NOTE TO THE READER – Once Apun a Time
This yarn is a flossy fabric woven of several earlier warped works, lightly laced together, adorned with fur-ther braided tails of human frailty. The looms were loosed, purling frantically this febrile fable...
Some pearls may be found wanting – unwanted or unwonted – piled or hanging loose, dangling free within a fuzzy flight of fancy...
The threads of this untethered tissue may be fastened, or be forgotten, or else be stranded by the readers and left unravelling in the knotted corners of their minds...
'twill be perchance that some may laugh or loll in loopy stitches, else be torn or ripped apart, while others might just simply say “ ’tis made of hole cloth”, “sew what” or “cant seam to get the needle point”...,
yes, a proper disentanglement may take you for a spin on twisted twines of any strings you feel might need attaching or detaching…
picking knits, some may think that
such strange things ‘have Never happened in our Land’,
such quaint things ‘could Never happen in our Land’’,
such murky things ‘will Never happen in our Land’’…
and this may all be true, if credence be dis-carded…
such is that gooey gossamer which vails the human mind...
and thus was born the teasing title of this fabricated Fantasy...
An ancient man named Peter Pan, disguised but from the past,
with feathered cap and tunic wrap and sabre’s sailed his last.
Though fully grown, on dust he’s flown and perched upon a mast
atop the Walls around the sprawls, unvisited and vast -
and all the while with bitter smile he’s watching us aghast.
As day begins, a spindle spins, it weaves a wanton web;
like puckered prunes, like midday moons, like yesterday’s celebs,
we scrape and *****, we seldom hope - he watches while we ebb:
The ***** grinder preaches fine on Sunday afternoons -
he quotes from books but overlooks the Secrets Carved in Runes:
“You’ve tried and toyed, but can’t avoid or shun the pale monsoons,
it’s sink or swim as echoed dim in swinging door saloons”.
The laughingstocks are flinging rocks at ball-and-chained baboons.
While ghetto boys are looting toys preparing for their doom
and Mademoiselles are weaving shells on tapestries with looms,
Cathedral cats and rafter rats are peering in the room,
where ragged strangers stoop for change, for coppers in the gloom,
whose thoughts are more upon the doors of crypts in Christmas bloom,
and gold doubloons and silver spoons that tempt beyond the tomb.
Mid *** shots from vacant lots, that strike and ricochet
a painted girl with flaxen curl (named Wendy)’s on her way
to tantalise with half-clad thighs, to trick again today;
and indiscreet upon the street she gives her pride away
to any guy who’s passing by with time and cash to pay.
(In concert halls beyond the Walls, unjaded girls ballet,
with flowered thoughts of Camelot and dreams of cabarets.)
Though rip-off shops and crooked cops are paid not once but thrice,
the painted girl with flaxen curl is paring down her price
and loosely tempts cold hands unkempt to touch the merchandise.
A crazy guy cries “where am I”, a ****** titters twice,
and double quick a lunatic affects a fight with lice.
The alleyways within the maze are paved with rats and mice.
Evangelists with moneyed fists collect the sacrifice
from losers scorned and rubes reborn, and promise paradise,
while in the back they cook some crack, inhale, and roll the dice.
A *** called Boe has stubbed his toe, he’s stumbled in the gutter;
with broken neck, he looks a wreck, the sparrows all aflutter,
the passers-by, they close an eye, and turn their heads and mutter:
“Let’s pray for rains to wash the lanes, to clear away the clutter.”
A river slows neath mountain snows, and leaves begin to shudder.
The jungle teems, a siren screams, the air is filled with ****.
The Reverent Priest and nuns unleash the Holy Shibboleth.
And Righteous Jane who is insane, as well as Sister Beth,
while telling tales to no avail of everlasting death,
at least imbrue Hagg Avenue with whisky on their breath.
The Reverent Priest combats the Beast, they’re kneeling down to prey,
to fight the truth with fang and tooth, to toil for yesterday,
to etch their mark within the dark, to paint their résumé
on shrouds and sheets which then completes the devil’s dossier.
Old Dan, he’s drunk and in a funk, all mired in the mud.
A Monk begins to wash Dan’s sins, and asks “How are you, Bud?”
“I’m feeling pain and crying rain and flailing in the flood
and no god’s there inclined to care I’m always coughing blood.”
The Monk, he turns, Dan’s words he spurns and lets the bible thud.
Well, Banjo Boy, he will annoy with jangled rhymes that fray:
“The clanging bells of carousels lead blind men’s minds astray
to rings of gold they’ll never hold in fingers made of clay.
But crest and crown will crumble down, when withered roots decay.”
A pregnant lass with eyes of glass has never learned to cope.
Once set adrift her fall was swift, she slid a slipp’ry ***** -
she casts the Curse, the Holy Verse, and shoots a shot of dope,
then stalks discreet Asylum Street her daily horoscope -
the stray was struck by random truck which was her only hope.
So Banjo Boy, with little joy, he strums her life entire:
“The wayward waif was never safe; her stars were dark and dire.
Born midst the rues and avenues where lack and want aspire
where no one heeds the childish needs that little ones require;
where faith survives in tempest lives, a swirl within the briar,
Infinity grinds as time unwinds, until the winds expire.
Her last caprice? The final peace that no one could deny her -
whipped by the flood, stray beads of blood cling, splattered on the spire;
though beads of sweat are cool and wet, cold clotted blood is dryer.”
Though broken there, she’s fled the snare with dying thoughts serene.
And now she’s dead, the rumours spread: her age? a sweet 16,
with child, *****, her soul dyed red, her body so unclean.
A place is sought where she can rot, avoiding churchyard scenes,
in limey pits, as well befits, behind forbidding screens;
and all the while a dirge is styled on tattered tambourines
which echo through the human zoo in valleys of the Queens.
Without rejoice, in hissing voice, near soil that’s seldom trod
“In pious role, God bless my soul”, was mouthed with mitred nod,
neath scarlet trim with black, and grim, behind a robed facade -
“She’ll burn in hell and sulphur smell”, spat Priest and man of god.
Well, angels sweet with cloven feet, they sing in girl’s attire,
but Banjo Boy, he’s playing coy while chanting in the choir:
“The clueless search within the church to find what they desire,
but near the nave or gravelled grave, there is no Rectifier.”
And when he’s through, without ado, he stacks some stones nearby her.
The eyes behind the head inclined reflect a universe
of shanty towns and kings in crowns and parties in a hearse,
of heaping mounds of coffee grounds and pennies in a purse,
of heart attacks in shoddy shacks, of motion in reverse,
of reasons why pale kids must die, quite trite and curtly terse,
of puppet people at the steeple, kneeling down averse,
of ****** tones and megaphones with empty words and worse,
of life’s begin’ in utter sin and other things perverse,
of lewd taboos and residues contained within the Curse,
while poets blind, in gallows’ rind, carve epitaphs in verse.
A sodden dreg with wooden leg is dancing for a dime
to sacred psalms and other balms, all ticking with the time.
He’s 22, he’s almost through, he’s melted in his prime,
his bane is firm, the canker worm dissolves his brain to slime.
With slanted scales and twisted jails, his life’s his only crime.
A beggar clump beside a dump has pencil box in hand.
With sightless eyes upon the skies he’s lying there unmanned,
with no relief and bitter grief too dark to understand.
The backyard blight is hid from sight, it’s covered up and bland,
and Robin Hood and Brother Hood lie buried in the sand.
While all night queens carve figurines in gelatine and jade,
behind a door and on the floor a deal is finally made;
the painted girl with flaxen curl has plied again her trade
and now the care within her stare has turned a darker shade.
Her lack of guile and parting smile are cutting like a blade.
Some boys with cheek play hide and seek within a house condemned,
their faces gaunt reflecting want that’s hard to comprehend.
With no excuse an old recluse is waiting to descend.
His eyes despair behind the stare, he’s never had a friend
to talk about his hidden doubt of how the world will end -
to die alone on empty throne and other Fates impend.
And soon the boys chase phantom joys and, presto when they’re gone,
the old recluse, with nimble noose and ****** features drawn,
no longer waits upon the Fates but yawns his final yawn
- like Tinker Bell, he spins a spell, in fairy dust chiffon -
with twisted brow, he’s tranquil now, he’s floating like a swan
and as he fades from life’s charades, the night awaits the dawn.
A boomerang with ebon fang is soaring through the air
to pierce and breach the heart of each and then is called despair.
And as it grows it will oppose and fester everywhere.
And yet the crop that’s at the top will still be unaware.
A lad is stopped by roving cops, who shoot in disregard.
His face is black, he’s on his back, a breeze is breathing hard,
he bleeds and dies, his mama cries, the screaming sky is scarred,
the sheriff and his squad at hand are laughing in the yard.
Now Railroad Bob’s done lost his job, he’s got no place for working,
His wife, she cries with desperate eyes, their baby’s head’s a’ jerking.
The union man don’t give a ****, Big Brother lies a’ lurking,
the boss’ in cabs are picking scabs, they count their money, smirking.
Bob walks the streets and begs for eats or little jobs for trying
“the answer’s no, you ought to know, no use for you applying,
and don’t be sad, it aint that bad, it’s soon your time for dying.”
The air is thick, his baby’s sick, the cries are multiplying.
Bob’s wife’s in town, she’s broken down, she’s ranting with a fury,
their baby coughs, the doctor scoffs, the snow flies all a’ flurry.
Hard work’s the sin that’s done them in, they skirmish, scrimp and scurry,
and midnight dreams abound with screams. Bob knows he needs to hurry.
It’s getting late, Bob’s tempting fate, his choices cruel and blurry;
he chooses gas, they breathe their last, there’s no more cause to worry.
Per protocols near ivied walls arrayed in sage festoons,
the Countess quips, while giving tips, to crimson caped buffoons:
“To rise from mass to upper class, like twirly bird tycoons,
you stretch the treat you always eat, with tiny tablespoons”
A learned leach begins to teach (with songs upon a liar):
“Within the thrall of Satan’s call to yield to dim desire
lie wicked lies that tantalize the flesh and blood Vampire;
abiding souls with self-control in everyday Hellfire
will rest assured, when once interred, in afterlife’s Empire”.
These words reweave the make believe, while slugs in salt expire,
baptised in tears and rampant fears, all mirrored in the mire.
It’s getting hot on private yachts, though far from desert plains -
“Well, come to think, we’ll have a drink”, Sir Captain Hook ordains.
Beyond the blame and pit of shame, outside the Walled domains,
they pet their pups and raise their cups, take sips of pale champagnes
to touch the tips of languid lips with pearls of purple rains.
Well, Gypsy Guy would rather die than hunker down in chains,
be ridden south with bit in mouth, or heed the hold of reins.
The ruling lot are in a spot, the boss man he complains:
“The gypsies’ soul, I can’t control, my patience wears and wanes;
they will not cede to common greed, which conquers far domains
and furtive spies and news that lies have barely baked their brains.
But in the court of last resort the final fix remains:
in boxcar bins with violins we’ll freight them out in trains
and in the bogs, they’ll die like dogs, and everybody gains
(should one ask why, a quick reply: ‘It’s that which God ordains!’)”
Arrayed in shawls with crystal *****, and gazing at the moons,
wiled women tease with melodies and spooky loony tunes
while making toasts to holey ghosts on rainy day lagoons:
“Well, here’s to you and others too, embedded in the dunes,
avoid the stares, avoid the snares, avoid the veiled typhoons
and fend your way as every day, ’gainst heavy heeled dragoons.”
The birds of pray are on their way, in every beak the Word
(of ptomaine tomes by gnarly gnomes) whose meaning is obscured;
they roost aloof on every roof, obscene but always herd,
to tell the tale of Jonah’s whale and other rhymes absurd
with shifty eyes, they’re giving whys for living life deferred.
While jackals lean, hyenas mean, and hungry crocodiles
feast in the lounge and never scrounge, lambs languish in the aisle.
The naive dare to say “Unfair, let’s try to reconcile.
We’ll all relax and weigh the facts, let justice spin the dial.”
With jaundiced monks and minds pre-shrunk, the jury is compiled.
The Rulers meet, First Ladies greet, the Kings appear in style.
Before the Court, their sins are short, they’re swept into a pile;
with diatribes and petty bribes, the jurors are beguiled.
The Herd entreats, the Shepherd bleats the verdict of the trial:
“You have no face. Stay in your place, stay in the Rank and File.
And wait instead, for when you’re dead, for riches after while”;
Aristocrats add caveats while sailing down the Nile:
“If Minds are mugged or simply drugged with philtres in a vial,
then few indeed will fail to feed the Pharaoh’s Crocodile.”
The wordsmiths spin, the bankers grin and politicians smile,
the riff and raff, they never laugh, they mark a martyred mile.
The rituals are finished, all, here comes the Reverent Priest.
He leads the crowds beneath the clouds, and there the flock is fleeced
(“the last are first, the rich are cursed” - the leached remain the least)
with crossing signs and ****** wines and consecrated yeast.
His step is gay without dismay before his evening feast;
he thanks the Lord for room and, bored, he nods to Eden East
but doesn’t sigh or wonder why the sins have not decreased.
The sinking sun’s at last undone, the sky glows faintly red.
A spider black hides in a crack and spins a silken thread
and babes will soon collapse and swoon, on curbs they call a bed;
with vacant eyes they'll fantasize and dream of gingerbread,
and so be freed, though still in need, from anguish of the dead.
Fat midnight bats feast, gnawing gnats, and flit away serene
while on the trails in distant dales the lonesome wolverine
sate appetites on foggy nights and days like crystalline.
A migrant feeds on gnats and weeds with fingers far from clean
and thereby’s blessed with barren breast (the easier to wean) -
her baby ***** an arid flux and fades away unseen.
The circus gongs excite the throngs in nighttime Never Land –
they swarm to see the destiny of Freaks at their command,
while Acrobats step pitapat across the shifting sands
and Lady Fat adores her cat and oozes charm unplanned.
The Dwarfs in suits, so small and cute when marching with the band,
ask crimson Clowns with painted frowns, to lend a mutant hand,
while Tamers’ whips with withered tips, throughout the winter land,
lure minds entranced through hoops enhanced with flames of fires fanned.
White Elephants in big-top tents sell black tusk contraband
to Sycophants in regiments who overflow the stands,
but No One sees anomalies, and No One understands.
At night’s demise, the dither dies, the lonely Crowd disbands,
down dead-end streets the Horde retreats, their threadbare rags in strands,
and Janes and Joes reweave their woes, for thoughts of change are banned.
The Monk of Mock has fled the flock caught knocking up a tween.
(She brought to light the special rite he sought to leave unseen.)
With profaned eyes they agonise, their souls no more serene
and at the shrine the flutes of wine are filled with kerosene
by men unkempt who once had dreamt but now can dream no more
except when bellowed bellies belch an ever growing roar,
which churns the seas and whips a breeze that mercy can’t ignore,
and in the night, though filled with fright, they try to end the War.
The slow and quick are hurling bricks and fight with clubs of rage
to break the chains and cleanse the stains of life within a cage,
but yield to stings of armoured things that crush in every age.
At crack of dawn, a broken pawn, in pools of blood and fire,
attends the wounds, in blood festooned (the waves flow nigh and nigher),
while ghetto towns are burning down (the flames grow high and higher);
and in their wake, a golden snake is rising from the pyre.
Her knees are bare, consumed in prayer, applauded by the Friar,
and soon it’s clear the end is near - while magpie birds conspire,
the lowly worm is made to squirm while dangling from a wire.
The line was crossed, the battle lost, the losers can’t deny,
the residues are far and few, though smoke pervades the sky.
The cool wind’s cruel, a cutting tool, the vanquished ask it “Why?”,
and bittersweet, from Easy Street, the Pashas’ puffed reply:
“The rules are set, so don’t forget, the rabble will comply;
the grapes of wrath may make you laugh, the day you are to die.”
The down and out, they knock about beneath the barren skies
where homeward bound, without a sound, a ravaged raven flies.
Beyond the Walls, the morning calls the newborn sun to rise,
and Peter Pan, a broken man, inclines his head and cries...