Christopher Mulrooney


















Of all the fountains that poets sing,ó

Crystal, thermal, or mineral spring.††††


†† Bret Harte












the precincts of the just





sugar loaf

execution squad


soldier boy

tea cakes


turkey shoot


variety show

let Ďem whine




horse and cart



stand of cactus


field goal

the literary endeavor



fairy dust

somber discourse


far be it from me




torrid zone



soft shoulder

town square





crime kingpins


the public stories

mayhap and mayhem



stuck in ye palace

scullery maid



staff car

Havasu City

seventh wonder of the age


doublet and hose


the dark city



stage struck

marching orders


oxtail soup

fortune cookie factory


14 July

the catamite noisemaker


railway station


















I understand me get gist

you are fuggy doody

you make shortlist

is big day for yoody

what stink was your fist





the official court position having been held

oíer two weeks at most

the boast laid over the town from the parapets

like parakeets at dawnís green twilight

was this that there was an híopening in the firm

and jackanapes were wanted

who should arrive but the high official high

high officialís personal representative

on a commuter plane of private signature

to deal out death and card tricks

death-defying parsnips your idea of entertainment

well somebodyís in the town that to this day boasts a few lines of verse

written by a certain poet who lived there a number of years




the precincts of the just

Rahab of the snows



the horrors of all time would you just say into these microphones folks

say you Sir say so on your sweet say-so Sessa as Shakespeare says

Sessue sweet Sue and you too Boogaloo dit-moi lay it on me baby

swing shift the mother into all-high gear go on with your bad self

give me those pearlies not a wrinkle anywhere

you had the law and the lawís fun I heard you right

a sovereign cure is bubbly in the bubble bath Iím with you there

as they rise to the surface from far back and deep down below





mere projections of those areas into the night air

might recede twenty or forty percent annually

according to the latest figures it is not recorded

but whistled away it under widebrimmed hats

certainly certainly as my friend Alexander would say

has anybody here seen Kelly that is the question indeed




graceless movie studios of the palaceless eras

eons epochs take my words at the lipstick-mirror angle

and read them back reversed it is the same technology

with an interloper something added how you say interface





they ply someone things letters etc.

hair mostly the waist at times

and the golden shores of a birthday past or present Christmas

subject of many a poetical thought that riband

multiplied in verses down the annals of recorded musing





woodpeckers at my stand of trees

broken bark in great shifts of color

silver-gray the shimmering city below

blue or red on the Malta hills above a few people

the grove of quite leafy cedars quiet




sugar loaf

the raremost earliest costliest flower in the spring

yes that one honey in the mead wherewithal in the market

gathering of disciples at the masterís feet

and the rubbing with oil by lamplight

costly the saintís flow of speech to the multitude




execution squad

it rolling in all the aisles like a head on the playing fields of you know what

thatís what the chain of islands tortures and digs

in the twilight land we have them down in the war

the scags and mites thatís it tiny little creatures

all the mites go to the wall thatís it for the little bastards





in the chain of command the liquid advertisements first

blink red and green bright flash the eyes dazed

then the compact communication sendup send out

read this now read this will you please read this

it says join hands for a silver jubilee celebration

at 0500 six bells whatever on the afterdeck if you please

I have a very cunning announcement to make it blinks off




soldier boy

they have scraped the kittensí leavings for it bye

and the shipment said out in the garden maybe

of this world the Fountain of Youth in the Garden of Eden

but the back end of this twice over I couldnít stand

thatís the inessential point to overcome and resist




tea cakes

soft and crumbly but architectural

something like what they call chimerical

historical Gingerbread a sort of baroque and rococo

hierarchies of dominion and cultivation in rhythm

like the Greek and Roman orders perfectly cooked up

with a spot of something in a cup to please you





stacks of scholarship books of words

words words says Hamlet to Polonius what the devil else

have I to read or write with Mallarmť tells Degas

the geological ages like riding a donkey down to the lowest level

the earliest primśval age of spoken human utterance writ




turkey shoot

for you must shoot them craftily

you must catch them on the wing

so to speak rising above their station

in guile to pull the wool over

and beguile the time away of





the idol caricatured is a wooden stuff

you may bat it about as you please

give it hell Harry and other political slogans

that sort of thing it is an inanimate object

and cannot speak any more than a lemming can




variety show

a little comedy something out of the songbag

a fresh cat the ascertainment of a line or a lyric

the humble phrase overthrows and undercurrents

the manifesto credence and clear water various and many

escapades to your liking and not the spiky boot and drift




let Ďem whine

the little budgerigars in the motor home cages

have an opinion to express on the scribes and wits

roaring about on the highways at a cranked-up pitch

and stopping at rest areas to avail themselves of local services

and be delivered of some gastric explosions in the name of Art





nothing but biscuits in the pan

and gravy with the trimmings

and the bird and the greens

and the dogs on the porch

in the lateral sunlight of an evening





Baconís say who had the golden gift like More

well that had been what custom says did first

arrive unto man after Eden and Eve and so forth

the serpent rustles in dead leaves monkeys howl

because you figured out whatís what in the garden





by-blows on the breezes blow by breezily

that is the unction Iíve received

an endless shaking of bitter leaves

and recoil from anything thatís human

that is the sanforizing Iíve had

and the starch in my white collars




horse and cart

we have explained says the professor

speaking for the academic board

the general principles in our report

so that if we are called preposterous

there can be no doubt as to who is what





what is the rose of perspicacity

it is found in capaciousness of thought

such that such that what you dig me

any dew that falls dew rises any

rain that falls is clouded into mist





it is not for the lilies of the field

the blooming gold cup Eschscholtzia

that appeareth and disappeareth

it has its times and its seasons

where is the life of man in that

at all where precisely I ask you




stand of cactus

they have their fruit and flowers

and the flesh is sweet with water

and pricks fine and flaunted for a reason

to multiply attention in the land

to give voice to the heedless

and guard the small birds in their nest





Iíll to my tailors whilst you flit

to get out of your snit in a salon

apricot and green satin ribbons

and as for you ha ha thereís the car

letís push off for something out of us

that we can repay in the kindest way




field goal

out where the athletes pat each otherís ass

for good luck while the spectators clap and hoot

and girls with pom-poms on the payroll dance in salute

the baronial diggings of potentates ring to the game

it is a city function ďknock it back and give it a nameĒ

in other uniforms they rest on planks to fish for bass




the literary endeavor

hard-put funded a scribe might venture the same

as any other prospects you know the vistas the bellyful

and make another contacts and all befriend the poet

so the name is advertised Jo Shmow with an exclamation mark

to let the great world know just what is coming





a flavorful blend of motor oil muddy as burnt sienna

bad spit and hysteria fills the air the canyons of the boulevard

are where the carrion lies and so the buzzards gather

all day long they have a chaw and talk

and when night comes they crow and settle down to sleep





trickery thievery Iíll have you this know that have purposed

thus to cochineal my albumin come forth there

and let me have a look at this scout of all the rout

Iíll have you there I say look up why bless me itís the rogue

whoozis from whatzis what a comical invention how fares thy Maker?




fairy dust

the tinkers are abroad in the land Ďtis said and lo

how thoroughbreds foal and whinny like sheep prancing on a Spring day

do they now is that the Kingdom come of it?

why there is some talk some roundabout manner of gesturing

horseflesh is it youíd be speaking to me of and sheep and tinkers

on a fine Spring day abroad in the land well Iíll be damned




somber discourse

Ďtis plain plainer and plainest spoken would ye be after

haviní no place for maister Burns and his mouse

to hide the devilís wee peach of a thought in any nook or cranny

Iíll tell you what Iím after bound to be thinking in my cups as Ďtwere

a belch and a boojum yíare with yer flibbertigibbets and yer scaffoldings

for hanging a man on the small thread of your thoughts is all is all





yet it found these carols pleasing and gave us warm slops

and the back of its hand to heat our hides

so we harrying down the highway lighted

at length upon the sea and all its gallimaufry

rolling barrels in and collecting its change




far be it from me

to get the dander up here in the window of the grange

looking down on up as they say in these parts

and askance at other as the horses ride the landscape

and ladies ride the horses and so forth





there is a lonely shore but for the tribe and the weary seas

that bobble all the day long dancing with the lights

under great skies that are in them and can be plumbed

to great depths by some and by others a matter of only fathoms





the color of this wood but why describe this

fits into my library like the cerebellum

suggested by those nuts hard cracked open

with a you-know-what a character in the Russian ballet

transformed mightily into the ratsí worst enemy





it is the road the avenue up into Hollywood

its heights the Bronson Caves where many a film is laid

or rather was shot they stand for someplace else

another country planet even battle zone desert locality

out in the middle of nowhere a bit of mining




torrid zone

plaster of Paris let me have this set on this

armature and whatnot why this is modeling

this is the light captured in refractions middling

down to opaque shadows and the rough luster of patina

all that sort of thing a minute cast of the work in marble or bronze





on its twig each day to sing

now here now there

amid the bloated blubber

and smiling fat carcasses

with which it has nothing to do





what the hell it was freezing

blasted winter icy and hell

it seemed like a good idea at the time

some Nazi bastard with an ultimatum

all around no way out so nuts




soft shoulder

an incapable campaign for governor

starts with a whistle blown stop

then an address that ainít Gettysburg

and two more times for good measure

that was what political leisure




town square

the luscious buyers market dreams buy down the facing

avenues to the outskirts and the thin alfalfa line

mere wisps in the kitchen for decoration mere thought-of

sideboard items mere recollections if even that

in the town square with the lamp you could hang yourself from





two pair of duff trousers and the rest gesticulation

there is a boyís name in the air between them

gawk stiff limb-lank Hank that was my boy

over the shade of my boy their brows meet

in an overarching stare like the outer reaches of the atmosphere

above the blue-white sky and the green fields of Earth





the accord down to the last investments

softened the polecats something dreadful

till they might nose around in your lap

with a whirring sound as though there might be termites

in your tree where the birds keep habitation

red shoulder patches black and the cardinal red





as in the hand of the Lord chestnuts abide

so the rest and repose of a freshet swain

and all the valley to reap upon the morrow

there is the glad tidings and the spark effigies

cling to burning as the old guy vanishes





to the last corpuscle of any human remedy

no resolution is possible to this excruciating wave

on the oscilloscope traced and forgiven not ever

look you says it he even me Mars rock the boat

and so forth mimicking speech without the least effect




crime kingpins

well you might altogether lash my kin as not

liefer than you all had ought to rather be

thus my mťsalliance to you outdoes than by a factor of whereupon

a sliver of hope up my foil touchť to the villains

let it be read in my town register publicly





here sends my magician friend streaming

eyesight faces haberdashery all concocted

vere as the French say Iíll tell you vere

over dere the other side of the room the whiles the trick

is being performed safely in the nimble fingers of the prestidigitator




the public stories

these are the very current matters generally

whoís in whoís out whatís up or down and round the back

a very few malingerers toying with old conceptions

whatís the made of green cheese planetoid we trod on

certain legendary stories nothing more or less




mayhap and mayhem

a kitchen buttercupping a mayonnaise-and-egg sandwich

too true and the walnut gleams of the polished wood table

with the slippery surface not too precise if possible

candelabrums and centerpiece of oak leaves and pine cones

for the Christmas season birth of our Lord in the sticks





here is this place you see and you ring this up

and place your call and answering this place will say

this place will have people who will say has people

who will say this place you see and step out onto the kerb and go inside

go inside and youíre there where there thatís it youíre there

jolly nice isnít it donít you think so bub wait so nice in fact

in fact so nice inside go inside thereís niceness for you if you like





if she will doing these flies I canít donít you

wonder if sheís doing what these flies all around

buzzing what stench allures them those flies

that distant chapfallen scapegrace not risen

in my estimation not captivating or essentially indeed

on the agenda in the marketplace food for worms to fish with




stuck in ye palace

that is the conclusion palace conclusions not of the best

but then what the hell is of the best

you see it and donít get their wisecracks

and so back to the wall you survey their princelings

for two pins and a farthing you can have the lot




scullery maid

the viper of the light comes around seven

thatís too early for some far too late for others

drinking like catís milk the light in the sink

and bouncing around the great bathchamber

that echoes very easily to the least footfall in bare toes





a grand thing and some expanse anyway

nothing like the dim outskirts of Gomorrah

a puddle nothing like with a dauberís guidebook

done up for the plastic views alongside goldfish bowl and gusset





he had admired this what is this overgrown

bric-a-brac nonsense shelf book of shelves

rack of shelves case of shelves is that what

it was meant to be a case of shelves thatís grand

like the Continental Shelf on the back of the great turtle




staff car

he repines on the mountain road to the staff chalet

the country ainít not wot itís supposed tíbe

with a timorous air and something devoid of hope

that political commodity mine host reassures him

after all he says we have the army still




Havasu City

Iím a bold boy I know

so Iím not my son

(even if I were a concierge)

nor Joachim my fatherís




the tightrope boy

walking to work on a skein of wires

in the sky right portholes

on the sea of life calming him

just a few heights

not negligible hardly in the big leagues however

itís all relative there


the Samson of the carny stage

throwing his weight around lifting the show

to the altitude of a few bucks

thatís all


the great showcase that is his show

a flower bouquet in his hand

from nowheresville





seventh wonder of the age

the trollops and the dandies thatís the trope now

sheís a fairy with a magic wand heís just a queer

over here to polish the curmudgeonly old world

to the gleam of an infant rump you can see yourself in

back to back as in the good old days





I wear the bass trump like a bandolier

a sash sashayed down Fifth Avenue

to the waterfront where I embark

for foreign shores to deliver the goods

a knockout punch to whomever it may be

they hear the angelic choirs accompanied by Marines




doublet and hose

the blanket tearing the blanket in half for a garment and signal

here upon the ground I wave up the air puffs of smoke

they mean several things a whole discourse

to them as read the signs of things writ large

in whatís a passing fancy passing strange and nothing more





monkeyed let us have all the poets

led by a jackanapes up to the cage a young girl

who smiles brushing aside her hair with the back of a smelly hand

thatíll be fifty cents he says to the woman

holding her other hand presumably cleaner




the dark city

acres and balconies tiered in scavengersí hedgerows

for the flying ballistics experts to critique as they topple

ho there goes another one crashing down into the idiots below

as above so the idiom has it a truism thus and so





the folk legends have the tale to tell the tale

obviously for the pleasant thing it is to be telling

and after to have told what radiance in the seat of the pants

from squirming in oneís chair with delight and squealing

yes itís a fairly bankable number in the currency of enjoyment





it springs off the mountainside like an alpaca

or whatís that Frost has snakes from thawed-out snow

itís there before you know it fresh as bubbling spurts can make it

laughing in your face cool refreshing nothing acrid or metallic

and you drink it in tin cups as at a spa recovering your health




stage struck

one has to written down upon into this scene

subscribe to its values artistically speaking

conform not exactly coexist in a way pleasing to the spectator

who after all has the right in any free country to walk out

for a gin and a bale of tawdry leaving the cast high and dry




marching orders

it gives the tramp tramp tramp to say

a malingering officialness is on the line today

say whatís the front like boys any word of the Hun

the boys what can they tell him likely none

the lingo here is none to speak it only us

and them as disapproves of such an omnibus

Keats they say inscribed a fing of beauíy

if so he done no more nor less than duíy





while the little darlings all rest for naptime

with the blankets curled up under their noses

and the high granite faces confer above them

visions will dance in their little tiny heads

of roses what they are called and pricks that grow in beds




oxtail soup

I say waiter thereís a piece of tail in my soup

where did it come from Sir the larder is bare

how do I know where it came from Iím not a maÓtre

no no Sir anyone can see that whoís your tailor anyway

donít be impudent you turbid ass what about this bit in my bowl

well Sir if itís wagging weíll just see what happens next




fortune cookie factory

I want 11,000 by midmorning tea break says the foreman

fingers race across brows like abacus beads

and compute what harmonizes with the bowl of shark fin soup

and fine carrots in a puffball this is it love says

tarry at the turnstile ere you cross the moon bridge

just the thing to go with tea and sweets and the check





softly the cat burglar siphons up the air

to his rooftop station and gazes down after the loot

in prizes like the grab bag of a sonata with a little phrase

means everything to you and Proust and nothing

next to nothing to the next man pretty baubles




14 July

flowers of rhetoric pounce upon the night sky

extending their fingers long and curving

painted in the colors of the flag

and Carlyleís seagreen Incorruptible

and maybe nobility has its purple up well up




the catamite noisemaker

had it the rear exhaust could tell the tale

thereís riches in it boy assuredly

hereís your change Sir with a little something

draped between the shoulder blades

loud enough to wake the dead who die in the Lord





have you cuffs on old boy

what you mean cuffs

you know curled ends

I donít think so have a look

have done thatís why I ask

must have then so what

nothing old man cuffs I mean

they catch the pips I spit out




railway station

so this is where they met and that

that must be the monument to what was

here long ago and what then remembered

best forgotten evidently that was the idea

perhaps itís a plaint for whatever it was gone





when the regime folded up its tents and stole away

like a thief in the night which it wasnít anything different

a fellow came up asking for his medal you see

medals was a thing most regular in those years

and after well they went on giving them out as ever

they called me such and so he said my ass is a banana

says you they said he told them taste and see





how look it were this thing it were inside it were this thing

the tickertape reads in an incessant streamlet

foreboding of anything if this then that surely then that darling

on a green stream under overhanging boughs to lie

and never be parted twain in two parallel courses worse luck





the long arm of coincidence here you are going

there and it is a long way off still here is a sign

you have not missed your way and a long way too

along this road that is continuous here and there

conjoined as one like the face you see and what you donít





it is expressed or cajoled or struck or blown or jangled

or all of these at once in a symphony orchestra made of several departments

each with a special subsection of its own and a frightful leader

full of emotive possessive qualities and beaux arts

industrious calm detached and determined of mien the conductor





the Art Deco nacreous stuff not nearly jade or about that circumference of roundabout style

pliable pliant as any plant not more so you could make it

wear it sculptured head electric insulation a famous thought

plain stuff keeps the paint out river of paint frozen over

hold the pose at your service a floating magma of coloration for you





youíll never play this town again the figurehead says

the gingerbread cocoon or flaky fairy shortbreads hits

the operating nurse of canine features on the low prowl

bang the figure group physician baby stroller wife in tow

proceeding southbound south against the current





it still seems glass and pastures in the still-seeming plain

devoid of vesture like the ancient city road of time

the menacing finger though has writ and having written

points you up out of the roadway here as if you should see

the fall of the mighty comfortably situated somehow





let us say the freeholders have this custom

to pipe in music and this wine in cupboardfuls

so it stands on every streetcorner seeking work

or makework slapping paint on garden walls anyhow

here is the commentary on the local news the same





the small wee elephant has gross keepers

a fat slut and an overbearing moron

and strives to be very happy as far as possible

knowing nothing and at a loss for height

and ineptitude really for it has a nose to smell out etc.





the statuesque figure why mince words

it does not move and yet itís moving

the śsthetes say wouldnít it suffice

for an emblem or a slogan say

a token of our thought upon this subject





the bearded lady standing in front of a house

with a greased palm glinting in the sunlight

here she seems to sayís the payoff

now youíve seen me take another look go ahead

just stand there staring a penny a throw





tatters in the leading edge of the wind

behind the rubber baby buggy bumpers

racing ahead over the hillocks and down the dales

to the prize the prize with a helpful motor the flag

a grateful crew a backer worthy and to finish you