THE BALLAD OF HARRY PALMS

THE BALLAD OF HARRY PALMS

 

His life was sweet no more because
His job two years ago
Was lost in economic storm.
Now, he was out of dough.

The winter came to reap his shame,
Unwelcome as he was,
Within his daughter’s basement, where
“Apply for Santa Claus”,

His daughter and her boyfriend gnawed,
“You’ve got to pay some rent!”
“But, we are Jewish!” Harry kvetched.
Yet up the stairs he went

Into the hall and out the door.
The blizzard was a shock.
The once and future Harry Palms
Behind him heard the lock.

His breath condensed into his beard,
His cheeks with cold did burn.
He got onboard the empty bus
Some money for to earn.

He got out at the Shopping Mall;
The stores so gaily lit.
Before he could apply himself
He had to give a shit.

Beside the bathroom stalls he stopped
And saw two men a’kissing.
He grabbed their collars, banged their heads.
They beat him.  Teeth a’missing,

Still Harry Palms had got the job
Of Santa Claus, First Shift.
“I guess my life is now complete”.
His pride he had to sift,

Like cat-box turds, beside his bed,
The night he set the clock
For five AM to catch the bus.
He couldn’t find his cock.

As Santa Claus he did preside
Above the World Toy™ scenes
For Children of Jerusalem,
Sponsored by Marines.

All day long the shoppers climbed
To leave their gifts of toys
And sit their children on his lap.
He almost lost his poise

When three young Persian girls appeared
In line to visit him
Dressed like ornaments with jewels
And voices like a hymn.

“I am Sofa Kush” one spoke
“And these, my sisters, be
Avesta and Daeva”.  Wise
Beyond her beauty she

Was dressed in gold, Avesta white,
And Daeva shaped in red.
The three of them leaned to his ears
And this is what they said:

Daeva: “Listen closely now,
To warn you we have come”.
Avesta: “Toys you gather here
Will harm Jerusalem”.

Said Sofa: “It’s the TNA”.
But Harry looked bemused.
“The Terror Net Alliances.
And we three stand accused

Of being traitors to our lords;
Mawlas, to whom we’re wives,
Will surely stone us three to death.
We offer you our lives:

Please help us save Jerusalem.
Allah’ cannot want this:
There are the toys that will explode
And open the Abyss.”

Poor Harry sat there so confused
Because their Sirens’ voice
Had spun enchanting arabesque
That left him with no choice

But to believe them; was he nuts?
They clearly were afraid
Of something that was going down
That wasn’t a charade.

He turned to find the host Marine
Did have his weapon drawn
And pointed at his geezer brains.
The three young girls were gone.

The mothers screamed and children ran
In chaos so appalling
The soldier had to drop his gun;
The Christmas Tree was falling

Onto his head.  The needles rained
And stuck him in the eyes.
He fell down to his knees and screamed
Vile curses to incise

Whoever had pushed o’er the Tree.
He swore in Farsi tongue
To cut the heart of those who laughed:
Three Persian girls so young

They could not hide their merry laugh,
For they had done the deed
To no Marine: a terrorist
Who thought he could mislead.

Poor Harry Palms had tumbled back
And fallen from the lair
Of Santa Claus, onto the floor,
At circling stars to stare.

“You must arise and follow us”,
He heard the Angel say.
She looked a lot like Sofa Kush
And so he did obey.

Into the Manger Scene they fled
And lifted Baby Jesus.
A trap-door opened at their feet,
So down there Harry squeezes.

Below, past tense and present fear
A tunnel lead them out
The Service Exit Door.  The girls
The parking lot did scout

As if they knew what should be, they
The World Toy™ truck did see
Without a guard nearby.  Not luck:
Avesta had the key.

So off they went with reckless speed.
On, Daeva! Sofa Kush!
Avesta! And on, Harry Palms,
But watch your sorry tush!

“Where do we go?” did Harry cry.
He saw they were pursued
By someone in a Cadillac.
He was not in the mood!

His basement room seemed pretty good,
Retreating in his mind.
If he could just get out of this
He nevermore would find

A fault within his broken life.
It always can be worse!
To Harry, like the Bible’s Job,
Jehovah seemed adverse,

Because just then they overturned
The World Toy™ truck and smashed
Right through the lobby, where the staff
Of Trumpet Towers dashed.

A shroud of smoke concealed the four,
Untangled from debris.
Avesta, Daeva, Sofa Kush,
And Harry all did flee

Into the elevator car,
Penthouse Floor they keyed
To where the Persian girls did live.
It cost not chicken feed.

But suddenly their motion stopped,
The elevator dead
One floor below the penthouse suite.
They exited instead

And ran into the studio
Of KABL Radio.
The three girls knew the DJ well.
The DJ exhaled, “Whoa”.

Kid KABL Rock, as he was known,
Did listen to the girls
As he stared at Santa Claus,
His stoner mind in whorls.

He locked-up tight the studio
In record time, for then
Upon the door fell pounding fists
Of several angry men.

Kid KABL Rock was monitoring
The evening TV news
That pictured Harry (Santa Claus)
“Police uncovered clues

That Santa Claus had helpers who
Conspired to steal each toy
Donated for Jerusalem
Baseerah, Hebrew, Goy.”

The World Toy™ lawyers fed the news
And Sofa Kush just knew
They had to broadcast their own side
To rescue what was true.

Kid KABL Rock was ‘way ahead
And sat down at the mike
To spread the “Siege of Santa Claus”
Which children wouldn’t like.

The children listened everywhere
To hear their hero speak.
Kid KABL Rock laid down the scene
And it was getting bleak:

“Our door those men are battering down,
With force to hit home-runs.”
Kid KABL Rock beseeched the kids
To get their parent’s guns.

“Come up to Trumpet Towers, all!
To station KABL Rock!
Help us to save Santa Claus!”
He rallied them ad hoc.

Avesta cried “Time’s running out!”
But Daeva had a scheme,
“If Kid can hack the broadcast net
We can send a beam

That reaches to Jerusalem
Before they land those toys.”
Kid KABL Rock was on the case;
“His talent he employs”,

Said Sofa Kush, “to hack for fun
The broadcast net before.”
Avesta held a cell-phone high,
“I took my husband’s phone.

It has the code to detonate
The high-explosive bombs,
Before the children have to die
And grief consume their moms.”

But Harry saw the door give-in
And shatter to the floor
As men crashed through and aimed their guns
Upon the other four.

What happened next was like dream
As Harry leapt between
The gunmen and the other four,
Screaming, so obscene,

As bullets patted Harry Palms,
And so did Santa slay,
Avesta plugged the cell-phone in
Where Kid KABL did say,

As Sofa Kush a doll did throw
Toward a gunman’s face,
Avesta pushed the icon dial
And blew the coup de grace,

So fire ate alive those men
And ruptured in the lobby.
The plane above Jerusalem
Was hailing Abu Dhabi,

When in a super-nova blast
It blew to smithereens
And starred above, just like all those
Nativity night scenes.

 

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DECEMBER IN THE RAILROAD WOODS

December in the railroad woods the sun is bright
and sky full of blue
but warmth is a cold memory.
I root myself on damp earth and I fill the barrel
with water for horses.
I revolve on the damp earth that blushes
with green new grass grateful for the plowing of horse hooves
and the rich horse turds
and the overflowing barrel of water,
the hose making the same sound as a horse pissing.
I see
therefore I exist
among the Eucalyptus woods planted a century gone
for the feeding of the iron horses, the steam railroad.
The clouds are hung over from a righteous night of  riotous rain.
I tap like rain against my iPhone.
Let this inside world outside.
My electrons howled in the Solstice of Winter,
the longest night of the year,
dwarfing the queen rat among the discarded couches
and the soggy rugs
and the exhausted tires
and the baby shoes
and the  lamb skulls.
A creek once scurried here but the loose silt
now holds the earthy remains of my dog
wagging with worms for the end of her drought.
The silt is damp now with redemption.
I raise up my cat to my shoulder.
My horse nudges me and nods.
The truck with alfalfa cometh.
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THE GRASSHOPPER IN WINTER

 

In all the facets of his eyes, with Meadow of the Valley burning green,
The rolling colors up and down the hillside shined, petted by the wind.
Galahad the Grasshopper did thus not need to dream,
Offering to Aesop Ant, in passing, morsels of a leaf that he did love,
From high atop the towering weed, from where his heart did leap,
Called Galahad to him below, “Hey, can you stop, Aesop, my friend, and watch the spring in beauty burn?”

Aesop Ant replied, “Well, meadows do that sort of thing”, and tilting head from toil’s burn,
“You will find the Meadow is not always green,
And what is real is dreadful preparation.  Somehow does the worst upon us always leap.”
Appalled at Aesop’s rude philosophy, cried Galahad into the wind:
“What of Love?”
Aesop Ant just smiled and waved good-bye, “Good luck with Love, a Dream.”

A shadow fell on Galahad, and startled him from Aesop’s troubling Dream;
Above him saw a Butterfly alight upon the flower, wings a prism interceding for the sunlight’s burn.
“Sorry to disturb your dreaming.  I am Bethanie.”  She sipped the flower she did love.
“I am Galahad.  It is a lovely day.” His armor never shone before so green.
And Bethanie enjoined, “I hid when I was just a silly little caterpillar, dreaming of the wind.
But now I raise my wings to me and into beauty soon shall leap!”

Into every facet of his eyes did Bethanie’s true beauty leap.
Galahad did nod with every movement of her wings, to hear as if he did thus deeply dream:
“But now is time to drink the world and spill no drop into the wind.”
Then suddenly was Galahad no longer happy; something in his eyes did burn.
Added Bethanie, “But, you are welcome to accompany my journey high above the green.”
Galahad restrained himself from leaping then and there, while saying “That, I would be sure to love.”

“Can you stay apace with me?” asked Bethanie, “No matter what you love?”
Galahad without restraint said, “Yes, I can.  For I can glide the farthest of them all after I leap.”
“Then let us go while sun still shines and all the grass is green.”
Away from Galahad she fluttered like a dream.
Galahad leapt to the sky, and spread his wings to glide; to leap and glide until his legs did burn.
Down the valley to unseen horizon blew the wind.

Galahad did slowly fall apace, and finally descry not Bethanie in bygone wind.
Heart of his, a beating compass, blindly pointed love
Until the sun of that first day was no more seen to burn,
And from behind, a full moon crouched and into stars did leap.
Galahad now found himself beside a tiny creek that fell into a sandy pool, inviting him to dream.
Wearily he nibbled on a leaf, and heavy was his armor, fading green.

Far away, a Cricket choir chirping helped his spirit into slumber leap,
Rekindling desire, cherishing an unforgotten Dream.
Something cold did his way whisper, withering that Dream so green.

Waking up most suddenly from all he thought were memories still green
Galahad felt fiercely cold and bitten by the wind.
In all the facets of his eyes were tears that froze that former Dream
Of springtime months ago; Of Love.
Winter cold was gnawing now upon his heart, to death if he away could no more leap.
Beyond the gloaming garden, thence he knew not when he fell, he smelled a farmhouse fire burn.

Shivering, an ember in his heart did once more flare and burn,
Shining in all facets of his eyes, again so brightly green.
A leap
Into the wind,
Gliding for his unseen Love
With their waiting Dream,

Narrowly ajar, an open window, shining bright, perchance another dream,
Through which Galahad could see a lusty fire burn,
Embracing in the fireplace a sweet dry branch with love.
And near the windowsill in colored lights bestrewn, there stood a Christmas tree still green.
Galahad nudged through the open window, as it kept at bay the wind,
To the Christmas tree then did he leap.

Sailing to the crowning star where with that faithful leap,
Galahad, now warm beside a golden light that shined just like his Dream,
Without the wolfish winter wind,
Within him fever still did burn,
Glowing tarnished armor green.
Thus did he believe delirium brought Bethanie, in visions of his Love.

Galahad was sure that now he truly saw his Love;
All the facets of his eyes across the room did leap
Above the mantle, on the wall, inside a frame of green,
Where Bethanie, transfixed as mid-flight in a dream,
Held her wings outstretched, where interceding shadows race and burn,
Everlasting in a chambered replica of wind.

Then Galahad in flashing horror saw a pin was driven through her back, to hold her in imaginary wind.
He cried out as he leapt across the void to be beside his Love.
Tapping frantically on glass reflections in which shadows race and burn,
Slipped and fell he to the hearth.  In paralyzed despair he watched for an eternity the hellish fire leap
Until the flames revealed his fate inside a final Dream.
Into the glowing ashes dipped he tattered wings that once were green.

With wings of fire, back up to the crucifixion chamber’s frame of green
Galahad did leap his last, to lie with Bethanie and immolate his Dream.
The mingled smoke did through the open window toward unseen horizon leap.

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