We all know what we want. Why,
more than once while wandering I
have encountered canny Buddhists
poring over long to-do lists:
to do, to get, to have, to hold,
something to keep out the cold
along the path of least resistance.
And in this corner are the Christians,
loudly praying for forgiveness
of lucre and many another weakness.
And students of the Tao, most heedful
when talk turns to the one thing needful.
Libertarians, not surprisingly
letting live. And socialists, enterprisingly
considerate of the thine and mine.
Austerity’s a bitch, and discipline
makes one less troubled by the taint of
cash. But we want what we can’t have:
A five-star spacious gold-draped room
with furnishings to die in. Then a tomb
that makes the tourists ask their guides,
is there a pyramid besides
the ones here listed? A brand new one? He
must have had a pile of money!
But no. We take what we can get: Drive-thru
and take-out, frozen, fondue,
limp and left over—and that’s romance.
Don’t ask about the food! No chance
of sustenance but bread and ale,
one watered down, the other stale.
If there’s filet, it’s never mignon.
It’s just ground round, you can depend on
that. If wine, expect domestic.
One’s car? At best a Crown Vic,
never the Continental. Or, more like,
a Ford Fiesta. Or a bike.
A lake boat from a second job. A yacht?
Fat chance, cap’n. A time-share, not
a country home, with loud, intrusive
neighbors, who want to see how “youse” live.
So I, Erasmus, being no stooge
gave up my search and sought refuge
in the captivating House of Pies,
where I met some decent guys,
and one who said his name was Jon
gave me brand-new white apron,
a cap and broom. Here all receive, he
said, their just desserts. Believe me,
this food is filling. À la mode or carte—
have just as much as your little heart
desires, and—what desires are for--
there’s always room for a little more.
The Sea Mammals’ Return