vendredi 6 février 2015

The Cuban Drain




A drain is like a big city
It takes everything coming it's way
From the pure water of glaciers to oily
Grease mixed with hair balls
From the suds of bars of soap
To shaved whiskers and nail bits
It is an organic freeway without tolls
Broadway taps "Anything Goes"


On the eve of a full moon
And a New Year's Ball
That I have sumptuously put together
The conduit discharger of my kitchen sink
Is obstructed

Relunctantly the guests are sent home
As the dishes cannot be washed
And champagne flutes lay idle with fruit flies spinning around them.

I concoct a feast of sodium hydroxide and aluminium oxide
that is poured to dislodge the stubborn clog
Yet except for a few agitated bubbles that
Exit the dark furrow
(The sink is now over half full and malodorous)
The water level is stagnant



The following day a handheld auger is summoned
Shiny blue with a
Curly cue pigs tail to grab grime
Holding it like the Penguin's machine gun in an old Batman TV series
The plumber
Plunges the cable and spins it with verve


Hypnotic rings of water ring the sink
The plumber insists with clenched teeth
But there seems to be a Grendel in the pipes
A beastly beast
Holding back slime and grit
One would think
In this sink lies the Emperor of Obstruction!



Or rather a Cowgirl holding her own
Not giving an inch
No matter what Plumber plunges the plunge
She will stand her ground.



Yet more days, then weeks pass
The drain is still clogged
Experts from near an far are summoned
All try their art
The wire hanger, the plunger the air burster to name a few
But to no avail.




Then a prodigious whale of a plumber from Geatland appears at the door
Named "Plumber-Wolf" he insists on visiting the kitchen
Strips of all his clothes and tools except for a sledgehammer
At midnight he starts to slam the walls of the sink
The entire house trembles
The beams start to crack
A few bubbles come to the surface
But the clog holds fast!
The heroic plumber leaves defeated.



Finally the doorbell rings with an unusual chime,
My smoke extractor coughs sending a plume of smoke wafting
to the upstairs bedrooms
It is Pope Francis, he beckons to come in
He floats the Cuban flag on the murky, lifeless lake
The water starts to shake
An audience of dignitaries gather around the sink
And within an instant the drain delivers its load to the sewer
It is empty!
Restored to drain for years to come!
All in the name a  50 year diplomatic thaw that ended an
entrenched embargo.


lundi 2 février 2015

The mountain slippers




This was the house of my father-in-law
A house he built on his own
Perched in a lost village in the French Alps
That once housed a school, a store and two hotels
It became a solitary place

Yet the man busied himself
An avid vegetarian when few knew the name
He flirted with rice and tomatoes
Unlike most who flirt with fat and grease

And in his house there was no tool
No machine that could go unfixed
The repair became such an engagement
That a dialogue sprouted, ensued
Often degenerating into radiant derision

I remember my first visit
He proudly demonstrated the fireplace
Whereby he contrived a radiator to hold the flames
The house came to life with the heat that was pumped throughout it
He told me, manipulating hot coals with his hands

All the while my children watched stoically
Fire was a danger, "interdit"
"Surtout ne pas toucher avec les mains"
And Grandpere defied all of that!
While sitting comfortably in his slippers.