Dr. David B. Axelrod

by Best Poem

Riopsis

(The Egyptian god of punctuation)

I saw them used once on
an the Arthur Godfrey show
but no amount of apology could
save him from those clichés.
The old red head turned out
to be a rampant anti-Semite
for all his pretense of human-
ity. You’d think that would
have sunk him but it took
Julius LaRosa, pink-faced
boy, to topple old gravel
voice. I still watched him
even after I learned I wasn’t
welcome at his ocean-front hotel.
We still had Pumpernicks
and the Miracle Mile. He’d
sing with the lung that worked,
and smoke and smoke and squeeze
another cup of tea from a Lipton
teabag that lasted fifty cups
still coloring the water. “Brisk!”
he’d growl, touching the cup’s lip
to his, like a polite lover, pinching
the china handle like a nipple.
What a waste-all that attention
on a man not worthy. That’s
the nature of fame though
there was revenge. Sic transit,
Gloria-though it was never clear
why she had to suffer on a bus
because of Arthur Godfrey.

Dr. David B. Axelrod, Suffolk County, Long Island’s Poet Laureate, maintains a website at www.writersunlimited.org/laureate where he offers his services to the public. Dr. Axelrod’s eighteenth and newest book is DECIDUOUS POEMS (Ahadada Books, Toronto and Tokyo, 2008). He is the recipient of three Fulbright Awards, including his being the first official Fulbright Poet-in-Residence in the People’s Republic of China. The New York Times described him as “A Treat!” He has shared the stage with such notables as Louis Simpson, Galway Kinnell, William Stafford, Robert Bly and Allen Ginsberg, performing at the United Nations and around the world. He has been translated into fourteen languages.

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