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Poetry Magnum Opus

Dutch Cicadas


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Cicadas march on to their shift at daybreak, since

you'll never hear the buggers at night. They have

their factory horn: drop your cocks and grab your socks!

It’s reveille, a revelry of summer sounds. A summer morn

as long as these rockers are around, a pervading blight

which can either drive you nuts, or make you reach

for Pina Coladas on the beach, your sunglasses just so,

waiting for that heiress from Indiana. Juliana was still


Queen of the Netherlands when my father fucked off

for New York and didn’t like it. New Amsterdam was a joke

with nothing left but misspelt names: Harlem, the Bronx,

Roosevelt. He lit off with another bloke for Miami Beach

on Trailways Buses through the Deep South, his mouth

opened wide, a constant O of wonder. A lynching in Georgia,

a bottom pinching of a Charleston Beauty. But that was a fat

old white man, member of the Klan, so he was all right.


Travelling on by day and night, the sun a constant trial,

for the Hollanders of his generation did not grow tanned

but proceeded from pink to red to scarlet to near imminent

self-explosion: a phial (bah!) even a gallon of sun lotion

came as little relief. Stubborn, pig-headed, Dutch beyond belief,

he headed for salvation, immolation, between the sea and sand!

Of course he made it. Not only that he met my stunning mother,

stole her off some New York hood. She liked his peeling nose


and reckoned things might turn out good with an honest man.

She was right about that. Pretty girls know men will chase them

for a certain while: be bad, if you like, but make your pile

before the party's over. My Mommy wasn't a hard case, not really,

she wanted out soon. She married my Daddy, Dirk Van Roon,

and lived happily ever after. My sister and I grew up in style,

amid songs and love and laughter. But they are sadly dead now,

as so many people we love are dead. The lines have been read.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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A buoyant panoply of rich imagery-- deceptively casual. The subtle internal rhymes add a masterful touch. I can well imagine this recited, tongue in cheek (with an Irish lilt) and to a room full of rapt listeners. B. :smile:

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