Sandy Rankin

Linguistic Shenanigans



When the marvelous grabs you by the throat, red
Shooting stars indeed stun the sky, purple plums
Indeed come luminous feathers. But you think
You are right to fear the marvelous, particularly if   
Certain numerical measures suddenly begin to appear
Like a forgotten but familiar face at the singularly
Painted panes. What-the-Blazes-Odd, I don't know
If letters can actually illuminate anyone's upside-
Down inside-out proverbial God, or if these signs
Are ruses that Lucifer (in whom I do not believe)
Elliptically manufactures. The world has made me  
Kiss its profitable ass, bent me over, never enough
Money or Manna, might as well moon everyone,
Be done with it, let them say it: crazy as a loon.


Do you dare accept the marvelous? Dare you strip-
Tease this poem? Moist syllables offer you, a kitten
Gone astray, a significant saucer of numinous milk
And honey, not as if by God (in whom I often believe),
But as if by someone kind who says, Poor little thing.
Come here, kitty, I have this saucer of milk and honey,
Who knows full well that the kitten you are will become
A cat, and that the cat you will become won't kindly take
To a master if the master thinks she can master that cat,
As if that cat were a dog with a tail that belatedly wags.
Meanwhile, the marvelous releases your aching throat
Because this is the time, the right-saucy time, to begin—
If you dare say boo to the nightmare of totalitarian fears:
Lap the milk, tongue the honey, pluck but ripe juicy pears.


Once upon a time: a poet-child dreamed awake at night.
Across the hall, her parents slept: distant cartoon mice.
She knew that Devil-Bastard, knew that absence, knew
That the marvelous thing to which or to whom she prayed
Was nothing but love and yes everywhere love like dew.
Written in time, she saw it, there, that Other Garden of Eden.
So I tell you now, whether or not you will listen, there is 
No maniac's grim-reaper grin at the painted pane, if I say
This Love, here, and here, and if you know this to be true
In this expanding universe that now dares you with pears,
Syllables like shooting stars like purple plums like feathers
In your lap. No one can say boo to fear, no one can say O
My God my Cor Blimey my Caribbean patois blie me woo
My Romantic-Climactic Shelleyan heart of hearts
, like you.


You remember the linguistic vulgar rat that leapt
From out-of-the-spitting-blue that bit the throat wet
Of the electric-ecstatic cat? Poor Jeoffry! He got better.
Petticoats, debt, cellular asthma, Kitty Smart, prank
Of Jubilate Agno, to which we are entitled: alphabet Es-
O-terica. When the marvelous grabs you by the throat
And you precisely say immanent utopia (it is written),
You must submit. When the marvelous arrives, admit
The letter-magic that may or may not be present. Ecce-
This, a poetry of the future: ludic wings, food, shelter,
Water, wide-open skies, Peruvian lilies, orange elixirs,
Mad kisses, at night—shooting stars: sweet shenanigans!
Otherwise, there is the storm, Ariel wrecked, the raw
Omnipotent sorrow, terror of absence: heart withdrawn.