"I'll make you!", he promised the lovely young singer,
"the city will fall at your feet!"
As one who'd just moved from a provincial village,
and having scant portions to eat,
the girl was seduced by the vision he offered
of glamor and money and fame;
she'd striven and practiced
and mastered her voice,
and felt she deserved such acclaim;
she could sense he had power, an animal kind,
and would battle for her like a bull,
success in the Arts, after all, comes from smarts
of a kind not acquired at school;
The lust in his eyes; well, it was no surprise
every buck in her village had shown it;
a girl who has charms that few men can resist,
if she wishes to prosper, must own it
She had no intention of being his lover,
she'd engaged in such games long before;
a girl could, she knew, to a line make men hew
that would make her more master than whore
With clinking champagne flutes, the pair launched their mission
to make her the toast of the town;
between them was more than enough raw ambition
to knock every obstacle down
In scarcely a year since the day of their meeting
her fame, like a rocket, did soar;
she played Carmen, Aida, Tosca,
Olympia, Lucia di Lammermoor
To her all the doors of the city flew open
with he as her mentor and guide;
he'd offered to Paris its newest sensation,
and his heart fleetly grew flush with pride
He began to imagine that through such success
not a debt, but her heart he had earned;
One night, in her dressing room, after a show
he attempted a kiss, but was spurned
"Heartless ingrate!" he sputtered in mounting rage,
"I'm taking back all that I gave you;
from your perch you shall topple, my haughty young fool,
and nothing on this earth will save you!"
And soon, as if some magic spell had been broken
his cruel prophecy was fulfilled;
her skin lost its luster, her beauty diminished
her once dulcet voice became shrill
New divas emerged to attract the town's interest
while she became yesterday's story;
she'd have gladly become his slave, body and soul,
in exchange for her lost former glory
But, where was the man who had given, then taken
and in whom all hope for her lay?
Their last exchange closed with a kiss and a curse,
and she'd heard not a word since that day
And no word would she hear, for the man disappeared
why, all traces of him had been scattered;
had it all been a dream? So, to her, did it seem
as her world fell around her and shattered
No aria rises to offer redemption,
there's naught but these words on a page;
Two phantoms, laid low by Desire, in silence
now tragically drift off the stage
Let's take a menagerie mystery tour
through the animal songs of the Fabulous Four!
T'was one of the Beatles' most endearing features
to pen many songs about non-human creatures
So, here they are! Paul's, George's, Ringo's and John's
critters who crawled in and out of their songs!
Man's Best Friend; there's a fine place to start,
so let's meet the sheepdog who melted Paul's heart;
Martha, his love, always kept him delighted,
and yapped from on high when the good Sir was knighted
on The Beatles' White album, a black bird gets mentioned
it's Paul's allegory about racial tensions
And then there is Rocky, the feisty raccoon
who finds his salvation above a saloon
John gives us Henry the Horse, and his waltz
in his whimsical circus song, laden with shmaltz
"I Am The Walrus!", obscurely sang John
causing listeners to ponder just WHAT he was on
curiouser and curiouser the song's lyrics grow
till penguins are kicking poor E. Allen Poe!
Before "Happiness Is A Warm Gun"'s refrain
a lizard slinks by on a slick window pane
and later, to prove he was nobody's flunky
John sang that he'd nothing to hide, nor his monkey
George, feeling righteous; t'was often his wont
penned 'Piggies', the rich upper classes to taunt
while Ringo's no wordsmith, he (begging his pardon)
still managed an octopus tending his garden
and still there were more of their animal cronies;
George followed a Blue Jay, while John dug a pony;
Elephants, tigers, a bulldog or two
The Beatles bequeathed us a musical zoo!
And though it was love songs that gave them their fame
let's recall that a crawler provided their name!
The Admiral & The Prince of Whales
I'm a seafaring admiral!
well, I'm the Prince of Whales;
let's chat a bit, for - I'm sure of it -
we both have thrilling tales
I fought with sea serpents thrice your size
while my crew mates quivered in fear;
t'was how I got my admiral's stripes
and a scar upon my ear
I plunged the deepest, darkest depths
quite eager to explore,
and there I saw a giant squid
with twenty limbs, or more!
I've battled pirates wickeder than
devils beyond the Styx,
took all I had to overcome
their cunning pirate tricks
my songs have brought the angels down
from Paradise to hear
a golden harp they gave me;
it's a treasure I hold dear
a wave once rose to drown my ship
'twas higher than the sky
but I'm a seasoned sailing man,
victorious was I!
I've swum from pole to pole
and drunk from all the Seven Seas
all brine upon this turquoise pearl
I navigate with ease!
I too! I've tasted all
the ocean's bounties and its banes;
it's made me! Why, it's brine,
not blood, that courses through my veins!
Time's never wasted talking with
a gent who knows the sea!
Likewise, good prince; yet, leave I must
my mom is calling me!
Thomas Tobias Underwear & Penelope Lingerie
set out at noon to take in the views,
and receive a few, I'd say!
They headed up Amsterdam Avenue,
and somewhere near John the Divine,
they chatted away at a sidewalk cafe
and reddened their cheeks with wine
It was something of a mystery
that the Museum of Natural History
would not let the couple inside
'Why, how can this be? What's more natural than we?"
But they took the letdown in stride.
They continued their lark,
and in Riverside Park
they gazed off at the GWB;
till strong winds off the river
caused Penny to shiver,
so they went off in search of tea
Beneath the Ansonia, a touch of pneumonia
caused Tom to beg off their visit to MOMA
and thus, they ended their expedition
without checking out the Chagall exhibition
I didn’t make my lovely ones so you
could hack off parts;
or place in zoos, or circuses
all painted up like tarts;
their ivory IS lovely, yes,
but made for THEM, not you;
they’re much too smart and
social to be happy in a zoo;
to me, they are the mammal kingdom’s
fairest, finest creatures;
It took great care and patience
to design their lovely features;
with potent cosmic energy
I danced them into being,
so honor, love and treasure them
and set about their freeing!
Oh, I’m such a city girl!
I love the lights, the brights, the wining, dining divine nights!
the looks of desire, hearts set afire
taxi gliding, sky scraping spires!
casual flirtations, watering stations
galleries, fashion shows, newest sensations!
champagne, city rain, chats with strangers on a train
Tomorrow, I'll do it all again!
I love the city life!
My favorite place for perching is upon a rhino’s lap
It’s there I daydream, sing, imagine, read and take a nap.
It’s spacious as a royal mattress, or a sultan’s chair;
and all the while the rhino's giant snout shades me from glare.
A rhino’s faulty eyesight gives a Rhino Sitter clearance
to worry not a tad about one’s looks or one’s appearance.
His mild, placid manner means you seldom need to worry
that he will suddenly aright and take off in a hurry.
I sat upon an ostrich once, but nothing’s more preposterous!
I’m taking no more chances and will stay with my rhinoceros.
And though I’m yet a youngling there’s one thing
for sure I know;
one’s life passes most pleasantly when
perched on a rhino!
This is a quick, collaborative effort, created with friends Hugh Ashton and Peter Sidell, who provided some of the verses.
Howard Empty Pockets
Howard Empty Pockets is forever
in the red; he used to have a
bit of cash, but bit by bit
"Whatever happened to it all?"
He asks in some dismay;
"It's flown to others' hands now,
all I do is pay and pay!"
"I used to live a life of ease,
and dined on caviar.
But now my daily meal is peas,
and pickles from a jar."
"I drove a fancy Rolls-Royce once,
unlike the rest of us.
But now, I end up walking
or on good days, take the bus."
"I drank from crystal glasses,
and it always was champagne;
but now when I feel thirsty,
I just have to wait for rain."
"My pockets used to jingle
as I strode along the street.
There's nothing now but holes there,
and somehow, that's not so neat."
"When life was good, the ladies
used to swarm 'round me like bees!
But now the only swarms I
ever think about are fleas."
"Alas", he says, "I must adjust
to my reduced condition."
And bidding me a sad farewell, he heads
back toward the mission.