GRAFFITI 8: A DENOUEMENT, 7 SONNETS MANQUE
You wanna buy protection on that hill, old chappie?/ I knocked a girl up there one night. I got off. Pills?---Graffiti 7: Frogs and Why (from the Graffiti Series)
1. Bench Talk
He chatted him up when the slurring hobo
with the Rudolf nose promoted his prurient
ware: Trojans, Depo-Provera, morning-afters?
Demurring, he said, his loins no longer work.
Is why you walk everrrydeh, eh? The sales
pitch suddenly sounded frightening to him.
It has been some time, since primeval tugs
like those hinted by the tramp urged him.
He did not mind sharing his bench with those
lipstick ad-graffiti-mantra: You are beautiful.
About the girl, he said, she bore my baby. Eees
why I prowl here often. I see her go uppphilll.
And my babbbbeee, sssheee is headmaster
Of a nursery school, there. Lots of frogs there.
2. Taking Down Notes
Why not? He said, it will be part of my notes.
The Tramp. Sounds Chaplinesque. But how?
He talks to himself when caught wordless
and unable to sustain decent conversation.
The dotard syndrome, he reminded himself.
It was the Sidney Poitier-look-alike cop
asking him if he saw anything suspicious
around this stiff corpse of a neatly-dressed
man, red jacket, white shirt, faded blue jeans,
the stuff he remembered to give him when last
they sat on that bench. He said he liked Dean.
James Dean was my faaavvvooorrrittt guy.
Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, East of Eden,
they almost had an a cappella. A la prochaine.
3. Death on a Bench
French for ‘later ol’ chap, he said that last time.
Now this death on the bench. There was a freshly
sprayed arrow next to the bench beauty jibe.
Sir, Sir? Do you hear me? Do you know this man?
It was the policeman again, now insistent that he
pays attention; look at the baton, he muttered. Yes.
and No. I see him peddle weed, condoms, pills,
around here. He was a graduate of Harvard!
His last word jolted him. Why did he end this way?
In their penultimate bench-talk, the stiff, clean-
shaven man said he lost everything. His old folks,
his mansion, his millions, he got into the slammer
for badly invested ponzi-scam money bled out
of pensioners, seniors, his parents even. Ha-vard!
4. His Story
I tried to see her, plead with her, showed her my
bank account, I proposed to her again and again.
All she said was to be “gentle with me”, and I
thought she might forgive me. Yes, she said, she did.
It was the headmaster lady with the nursery school
who said not to see her mother again. Ever. Savvy?
So I came to this toboggan hill every day, espying
from a distance. Every stroller with a cane was her.
But I did not forget, she told me finally, peremptory
in her tone, I am happy now, my friend, I am good.
Estoy tan llena de alegria para estar enamorado
Contigo de nuevo. Too late, my friend. Nunca jamas!*
Absently, he gingerly climbed in the direction of the
bench arrow: Seven trees with the saddest graffiti.
5. Seven Graffiti Trees
“Will| You| Marry| Me?|” and “|Be| My| Wife?|”
They formed a coven of seven pine trees, sprayed
barks on their trunks, looking hoary in the late
blaze at sundown. Downhill, children’s ditties echoed.
Sir. Listen to me, Sir. Sidney Portier called out now.
You will have to give me your home address, phone
number, and show me an ID, right now. Please?
He arched an eyebrow, and said: In a minute, sir.
He thought he sounded unctuous like Peter O’Toole’s
Don Quixote de La Mancha. Under his breath now,
he gobbled: I will be glad to write a novella about him,
and his lost life and loves. Pentecostal, it dawned on him.
Those last three trees on the toboggan hill were his last
graffiti: Will you be my wife? But he died. The bastard.
6. A Sylvan Prayer
He came down the hillock with a weary smile for Poitier.
His hobo was being bundled then into a wailing ambulance.
Bring me to wherever they bring his ice-cold, rock-hard
carrion, and I will tell you all I know in your cop car, son.
Before he entered the annoyingly blinking (G.I.)* police car,
he looked at the hill rather tiredly; there were children
gawking at this weird bier-ceremony, two women herding
them, a handsome lady with a cane, and a fetching woman
crying havoc to the nattering, wondering, puling, yelling,
little children. She ordered: Back to the nursery. Now!
He gently refused the protective palm of the black cop
covering his bald pate; he charged Quixote-like into the car.
Sir, what did you say? Poitier asked impatiently. Praying,
he said. Praying she will never see the seven trees again.
---ALBERT B. CASUGA
Estoy tan llena de alegria para estar enamorado/ Contigo de nuevo. Too late, my friend. Nunca jamas!*---I am so full of joy to be in love with you again. Too late, my friend. Never ever again. (G.I.) – government issue.
This concludes the fictional element in my Graffiti Poems which I posted earlier in my literary blog. I am delighted to have gone back to that hillock to find an additional graffiti “Be My Wife” on the seven pine trees atop the toboggan hill at Glen Erin Park, on my neighbourhood on Fifth Line West, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Next: Photos of the Graffiti prompts. (New fangled cell phone cameras permitting.)
These are May Poems #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, and #12 in my poem-a-day exercise to keep Poetry alive online. “Sonnets manqué,” because they use the 14-line format sans the rhymes in the first three quatrains and the “volta” couplet as a final strophe.---ABC