les plombeurs



Christopher Mulrooney




les plombeurs


it is in fact still this story

you have read about in books

but never glimpsed in all its glory

for all your peering probing looks

behind the arras rich and hoary





the old surveyor tends his instrument his old wife

examines the testament of the surrounding countryside from her turret

in the main kitchen well let us consider the staff

come hot from the great stove unto smart ladies in the drawing room

who sip their tea and admire the nearly antique loom





well if it isn’t and it ain’t

you’re ‘ell if I am t’other

no that’s really ‘tis

and so forth the colloquy

of a certain certainty





crowd scene tenement district

ebb and flow of little stinkers

on callow bits of green

the brownstones lightening in haze

the gross effrontery of the poor





from this office desk overlooking

the city at the height of a second-story man

blinkered somewhat hastily by tinted glass

one would say a rajah in his palace

never commanded such a view



sour apples


there is all the muckheap

drained of its nutriments

a chaff pile an ordure bin

ready for the scattering

to nutrify the fields





one is to sign on the dotted line

with a leaky-beaked office pen

and affix the date per V.N.

a certain shower a certain rite

and then the waking night





let us have him pinned

as it were to the article in question

and the question so to speak

put to him roundly

this were sufficient to answer



the forest for the trees


it is a convenient sort of shambles

for the music in the leaves you see

and then the characters you meet

fat-haunched squirrel lucid owl

batch of woodpeckers in their nest



solemn orders


how to wangle into the deal

parlay that and fry an egg

on the Manhattan sidewalk come midsummer

they just don’t teach that folks

not even at Columbia and Bard





the solemn book closed no not that

simply the accounts at the end of the day

which cannot be read in more than one way

else there is danger of dehiscence

and still worse of defalcation



baggage claim


everywhither Poe’s demon serves his turn

why he’s never meet to himself even

let alone me if he only would

for an instant even oh if he could

dispute the field and withdraw but no

at every venture he is there and so



alma mater


old frou-frou she is quite a load of baggage

take her temperature feel her pulse ah no

back to your schoolbooks says the cadaver

well study is not fruitless take my old professor

please to rattle on about the P.R.B. oh boy





down Texas a way and a means

cow ate my bluebonnet Sir

pard why do you mean to say

I don’t see how I come in to it

she just up and well I never





why Sally they say he is

yes Nancy you can see that he is

oh Tracey it hardly bears thinking on

no Susan it would pass the time no more

like tossing a piñata in a blanket



the little finger


oh it went hard all right the edict was read out

as war and the confines of a terrible threat

he would have us ten times worse than his sire

he was but a little gnat beside him who came forth now

contemptuous beyond all measure of his hearers





such the organization of the display

it was worth the cost per plate

and this was a dispensation unto the people

for though you spake words of introduction

and ate what you were served with some dilection

it went no more beyond the doors than odor