Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Homunculus of Frank O'Hara

I no longer take the homunculus
of Frank O'Hara onto the plane
with me. Have grown tired
of having to place it
in the perspex tray
along with my lighter, cigarettes,
keys, watch, wallet, spectacles –
yes, I know there's three-quarters
of a racially stereotypical joke
in there; but having no desire
to irradiate my gonads
I have never taken off my
testicles to complete the punchline.

The homunculus travelled peacefully
enough most times. But every so
often, especially when the flight
was delayed, he'd be set off
by the X-ray machine, would
suddenly exclaim "my quietness
has a man in it" in a voice  
that contradicted the words
& then I'd be up against the wall
being searched for stowaways.

Before him I'd taken Bach
with me. He'd mainly hum. The
machines would gradually
pick up the theme &
purr along in perfect
counterpoint. Caught up
by the harmony all around
even the security guards
would display a courtesy &
politeness that was exemplary.
Never a problem until the day
J.S. got asked to remove
his periwig & promptly launched
into a performance of
his Toccata & Fugue in D Minor
that shook the terminal. Then
came the Brandenburgs, & planes
started falling from the sky.

Magritte has been my companion
on the last few flights. So far
nothing to report. He is the
perfect gentleman. Takes off
his overcoat & lays it flat
on the belt, followed by
his bowler hat which he places
in such a way it completes
the outline of a man. Then
we walk through the metal
detector together, quietly,
eating apples. It's hard to tell
who the terrorists are these days.

2 comments:

Ivy said...

mark, I know this comment might irk [mildly] because, you know, it doesn't elucidate or pick apart the poem but I like it.

Kirsten Kaschock said...

May I humbly suggest Nijinski as a possible flight companion? Although insane, he had some much-remarked upon talent at loft... This idea, as you can tell, entrances.