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It not a joke!!! It is the truth!!!

Giving people what they want: violence and sloppy eating

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Thinking of Kay
mini me + poo
I can't go the funeral, but he is still in my thoughts.

A favourite memory is his delight that I not only knew about one of the poems from Stanisław Lem's collection of short stories, The Cyberiad, but could quote it. *

One of the two protagonists has made a machine that writes poetry. The other tries to think of harder and harder tests and finally demands ".. a poem about a haircut! But lofty, noble, tragic, timeless, full of love, treachery, retribution, quiet heroism in the face of certain doom! Six lines, cleverly rhymed, and every word beginning with the letter s!!"

The first starts to protest that this is impossible, but while he's speaking, out comes the result:

Seduced, shaggy Samson snored.
She scissored short. Sorely shorn,
Soon shackled slave, Samson sighed,
Silently scheming,
Sightlessly seeking
Some savage, spectacular suicide.


Hearing of the machine, all the first rate poets come to challenge it in a poetry contest. They are crushed by the machine's brilliance and throw themselves off a cliff on the way home. The same thing happens to all the second rate poets. Then all the third rate poets arrive for their contest.. and go home happily - being third rate, they do not realise how badly they have been beaten.

Kay is one of the reasons I know I am not a third rate person, because I recognised just how good he was.

* I had to look the poem up this time. Huge respect to translator Michael Kandel - there's apparently a book, written by someone who has no idea of where it came from or the constraints under which it was written, quoting it with a dismissive comment that the author isn't very good.

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/435525.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

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My poem about a haircut, which my professor said was okay but not brilliant (Oct 4, 1990):

I've watched it lurking on the top shelf
warily working around it
seems to eye my head hungrily
jagged teeth sawing in anticipation.

Now paranoia becomes founded
the hunter breaks from cover
into his hand with a request.

Reluctant I move the switch to the predatory position
groans and throbs in my halting hand
"up higher in the back"
but not near as much as he wants.
Just can't.

It scatters to the ground
thick with the promise of black silk thread
long as my forearm
and countless father fights in the making
laundry soap sprinkles at the live ends.

It shifts in my hand
hungrily lurching upward
I restrain with difficulty
it howls and whines in complaint.

Careful to even the line
he jerks at the gruffness
welts like bedroom scratches rise.
No lather and humidity
but mostly an unconscious set jaw of the mind.

Shifting from foot to foot
ant anklebiters leave puffed itches
can't appease with bitten-down nails.
Later his tiny shadow whiskers feel the same.

I puff on his neck
(no hackles left to rise)
the wind picks up where I left off
taking his wasted hair
deposited in the weeds.

Feel that whiny voice rise again
hating freshly cut hair.
That cliche about difference of opinion . . .
Resigned from my butchering I move the switch
back to the merely menacing mode.

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