Too much caffeine, so I’m awake with these
annoying mini-spasms. They’ve no name.
I try to get some sleep; I play a game
reciting poems. And when my feet don’t freeze
my poets lullabye me even if,
like Robinson in “Demos,” he or she
has written as though English might not be
their native tongue. Such pieces are more dif-
ficult to summon up. There’s times I’ve gone
more than an hour, almost until dawn
before the brain gave out and sleep came on.
But poetry of late has not fatigued
my mind sufficiently, I’ve come to find,
since I recite, of course, what I’ve assigned
myself to learn. I’m puzzled, I’m intrigued
far more, indeed I’m fairly hypnotized
when ambushed by a challenge to fill in
a blank, or failing, suffer my chagrin.
It’s Trivial Pursuit, but customized.
Who acted Mama Corleone? She
was black, a singer. She eluded me
night after night and days too, tauntingly.
Sure, you remember Bob and Ray, no doubt,
as I do with the soft New England brogue
one of them had. But wait — who was that rogue
(Three syllables,) the roving racetrack tout?
He’d get them on the telephone and then
he’d want some money wired and when Ray
would turn him down, he’d ask for Bob and say —
when Bob said no — he wanted Ray again.
But what’s the name? Sarcastic’ly I thank
whoever brewed that extra cup I drank.
I chase (three syllables) and draw a blank.
Now my Inquisitor demands I delve
into my recollection on the chance
that I can name the last book of A Dance
to the Music of Time. Yes. Volume Twelve.
Anthony Powell — but he pronounced it “Pole –”
played subtle ironist and he took care
that when he wrote “finis,” that book should bear
the final number that a clock would toll.
Well, I’ll sleep better now, be more at ease
no longer plagued by unsolved mysteries:
(Morgana King, Steve Bosko (yes!) and
Hearing Secret Harmonies.)
So, having tracked these fugitives down, I’m
deserving of some relaxation time.
But no, I lie awake in search of rhyme.