Arrow Tie
or "A Numbered List of Friends, and their Salient Attributes"


He who dares
Catharine the spurious fish
Arthur Moe

  1. In trying to win her the sinner is saved
  2. My memory is like a little mushroom in the sea
  3. She isn't the type you could talk to all night
  4. Oh, tell me, is the silent serpent gone
  5. At first I didn't see the staring eyes

Listen to reading

In trying to win her the sinner is saved
For the road to the dep“t is horribly long
From heights in Aleppo I warble my song
(The chorus is right but the verse is all wrong)
Depraved in the dep“t we raved.

Alas, for the pathos! Alack for the woe!
Which the sinner inferred from her virtuous speeches
On the nature of sex with subliminal leeches
And clandestine banquets with apples and peaches.
That terrible woman would never let go.

Yet terrible not in a terrible way
(For the road to inferno's seductively smooth)
Except that she'd lisp: "Let the thycophanth oothe!"
Lighthearted aping of General Booth
Whose eyes were abnormally grey.

As grey as a grave, as purple as puce
As pink as the gleam of an earthenware moose
It reeked of the bathos, it stank of the snow
In the serpentine garden where hazelnuts flow.
It seeped like a serpent, and spat like a Turk
Or a clarinet-grinder whose sons will not work
It oozed like an oyster whose eyes are alight
Or an overfed bullfinch about to take flight.
It even avoided eventual death
By breathing no more, and by mooring its breath,
To the side of the bath: for the nuptial path
Is gray as a gannet that's needing a bath
Oh, do not disparage our unfinished marriage
Our tandem, at random, is locked in the garridge
It will not be let loose.

My memory is like a little mushroom in the sea
Drowning in a notion where to be is not to be
O happy fungus!

My cross is born of parents still where crust is crossed with bread
And I should be a baker still if I'd not lost my head
I went to beat my baker, I blew it: I saw red.
Yeast be among us!

The sea is like a lichen that fills the yawning pit;
It wobbles like a pyroflate, a pyroflate like it,
Like anyone who seeks the heights that Margelet has hit
Where thermotrichs and gastrobranchs like little insects flit
Asphyxia follows.

O Arthur! My mother was seldom a sponge
The days were so few that my mother would plunge
Absorbent and helpless she lay in the gunge
Unhelpful she wallows.

O Gawain! My father's a secretive pea
Who's hidden his head in a hole by the sea
Tormented by swallows.

And later the gallows
Protrude from the shallows
To swallow marshmallows
Or arable aloes
No goats means no `hallos'
And no more `goodbyes'
To hide from his issue our tissue of lies.

She isn't the type you could talk to all night
Nor the sort you could strangle all day
Nor sing to, nor sigh to, nor actually cry to
And yet ...

She isn't a girl who is part of this worl'
Though the world is her pitch and her pay
She says not a word and seldom is heard
Though echo disdains to delay
This threat

In trying to silence her p‘an of pride
I'd lost track of my mind on the way
I think she would make me a terrible bride
On the marital pavement of gray
It would have been so much warmer inside
I regret

My regret was delayed for a day and a half
But what could I do but dismay
For the time of the wedding was not on the graph
And who had been weeping all day?

My love, we were a sadsome two, I deem
It's not your dismal vapours I esteem
Nor yet the callous way in which you scheme.
Ma tˆte!

We didn't dissemble, we didn't deceive
(For if I'm an Adam, why then she's an Eve)
And yet ...

Oh, tell me, is the silent serpent gone
As promised in his edict of the eighth?
For lo! His trail leads to th'abyss
We listen for his wicked hiss
That frightens all of Babylon
As much as Byron's wraith.

Oh, tell me, is a certain spurgeon here?
His likeness has been etched upon my back.
Did Orgelusa suffer on the cross?
And will our cooking buns conceal his loss?
Or strike him with a cudgel from the rear
And spoil his new expensive anorak.

And will our burning cooks conceal the snake
Inside a smouldering sulphur-cake,
A marinated wapentake?

Our hegemony cries to crooks, "Repay!"
On every twentieth quarter-day,
"Rejoice in Nosnibor alway!"

Our cooks to Parsimony cry "Begone!"
And bid that Welder solder on
(The Duke of Gloucester is no John).

Oh, tell me, is the sparkling stream afire,
And is the noble lutenist a liar?
And does the tennis player wield a wiry lute,
The unspeakable bastard, the horrible brute,
With teeth made of jute?
O, Caia!
I shoot.

At first I didn't see the staring eyes
It was a most umbilical disguise
In some respects, though, just a bit unwise.
It was a most un-biblical surmise
Though not, I think, of irreligious size
Among the most umpirical replies
Of all.

At last my searching found the faceless stare
And lost it later -- I don't know where;
She didn't choke. I asked her "Do I care?"
(My seventh friend, I say, was debonair
Though thought, for her, was oddly rare)
She didn't care. I choked the old au-pair

I cerebrate, I cerebrate again!
-- At first it caused me unrelenting pain,
The hairs that hide my back are in the main
Concealed from others in the rain
The coinage of the heat-oppressŠd brain
Which bought a half-uncooked electric train
For Saul.

I speculate: my undernourished three
Are for the mayfly, if I've any: he
Will know, for he has many wisdom tee --
the monarchy dislikes them all but me
A-sitting in their royal pobble-tree
Whence apples are thrown down by gravitee
In fall.

The stare in the steppe
Was Peregrine's prep.

©1973, 1999 The Rat Fathom Poets
Edited by Peter Christian
May 31 2023.