I’ve been longing for this vacation.
I work like a slave on plantation.
But I am not an office plebeian,
I am a wastrel, epicurean!
The buzz of a bureau’s honeycomb
easily makes everybody foam,
but I hold on to quietude and calm—
a plane ticket works just like a heart-balm.
Yells of a chancellor, squeaks of clerks…
they’re not real people, but hoarse clockworks.
Vegetation and soporific esse?
No, thank you. I will never acquiesce!
Meditating the existential,
I packed my valise and credential.
Full steam ahead! Time to sip coconuts
and pinch sappy indigenes for ripe butts.
I came down from the passenger bridge…
What the hell? Where is the nearest fridge?!
Oh, my Nemesis! Forgive your lost nun!
I implore you, get me back to square one!
I am sitting in the hotel rooms
washing down with dark rum my doldrums,
bedamning all photojournalist-jerks
who seduce us, naif untutored clerks.
Don’t be swayed by pictorialism,
don’t believe in exceptionalism,
sit in your office, don’t move a muscle,
leave parallel hot circles for mussels!
TONY: Well, here we are again. We’re going to be discussing poetry this time, not art. And it’s your latest poem that’s in the line of fire!
TATI: My poem? Really? Don’t you have something more interesting to discuss, Tony? Laundry! Cooking! Look around. So many cool things! Why do you cling to my poetry?
TONY: Because you deserve to suffer as much as I did when my Mascara Baby got pulled apart. Okay, let’s get down to it. Firstly, the title… Why the hell is it so long?
TATI: It’s pure peacockery. But, OK… I hoped to hook people’s attention, and to hint at what the main topic of the poem would be.
TONY: In the interest of full disclosure, I guess I should mention that this poem is the result of a challenge I set you. I threw down the gauntlet, so to speak.
TATI: Yeah. Why don’t I feel relief after this confession? You haven’t tried to make things easy, have you?
TONY: That’s true. I gave you a bunch of words to put into a poem… as well as the topic. Do you remember what these were?
TATI: Of course! They will chase me in my nightmares until my last gasp.
TONY: Like a defenseless kitten being hunted down by a pack of underfed bloodhounds. I’m so evil!
TATI: No sane person uses the words ‘photojournalist’ and ‘plebeian’ in the same poem, especially one about an ice cube melting on a tin roof.
TONY: You’re right. It was a pretty ridiculous challenge, no?
TATI: Photojournalist, plebeian, quietude, chancellor, exceptionalism, doldrums, soporific, honeycomb, nemesis, existential.
TONY: Those are some mighty big words, aren’t they? So, how did you manage to find a way to use them all? What was your process?
TATI: Hm… it’s hard to describe my creative process, actually. The general idea came into my mind pretty quickly. But it was a kernel, not flesh.
TONY: It didn’t come fully formed?
TATI: LOL! Of course, no. When you think of a picture, do you see the final result immediately? I can bet not.
TONY: Actually, sometimes I do, and the act of drawing it is an attempt to get as close to that vision on the page as I possibly can. But you’re right, it’s not something that would happen all the time.
TATI: Well, it’s like bead stringing. You add word to word, line to line. Sometimes the pattern is neat and nice. Sometimes it’s better to cut the string and start again. This poem wasn’t my soul’s impulse. It was nearly work. I don’t know if that is good or bad. But, hell, it was a challenge!
TONY: So, it was as deliberate and methodical as that, huh? You were taking a more… hm… workmanlike approach to this?
TONY: So, why did you decide to change what the poem was about? Do you have a set against anthropomorphised ice cubes dying beneath a sweltering sun?
TATI: Did I change the topic? Do you feel I cheated? I don’t think so. Firstly, why can’t the hero be an ice cube? Do you remember the snowman who loved warm hugs?
TONY: Love killed him. Are you saying love kills? It’s better not to love or be loved?
TATI: Don’t change the topic! And, as I remember, it was a happy end.
TONY: He was the recipient of… ahem… a ‘friendly massage’? Is that why there was another carrot down there?
TATI: TONY! It was a Disney story! For children! No second carrots! No frogs in diapers!
TONY: That was one weird ass video you showed me. Why the hell would a little girl go around stuffing live frogs into her diapers? Children are mentally ill. Seriously, people should stop having them.
TATI: They educated dolts like you, Tony. Who shoved ‘honeycomb’ and ‘nemesis’ into one poem?
TONY: Anyhow, this is off the point… which I still don’t get. What is it you’re trying to say? That the poem really IS about an ice cube and I’ve got it all wrong? I thought it was about a nun going on holidays and pinching the natives’… butts?
TATI: Yes. But why can’t an ice cube be like a nun? Why can’t a nun be like an ice cube? Are you a chauvinist, Tony? Do YOU have a set against anthropomorphised ice cubes? Or nuns? They have equal rights too, man!
TONY: Wha—? How did this get turned back on me? I’m not the criminal here! Yeesh.
TATI: Okay, let’s go back to the poor poem. Don’t you want to praise how ingeniously and artfully I weaved this?
TONY: Oh, of course! That goes without saying, baby. It totally knocked my socks off! And it was so good it kindly put them back on again, all without me lifting a finger. That’s the total brilliance of a poem written by Tati. About naughty nuns.
TATI: Can poetry be written from the mind, and not from the heart? Can it be a challenge, not soul’s impulse?
TONY: Fancy a cup of tea?