99 bottles of beer on—oops.
i woke up with the thought
that the letter ‘o’
is a death mask
and that the pathless one
cannot claim me
so, i lay there and looked
at a spot of light
on the ceiling
then did i turn my head
to the window’s
gazed i through that dark glass
all silent and grim
lo, i shivered
awaiting a fresh hell
from the pit ‘neath
that dank earth
an answer came to me…
if the pit is ‘o’
gaping for me
and the death mask is ‘o’
then needs must they
add to two
i melded the two ‘o’s
i girded it
thrust in the pathless face
my loins to mouth
and its shame
then did i fall asleep
like a baby does
with the feeling
of sweet satisfaction
a slaked ‘amen’
I lifted the seat lid and peeped inside.
“Do you really think you’re the main cheese here?” I asked, shaking my fist into the darkness.
“Yes.” The voice was calm, deep. “I was here before your Father was a tiny seed.”
“But you’re poo?” I’d meant that as a statement of fact. “How could you exist before Father? It isn’t possible.”
“I’m the Perfect and Mighty Poo. The Cycle of Life. The Alpha and Omega.”
I shrugged, and then flushed.
Someone knocked. “Oh, I’m sorry, are you occupied?”
“Nah.” I wiped my hands then reached for the door. “I’m done.”
This is the story of Tati and Tony, two writers who were desperate to write the most perfect poem that would ever be written. It would be so epic and untouchable in its perfection that poetry lovers everywhere would literally disintegrate in paroxysms of orgasmic delight. Well… that was their aim anyway.
Tony placed the full stop right after this word, and immediately felt regret. It should have been a comma as there surely would be more literary brilliance to follow. He tore the page out of his notebook, scrunched it up, and threw it in the bin.
‘Verily,’ he wrote on a fresh page.
“Ah, much better!” He smiled to himself. “I have a good feeling about this poem already!”
“Balderdash!” sniffed Tati, snatching the notebook out of Tony’s hands.
She crossed out Tony’s ‘Verily,’ and wrote ‘Verily!’ beneath it, then proudly shoved the notebook back in his face. He had to squint real hard in order to decipher the scribble.
“Look how real poets work, Tony! ‘Verily!'”
Tony cocked his head. “Well, okay…” he said uncertainly. “But how does the exclamation mark actually improve this? It makes about as much sense as if you’d put a starfish after it.”
“I put a starfish before it! Don’t you see?”
Tony examined the page again with a critical eye. “Oh! This is a starfish? I thought it was your attempt at a finger painting.”
Tati gasped in outrage.
“Nevertheless,” pressed Tony, “this doesn’t explain the exclamation mark after the word. Am I to understand that it’s a starfish saying ‘Verily!’ in a rather exclamatory manner? If so, what is the starfish so excited about? And does there need to be a starfish at all? I thought we were writing a serious poem.”
“Shut up, Tony! Your blabbing will only frighten away my Muse!” Tati wrinkled her nose at his impertinence, and even puffed her cheeks for emphasis. Still, he was confused by this, and had to wonder at what her scratching her ear was also about. Were there nits in her hair?
Actually, Tati was just a little irritated, and she was thinking hard over the new poem. It wasn’t her problem if people insisted on misinterpreting her body language.
“Oh, I know!”
Tony almost jumped out of his skin with surprise. Tati was so freaking unpredictable.
“I’m a genius!” She jotted something else down, then waved the notebook at him. “Look…”
Tony’s eyes widened with wonder.
“Oh my sainted stars!” he said in a hushed—almost reverential—tone. “The dots add a certain gravitas, don’t they? Like… absolutely anything could happen next.”
Suddenly, a human-sized bottle of Corona Extra crashed through their front door and wilfully—and with malicious intent—decanted itself all over them. However, Tati and Tony did not panic, for although they were sopping, stinking wet, they were also wearing masks and so the deadly liquid could not enter their airways.
“Oh, fuck you!” roared Corona. “You sheeple think you’re so clever because you’ve got a silly piece of fabric on your faces! Fuck you so much!”
Feeling rather frustrated and impotent, it turned and stomped out the way it had come in. Corona had legs, but no arms with which to gleefully rip off masks. It was all Corona could do not to have an embarrassing little cry on its way out.
Tati and Tony exchanged looks.