Tuesday, September 18, 2012

John Lambremont. Sr. - Poet
September 19, 2012

Hurricane Isaac has come and gone, and caused a lot of damage in south Louisiana, but we were lucky and were spared for the most part. Thanks to you all for your prayers and good wishes.

Speaking of wishes, here's a little poem of mine that got to "hit lead-off" in this summer's issue of Words & Images, the lit mag of the University of Southern Maine.


What we need is
auto bodies and parts
that are edible.

What we need is
is an instrument that
will make useless measurements
like the distance between
two nipples.

What we need is
velcro fasteners
between our knees and
a way of voiding
without the fuss, and

what we need is
a scenic overlook
of ourselves
that can be had
without leaving the car.

The recent hurricane did give us a lot of high winds. In a swirling tropical storm, the winds come in different directions at different times; in Isaac, the winds came first from the south, then from the east at the height of the storm, from the north after the center had passed, and from the west as the residual bands passed through.

This windy poem appeared previously in Acreage Journal:


Wind chimes at my window
a sextet in D,
long, silver cylinders,
no trinkets, these,
lull me into blissful nod
or cudgel me from sleep.

No thoughts can they compose,
but respond they to the wind rose;
they cannot distinguish
Boreas from Notus,
nor Zephyrus from Eurus,
who often anger to tempest in
gusts that send discord clanking
off the glass panes, or leave
in a huff for days, withholding
propulsion in disgust.
Like snowflakes, each sound-scape
is different; yet, some-how,
The Song Remains the Same,
whether mild or strident,
violent or quiet.
Sometimes, these Bells of
Rhymney are sounded in
drunken symphony by a rapt

It looks like the litigation involving the B.P. oil spill of two years ago that killed thirteen good people and harmed tens of thousands more is winding its way toward the end. I thus reprint this angry visual poem/rant that the disaster prompted in me, which was previously published in the U.K. in Disingenuous Twaddle:


                             I        &
                             am    no,
                             the   not
                              guy you,
                           to pass it
                        off as pure truth.
                       I have lived in the
                     shadow of the Big River
                    all of my days, and I know
                   the scent of the sea. I know
                  rivers, lakes, bayous, creeks,
                  marshes and swamps and canals,
                 oxbows, borrow pits, and oceans.
                  I have hiked the levees of the
                   muddy Mississippi , peed into
                   its currents, and crapped on
                    its banks. I have been and
                     am still a fisherman in
                      paradise. I have been
                       through hurricanes,
                        tornadoes, floods.
                         Now I don't know
                         if I should vent
                         or just go mad,
                        as once again we
                        are in the way,
                        and told it is
                       our own damned
                        fault for being
                        such dumb fools.

                        I remember the day
                        our Paulie, then age
                         four, fell into the
                          Mississippi River in
                           a final, nearly fatal
                            attempt to skip a rock
                             more than three times.
                              We'd finished our throws
                               and I said "Let's go now,"
                                and turned our backs, then
                                 heard a loud splash, and
                                 found Paulie in the water
                                  clinging grimly to a small
                                   patch of rocky ground, his
                                    feet swaying in the eddies.
                                    We pulled him out okay, and
                                    made a conscious decision not
                                    to tell his mom about it, no
                                   need to scare her with a thing
                                   that did not happen. We kept
                                  this secret for fifteen years.

                                 Many years laters, I found a
                                brass bust of Shiva, the god
                               of rivers, in a curio shop
                              in the French Quarter. His
                             hair was all snakes, and I
                            found his stern glare was
                           interesting. The price was
                          right, so I bought him and
                         took him home, and hung
                        him on our living room
                       wall. Everything then
                      turned immediately to
                     crap. No money would
                    come in, and no new
                   work could be found,
                  so quarrels ensued.

                 Then one night over
                Sunday dinner, the
                 tale about Paulie's
                  dip in the big river
                   was revealed, and his
                    poor mom was mortified.
                     She said we should have
                      told her about it right
                       away; she would have, as
                        would any wise Buddhist,
                         have set up an altar at
                          the point of his entry,
                           burned joss sticks and
                            offered flowers to the
                             kind river god for not
                              taking away her child.
                               No wonder, she told us,
                                that Paulie had been so
                                 beset with psoriasis and
                                  adolescent obesity; the
                                   god of the river wrought
                                    his revenge on Paul for
                                    our rude lack of thanks.

                                     I thought about this for
                                    many days, and I was well-
                                   determined to make amends.
                                  I took the Shiva with me
                                 downtown to the same spot
                                where Paul had taken his
                               plunge. I clasped Shiva
                              between my palms, and
                             I bowed and kow-towed 
                            ten times, giving the
                           god of the river our
                          thanks for sparing my
                         son, adding my true
                       apologies as I asked
                      for his blessings.
                      Then I hurled the
                     Shiva into the big
                      river as far as it
                       would go, and watched
                        it splash into the deep
                         water beyond the eddies.
                          Everything then took an
                           sudden turn for the better,
                             but my wife said I was silly.

                              I worked the tugs and crew boats
                               as a youth, through the canals and
                                in and out to the massive oil rigs
                                 we supported. I have seen injury
                                 and death come from mankind's
                                 pursuit of the almighty crude.
                                 The man-made canals were a
                                large part of the intrusion
                              of sea water that caused the
                             levees to fail after Katrina
                            barely touched New Orleans ;
                           but, through the greed and
                          short-sightedeness of our
                         so-called leaders, most
                        of The City That Care
                       Forgot went under ten
                      feet of water, and we
                      wonder still if anyone
                     cares, as much of Haiti
                     is being re-built faster
                      than is New Orleans East.

                       So now we have an "oil leak"
                        in the Gulf below the mouth
                         of the river due to the cheap
                          Charlies that run Blimey Petrol
                           and the rig-wrasslin' cowboys of
                            Holy Burton. This "leak" made an
                             oil slick bigger than Rhode Island ,
                              but where is the hue and cry like
                             we heard for the Exxon Valdez? Of
                             course, that was pristine Alaska
                            shore-line invaded, not a grubby,
                           trashy, Louisiana waste pit that
                          has nothing to offer but gators,
                         swamp rats, and mosquitos "as
                        big as birds," according to
                       one Alabama ass-clown's Net
                       missive. Oh, wait. The winds
                       are shifting. Mobile Bay and
                        the Emerald Coast are next.
                         You may have to cancel
                          your trip. That is a
                           real catastrophe,
                           eff the shrimpers,
                           fishers, crabbers,
                            processors, and
                            vendors at the
                             butt of the
                             food chain.
                              Your fish
                                you want 

Finally, I close with the second installment in my series about the foibles of the Holy Grand Poo-Bah, which was published previously in my first book, Whiskey, Whimsy, & Rhymes, available on Amazon.com and all major bookstore websites. (Book disclaimer: "The aging lawyer/warrior resuscitates his Muse to try to assuage his tired mind and aching soul, with mixed but interesting results.")


Grand Pooh-Bah did send
his troops to the fields
then to the Holy Gods
he faithfully kneeled

"Give us the strength, Lords
to conquer our enemies
please hear my words
and harken to my pleas!"

But the Boo-pahs fell back
again and again
mortally wounded
friend among friend

the Grand Poo-Bah looked on
and gnawed on his thumb
"Oh, well! What the hell,
plenty more where they came from."

That's all for now. Please send in your comments and critiques, and thanks.

John Lambremont, Sr.

P.S. Don't forget to visit our review, Big River Poetry Review, at bigriverpoetry.com!