Although Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” is an excellent work in its way, it doesn’t rhyme. I’ve remedied that with the following verses. I post here only the first and last sections.
I sing myself, and as I celebrate,
I’ll just assume that you reciprocate;
For all my atoms also are in you,
So I’ll assume you think the way I do.
I loaf, and as I sit here on my ass,
I lean and look at spears of summer grass.
My tongue, and every atom of my blood,
Are generated from this air and mud.
For I was born here, and my parents too,
And theirs as well, and all the motley crew.
I’m now in perfect health, I’m thirty-seven,
And I won’t stop until I get to heaven.
I don’t find creeds or schools to be much fun,
They’re not forgotten, but their time is done.
I blurt out good and evil with each move:
I’m nature at its best; I’m in the groove.
The spotted hawk swoops downward through the haze,
And scolds me for my gab and lazy ways.
Well, you can’t translate me, I’m too aloof:
I sound my savage yawp upon the roof.
The last scud of the day holds something back,
It flings my likeness out with all the pack,
As true as any in the shadowed murk,
And coaxes me to finish off my work.
I fly like air, I shake my snowy locks,
I turn to foam, and spatter on the rocks.
I leave myself for dirt and grass to use,
So if you want to find me, check your shoes.
Though you don’t understand the stuff I say,
I plan to keep you healthy anyway,
And filter all your blood and make it nice.
So in the years to come, take my advice:
If you don’t find me, just look somewhere new,
And maybe I’ll be waiting there for you.
Tags: *Words · W
Here’s another excerpt from The Doug Skinner Dossier. Since it’s puzzled a couple of readers, I’ll point out that both the letters and words are complete alphabets, just not in alphabetical order.
F is a vapor
Z is an elk
U is a paper
S is a whelk
I is a chukka
W is a trail
L is a yucca
D is a quail
Y is a label
N is a mace
E is a gable
H is an ace
B is a xebec
P is a jib
M is a rebec
T is a nib
K is a zipper
A is an ut
Q is a dipper
G is a flute
X is a hobo
O is a kerf
C is an oboe
V is a serf
J is a bridle
R is an idol
Tags: *Words · A
This little alphabet can be found in The Doug Skinner Dossier: Nouns are paired with adjectives, from “Ale is Bitter” to “Youth is Zealous.”
Tags: *Cartoons · Q
Here’s another excerpt from The Doug Skinner Dossier (see last post). It’s the first bit of “Trevor’s New Job.”
TREVOR’S NEW JOB
“I didn’t think I’d need a job in the afterlife,” said Trevor.
Mr. Wallingford smirked at him from across his desk. “Didn’t you need a job in life?” he asked.
“Well, yes,” said Trevor, “but I thought I’d be a spirit here.”
“Spirit is just attenuated matter,” explained Mr. Wallingford, “and everything is as solid to us here as it is to the living. And just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you get free food and rent.” He thumped his desk for emphasis. It sounded solid to Trevor.
Mr. Wallingford picked up a sheet of paper.
“You,” he said, “will be put to work acting in people’s dreams.”
“What?” said Trevor. “Don’t people just dream?”
“Of course not. Dreams are professionally produced, and broadcast into sleeping brains.”
“What’s the point of that?”
“The point of all broadcasting: advertising. The sleeper may not remember his dreams, but his unconscious remembers the product.”
“Don’t I get to choose my job?” asked Trevor.
“Free will ended with your last heartbeat,” Mr. Wallingford curtly informed him. “Things are less anarchic on this side.”…
Tags: *Words · T
The Doug Skinner Dossier is now available from Black Scat Books! This blessed compendium features articles, short stories, verses, columns, literary essays, alphabets, metrical translations, monologues, talks, cartoons, rounds, lipogrammatic smut, a puppet show, a ventriloquism routine, and a one-act play. 248 pages of pure, unadulterated Skinner. Holy cow!
Tags: *Cartoons · *Words · D
This is the first page of the illustrated version of the verses that I posted here. This too will appear in The Doug Skinner Dossier, out later this month from Black Scat Books.
Tags: *Cartoons · G
Here’s the beginning of a short story, “Baby Bay.” The whole thing will appear in The Doug Skinner Dossier, to be published next month by Black Scat Books. You can read this while you wait…
High up in the treetops, old Mr. Stork shuffled into the Baby Bay, and peered over his specs at the day’s deliveries.
Now, you may not know this, but when a man and woman copulate and produce a baby, either by accident or design, it goes to old Mr. Stork’s Baby Bay for delivery. There, old Mr. Stork’s young assistant, Henry, sorts all of the infants by zip code, and lays them in the outgoing bins for delivery. Old Mr. Stork wraps each one in a reasonably clean piece of cloth, and then flies off with the bundle in his beak. If he doesn’t sneeze or something, he leaves it under a cabbage leaf, where the new parents track it by its smell. This is easier than pushing it out through a vagina.
As old Mr. Stork looked over the squalling infants, he blanched, which is difficult through feathers.
“Criminy!” he expostulated. “This is the ugliest bunch yet.”
Henry shook his head sadly. “Another church picnic,” he explained.
“I need some coffee,” muttered old Mr. Stork, backing out of the room.
Storks don’t usually drink coffee, but old Mr. Stork had a difficult job, and needed his stimulants.
Henry fell into a reverie, daydreaming about his intended, Samantha, and her inviting cloaca. Maybe some day they would have four yellowish eggs of their own…
Tags: *Words · B
A brief essay on the nature of humor. This page will appear in The Doug Skinner Dossier, to be published next month by Black Scat Books.
Tags: *Cartoons · H
Just in time for June Gloom, Black Scat Books proudly presents the first in a series of Black Scat Broadsides: Alphonse Allais’s “A Curious Physiological Industry,” translated by Doug Skinner. In the spirit of Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” this rare text is the master absurdist at his devilish best — a full-color, poster-sized (12 x 18 inches) collector’s broadsheet edition. Printed on acid-free paper and suitable for framing. $10, from Black Scat Books.
Tags: *Words · C
Tags: *Index Cards