London Mystic Topaz

Grey flannel short
makes me look like her
the former consort

    we got
      Prince Albert in a can
    we got
      Pop on ice

{ I got …
I got …
       …  …  …  ask for anything more? }

not you babe, woman with fake sword
praticising tai chi
outside in the driveway
flogging the blogger

retrieving the bodies
of the ebola dead

The “got” thing (instead of “have”) bugs me. Possum Trot, which was a roadside attraction in the California Mojave Desert, had a sign reading, “We don’t know where ma is, but we got pop on ice…”
One curious thing about the Gershwins’ American in Paris is that Gene Kelly’s character is called Gerry Mulligan: few Americans in 1951 knew who this was, as the jazz artist had not recorded anything yet. The quote from “I got rhythm” leaves out the words he doesn’t sing (“rhythm” “music” “my gal”), three things for which you could not ask for more…of course thinking about it now I should be writing odes on Leslie Caron in her blue satin leotard. The most memorable poems today are often song lyrics from the likes of Cole Porter, Lee Perry or Ian Drury. A few people quote lines from W C Williams’ “Red Wheelbarrow” or Yeats’ “The Second Coming” but many more can quote reams of pop lyrics.

Alastair Johnston is a printer and author living in Berkeley, California. He is trying to realize Oliver Cromwell’s dictum: a man never rises so high as when he doesn’t know where he is going. www.poltroonpress.com You can see more of his work in 3.3, 2.3 and 2.1 (translations) and in 1.3 and 1.1