Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Shape I Am In

Well, it's been a long haul, and I am sorry to have been so long away. But honestly I couldn't figure out to get back into this blog. But now I have finally managed it and I come skidding back in with my New Year resolutions just prior to my fifty-eighth birthday (this coming Tuesday, January 10. . . Happy Birthday to me! ).

The first of the poems below was written for a challenge at Wild Poetry Forum and was not occasioned by my birthday (liar! liar!). . . I wrote the poem in October after returning from attending the Jack the Ripper conference in Brighton, England. In the poem I liken myself to Ariel Sharon in terms of size. Following Mr. Sharon's unfortunate massive stroke of the past few days, I have written a couple of poems since announcing my New Year resolutions to give up beer and Kit Kats -- [A sidelight for Ripperologists... the rotund man who inspired the poem is not Sharon but author and D'Onstonite, Ivor Edwards, seen in the bar of the Royal Albion Hotel, Brighton]

The Shape I Am In

It's my birthday... fifty seven today,
and in a pub a man floats by with a pint of beer.
I construe him as tubby Ariel Sharon drifting
over porpoised carpet, as Sharon hovers blimp-like
over the mosaicked, jigsawed Mideast. But with despair
I realize I am the tub shape of Sharon -- reject
workout for one more lager at the bar rail,
more munchies. Where is that thin young man
who sailed to Nixon's America,
paddy fields with napalm or Canadian sanctuary
-- I didn't get drafted, lottery no. 315
of 365. But heard of another Liverpool boy,
a non-citizen who died in Vietnam,
could have been me, tear gas and blood
at Kent State in Neil Young's lyrics--
"Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio."
Ah, but luckily at fifty seven
(all those Heinz varieties of me!)
I can sail above it all,
rolling in the stratosphere
like Ariel Sharon.


No Belly Laugh for Me

No, ma'am, now that
I've given up beer,
y'all cain't call me
Mr Beergut no more.

I'm a lean machine,
venting my spleen
at the couch potatoes,
those spare tire folks.

I WILL be thin; I WILL
get in those duds I never
could before -- now I
have given up the suds.


No Kit Kats

on the train going home
from D.C. to Baltimore, MD:
no treats to munch between
the Anacostia and Seabrook.

In the poem I wrote, published
of late in Words-Myth,
aptly titled "The Shape I Am In,"
I blithely compared myself

to tubby Ariel Sharon,
testimony to my flab -- but
now Ariel lies near death
in a Jerusalem hospital;

blood flooded his brain
after a second stroke
brought on no doubt
by his undue obesity--

I remember the April photograph
of Bush greeting Sharon
in Crawford, after the overweight
Israeli hauled from a limo:

our slim leader accompanied
by his black Scottie
grasping the meaty paw
of the rotund P.M.

What a salutary lesson as I pray
for Sharon's recovery and
continue my fast, slimming
down into the New Year.

Christopher T. George

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