Since I am still involved in a massive project of my wife’s …
… as well as trying to finish up a print column for the Boise Weekly by the Wednesday deadline, my writing opportunities for this blog continue to become more rare with each passing day. As of 15 minutes ago (on this Sunday evening the day before my normal Monday posting), I not only had nothing prepared for tomorrow, but I had no ideas for anything to prepare.
Yes, I have announced several times already that it’s likely I will be cutting back on what has been, since July last, a rather rigid schedule. But frankly, I have had trouble weaning myself away from feeling obligated to put something into Mr. Cope’s Cave on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, even if perhaps empty space would have been better.
Ten minutes ago, I stumbled over a solution. I have over 1100 old BW columns stashed away, collecting virtual dust and Macintosh mouse turds, and I have decided to re-run some of them now and then, particularly if they bear some relevance to more recent events. The one I have chosen to resurrect today was published December 23, 2015, just as the presidential campaign was revving up. I believe that if nothing else, it will demonstrate how little my sentiments have changed in a year and a half.
A Not-So Christmas Carol
Dear readers, as this is the last column before Christmas Day, I have a little something special for you. It’s a poem. I hope you like poetry. I actually don’t, much. The truth is, the older I get, the more I dislike poetry, especially the modern stuff. All too often, it sounds like someone with cognitive dissonance just saying whatever crosses his mind. I usually end up feeling like I want to shake the poet by the shoulders and scream in his face “Why don’t you just get to the goddamn point!?”
On the other hand, I do like what is commonly referred to as “doggerel,” defined as “trivial, awkwardly written verse.” But I like it anyway. Doggerel dances along merrily with skippy rhythms, and it rhymes. I like to read rhyme, and I like to write it. Never do I think harder about a word than when I’m trying to find a rhyme for it, and I like thinking about words. I like thinking about where they came from, the nuances they carry within them, why one syllable is given stress over another. I like thinking about what our mouths go through to say them—all the lip-poppin, palate-smacking and tongue-scrunching that goes on just to get out even the simplest of words. Just picture all of the acrobatics your mouth is going through whenever it says, say, “Massachusetts.” Or “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Phew!
I especially like thinking about the tonal qualities of words. The notes we strike when we voice a word, and the music we make when we string them together. Is a word a “flute” word?—quick on its feet and light as a feather—or a “bassoon” word, all somber and bearish and oozing gravitas?
You’ve noticed how some words carry within them an atmospheric resonance that extends beyond their strict definition, and on into whatever rhymes with them. “Doom,” for instance—is there not a distinctive vibe that comes with the very enunciation? But wait … listen to the rhymes of “doom”: gloom, boom, fume, exhume, loom, tomb, Brit Hume—see what I mean? Certainly not a cheery chi, is it? It’s onomatopoeia taken to a primitive level, I’m convinced: a hold-over from those ancient nights when Neanderthals were squatting around meager fires, experimenting with differing grunts and groans to communicate their misery.
But, back to that poem I wrote for you. It, too, is not a particularly cheery chi, but I believe it’s appropriate for the season. Perhaps not the season you have in mind, two days before Christmas, but a season, nevertheless.
Prithee We Whump the Plumpish Grump
Our times have soured, or so it seems,
From so many jarring bumps;
That shake our faith when turned to memes
And thrown at us in clumps.
They’d have us feel it’s all gone bad,
Those curs of the G-O-P sump;
They’ve spread the fear of mass jihad,
And fooled the dumb as Gump
It’s by design, you have to see,
Contrived and meant to stump;
We’re now so scared our pants we pee,
Transformed to quiv’ring lumps.
It’s worst from one I’m loath to name—
An especially repellent schlump—
For every reference builds his fame,
Helping him his rivals thump
Worse’n all the rest, this noxious turd,
this boor with hair so frump;
As dev’lish as King Dick the Third,
Except without the hump.
We mustn’t let ourselves be led
By such a mouthy chump;
Whose whole appeal depends on dread
Of horrors up which he’ll pump.
You know the one of whom I warn,
That fascistic horse’s rump.
He who was so scabrous born
Donald J. “Asshole” __________!