Percy the Pianist: Canto 1, stanzas 51-69


   To its own substance; woven tracery ran
Of light firm texture, ribbed and branching, o’er
   The solid rind, like a leaf’s veined fan—
Of which Love scooped this boat—and with soft motion
Piloted it round the circumfluous Ocean.
      –Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Witch of Atlas, XXXIII, 308

The bath continued… The river Lethe flowed
From a faucet which he controlled with
His left foot. On floor thirty-four he rowed
Like an animal oarsman holding fifth
In a race involving sixteen faye blythe
Spirits, darting downstream, their leafy
Canoes buffeted between the giant’s stiff
Causeway and Leviathan, recently
Emerged from Fingal’s cavern, a hairy

Pair of rocks wobbling in the warm shadow
Cast from an overhanging stomach. Jonas
Could not take flight from this actor. Mad! “Ow,”
He wailed, “I stubbed my toe, not an anus
Injury I know, a model succubus
Could heal me, and without a second thoughty
He realised the tub would run a course
Of water to the floor. Naughty naughty
Boy should he be so careless and haughty.

The main problem(s) with Percy’s bath was that
It was lukewarm, which is fine for most chill
Dudes, but our pianist was uncool. A hat
Didn’t help, quite simply, he was a dill,
Not worth his salt in word salad. Yet still
He tried to please. He splashed vainly about,
Clancy of the undertow – he’d never fill
The tub beyond halfway, because the stout
Duck of rubber would then wail and – lout!

Thus he self-amused. His duck, unforgivable –
How time flies – it would complain the choc
Brownie was too hard for its mandible,
Or two (if they had two shutter-stock
Photos. Did that give the true picture? Shock
Horror could it be? He dozed – a snooze
Would do him a world of good – too much mock
Heroic – like trying to contain a flock

Of llamas, it’s too hard, nay formidable,
But that’s a horse! Horses for courses? How now brown
Cow, chewing the cud, admirable
Pastime for retired Generals! (He dreamed.) A frown
Crossed his tired mug (not glass (that’s blown
And for latte sippers. Porcelain’s a Ming thing,
Give the Wedgewood’s some credit, the whole town
Is full of them!) Past or present, the clown

Will always pass the fool and growl disdain
As a lion in the tiger’s jaws tries to
Free it-self from the wild skulker – not slain
Yet the orange-striped cat! The human zoo
Is full of genii, but there are too few
Homo sapiens intelligentsia,
Neanderthals rule the roost – achoo!
A sneeze is someone’s dream to clear
A blocked nose. Plot a fresh course: dessert? Dear!)

He sneezed as if Fortuna’s plentiful
Horn had been pilfered by Aeolus, or one
Of his awesome foursome sons. Bountiful
Blessings for the rowers (and their cox!) Fun
Times. But Percival’s arse, the round sun
Doth setteth. Out! Out of thy foamy tub,
Dry the crannies. Get out! The clock doth run,
Your spindly legs are clean [scrub-a-dub-dub
Nine men in a tub.] Thank ye gods for the rub.

His leg twitched, his left eyelid fluttered as
If a firefly, softly seeking, had marked
A river for Debussy’s blurry day,
While Rachmaninov’s fluorescent car parked
In a ‘No fly’ zone. A Medean tear sparked
A weep – they were like smelling salts fracking
Poesie – all there is is silence. George baulked!
He’d yet to get or hear fateful clacking
From his Swan – Zzen is the sound of quacking!

The bathtub was full like a fine Sydney
Congregation where the preacher, silent
As snow on a Sunday, has to defray
The gathering. Why? Because it was Lent.
The worshippers slunk, the incense then sent
Some of them to sleep, like a modern clock
Made in China with a snoz button meant
To lull the listener into a block
Head. The house, door and pane. Did you not lock?

Archimedes at desk
Designing the bathroom was a challenge for old Archimedes

A bubble or two (or three (or four (five))
Rose, like a ghost at a banquet where
The histrionic wife believes that Tyre
Is near Turkey! Is Kneehongo near there?
That’s a langage! You can sit anywhere
You like — (chicken tonight?) — Soy leg
Or breast haunted the –

Oblivion’s pond beckoned, reflecting
The light. It flickered. If winked OFF.
One eye opened, brown eye closed. Texting
Was not advised, bc he was a toff
And had left his soul by the sink. “Cough cough.”
“Who’s there?” “What’s the time?” said the speech bubble,
Hesitating before a low eddy. Ouff, oeuf,
Sinking below the flotsam of stubble.
That was his gf’s beard — heinous trouble!

He woke with a start. His right leg was pulled
By an unseen hand that used his foot as
A lever. He would’ve been fooled
If he’d mistakenly thought it was
Bert Russell, who’s philosophy had skooled
Him in the way of rationality …
His eyes drooped, his toe blinked, his arm, his arm …

Stretching like a yogi at Friday drinks
Was the way to release pent up feeling
Of dejection from years of narrow winks
But thin visibility. Sex healing
Had not happened. Four years’ restless reeling
From rejection – an ode to diffidence
And difference of tone. He’d been dealing
With this long enough – a hard existence
Not for freshly new minted innocence.

But who cares? Who would give a polished bird
To Saint Valentine, patron saint of fuchs?
Percy bit his tongue. Could he join the herd
And play for love? Futile! Foolish .. Aw shucks.
He was cynical in cycles, the pucks
Of flirting these days a forlorn footnote.
Approaching mid-forties life kinda sucks,
Married or not, but love will always float
To the top ~ even in a scummy moat.

Thoughts crowded into the meditation
Bowl. Our pianist was well versed in the art
Of the blank stare, letting the mind cage run
Through the memory banks, pulling apart
Vestigial traces of the Walmart
Trip taken by the brain in skull on neck
Fixed to a walking torso. That’s a wart
On his nose — not as big as Franz Liszt’s speck
Of dirt. So who was he? Gregory Peck.

Other actors came from behind the screen,
Including Plato the Socratic man
Who claimed another dude’s glorious sheen
Of influence, kicker of the can
Of gnosis –> to Aristotlean
Lyceums, the peripatetic fan
Base squabbling about epicycles, until
Ptolemy conceived a meticulous plan
To fix them like stars on a window sill
From his Ship of Fools — it is like that still!

And so on and so on, and so it goes,
Down to face the abyss he floated like
A traveling gull. Only Venus knows
Why he was thrown towards the baleful spike
Of eternal damnation. On your bike
Percy — do not look back, do not pass go;
Await the judgment of the goddess Nike,
She may yet heed your cry of “I don’t know”
And provide succour to endless sorrow.

His head sank slowly .. breath — tranquillity
Embodied in the thorax region. Bio-
Logy: It’s complicated, especially
When it comes to lust. He had not read Dio
Cassius — who was he? He snored a neo-
Genesis evangelical dream that
Gave him an orexis, but not below
The navel. It was just above the eyes, dat
Third beacon, the great red dot. What? What? What

Prediluvian football. What? Nothing
Is a pressing boot, a contrarian
Desire for silencia (just fling
The snotball south). Wake up! Maxims, arrows, shing!
Nietzsche smiled (he wouldn’t miss the gig
Even if he was Snowden in a sling,
Or John ‘Lil’ Wayne bobbin about in a jig
Round the Circus Minimus): “Who is Stig?”

To be continued…


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