “gospel exegesis” (as announced here).
or not.

some remarks on a talk there by me (9/2012).
thanks, rick!

“this next one’s a masterpiece”,
i’ll’ve said in introducing
the devil and mr. blake
(the words, not the tune…)

Luke 1–5: A Sestina
“Vlorbik”, 1997

Zechariah was a godly man;
Elizabeth, his wife, a worthy woman.
Gabriel, a messenger from God,
told them that she soon would bear a child,
and John, their son, would grow to baptize Jesus.
But Zechariah didn’t have much faith.

Then Gabriel told Mary full of faith
that even though she’d never known a man
she’d bear the Son of God, the baby Jesus:
“The Lord is with thee, oh most blessèd woman!”
And when, in Bethlehem, she’d borne this child
the hosts of Heaven sang in praise of God.

As Jesus grew up, wise and favored of God,
at twelve years old he went to teach the faith
to teachers in the Temple, though a child.
The Devil, when he’d grown to be a man,
tried tempting him, like any man or woman,
but found he had no power over Jesus.

In Nazareth, the people said that Jesus
could never be the chosen one of God.
But Jesus said, “Elijah met a woman,
who wasn’t Jewish, yet she had such faith
that God had chosen her to meet this man,
Elijah, who would resurrect her child.

You Nazarenes, who knew me as a child,
will not believe that I, your neighbor, Jesus,
might be more than an ordinary man.
And yet, I say to you, almighty God
would have you as his bride if you had faith,
but as it is, you’re like a fallen woman.”

In Capernaum, Jesus healed a woman
and Simon Peter, husband of her child,
decided he’d become a man of faith,
and fish for men with John and James and Jesus.
Then Jesus showed them by the grace of God
that sins can be forgiven by a man.

Envoi
“Everyone with faith,” said Our Lord Jesus,
“Is like a child of our Father, God,
and full of love for every woman and man.”

i was at an all-time peak of productivity
in verse-and-fiction at around this time
(and most of the best stuff went into the
ten page news
). somewhere in there i
figured i’d try a sestina.

here’s a great trick i stole from the masters:
steal from the masters. “my soul doth magnify
the lord” has been popular for centuries; you
can hardly go *wrong* with material like that.
another trick: pick easy end-words related to
the “theme”. two triples? (man-woman-child and
god-jesus-faith.) so much the better.

i remark now… as i could not have done then…
that the permutation-pattern found in sestinas
is vaguely reminiscent of my “Mister-Big-Pie-O”
construction permuting colors-of-the-rainbow
in such a way as to reveal an interesting
interplay of “algebra” and “geometry”
(so called… it’s only marks on paper,
folks).

anyway, once you’ve got an already-well-
-loved story to tell, mashing it up into
a simply-defined form using common-in-
-context vocabulary is simply a matter
of trying stuff out until something fits
(and doesn’t offend the ear too *damn*
badly). then keep going over and over
it until improvements stop suggesting
themselves. the whole thing took maybe
part of an afternoon; whoever keeps
spreading around this rumour that
sestinas are hard probably has
limericks or haiku in mind by way
of contrast.

is whether a circle is round.
in a paper by erdos
published in kurdish
a counter-example is found.

a question both real and complex
is whether a sphere is convex
the problem’s proposer
the famed leo moser
believes it depends on the sex.

or so i’ve read somewhere.
lucky for you, that’s all i’ve memorized.
here’s sue v.’s math poetry wiki.