by Wayne Taylor

At a Matinee Performance Of I Henry IV, the Overweight Poet Contemplates Falstaff

What a noble piece of work thou art,
Sir John Falstaff: How like an angel;
In aspect-ratio how like a god;
The 25-carat jewel of Shakespeare,
A 25-stone sculpture of Michelangelo’s
Made flesh. This play is your rightful title,
Usurped by that most underfed of traitors,
That thin prince, that skinny pretender
Who hasn’t the girth to bear royalty well.
But you, Falstaff, have the rolling gait
Of majesty, not like this peasant who portages
Himself across the stage like a puff,
And who will turn his high-born back
On you as if you were day-old mutton.
Sweet, sizeable wag and enormous bard,
You could walk among the stars, at home
In the dark brilliance of constellations:
O, brother of my soul! Were we Gemini,
Libra would tip the Universe into our hands.

 

The Overweight Poet Contemplates the Naming of Five Kittens Delivered on His Back Porch Around Midnight of St. Martin’s Eve

I thought this cat was fat,
Obese with canary
And gourmet garbage
When she came three days ago.
But she’s a cheap street prowler
Got in trouble by an old Tom
Who left her when his eyes cooled,
Leaving me to midwife
Her into shameless thinness.
Four of the wet, eyeless creatures
Were female, discovered
By a discreet lifting of tails
(Indelicate but necessary for their christening).
Today their eyes opened,
And they shall be named:
The orange tabby I’ll call Scurvy;
The weak cream-colored kitten
I’11 name Ann or Rexia
(I still can’t decide);
The rum-colored unsteady cat
Looks Dyslexic and is so named;
That toffee-colored girl
I’ll name after my first wife—Hysteria;
And the big chocolate bruiser,
The man of the batch,
The fat one who eats like a true poet
(His sisters are fussy,
But he needs his strength)
Shall be cleped Waldorf
(After the Astoria).

 

The Overweight Poet Enters Sardi’s

“I am with Martineau’s party,”
I say at seven,
“He will be late.”
And I enter Sardi’s
World of gourmet odors;
Champagne,
New furs,
Imported tobacco,
Dry-cleaned tuxedos,
And expensive perfume.
The maitre d’ seats me
In a velvet-backed throne;
(He probably took the reservation,
recognized the name but not the voice
softly on the phone:
“Thees ees Marcel Martineau. A reservacion
for troise at sevan. ”
The boob doesn’t know that Martineau
Is filming Beau Geste
With Zefferelli
In Indochina.)
He hands me the leather-bound menu:
Spinach salad,
Asparagus l’ orange,
Veal and Duck
In wine,
Crepes a la Napoleon,
Croissants with Persian Honey,
Monte Blanc ’43,
And the cherries jubilee
Will be fine.
Tears come to my eyes
Like saliva;
This is Mecca,
Valhalla,
Eden,
Xanadu,
Winchell’s—
With a lot more class.

 

Besieged on All Hallows’ Eve, the Overweight Poet Fulminates Against Ravening Urchins

Curse this trickle of cryptic genetics
Dressed in palilogetic costuming
Who kick my door with rhythmic kinetics!

I am plagued by frantic schizophrenics
Who think there are sweets just for the asking.
Curse this trickle of cryptic genetics!

I’m sick of these identic cosmetics
That every spoiled beggar is wearing
To kick my door with rhythmic kinetics.

Off with your masks of plastic synthetics!
Stop with your fecund killickinnicking,
You cursed trickle of cryptic genetics!

Scram you pediatric diabetics!
Before you get a stinging shellacking
For kicking my door with rhythmic kinetics.

Why can’t phagocytic pyrotechnics
Disinfect the sidewalks by consuming
This cursed trickle of cryptic genetics
Who kick my door with rhythmic kinetics?