screenwriter Robert Lees, 91, found murdered
and decapitated in his home Sunday morning, June 20, 2004".
A pool, seeming
roped off into lanes as in Olympic trials
The competitors today, are white,
American, young of course, male
Tomorrow there may be others, yellowish,
Eurasian, young of course, maybe female
But this is today and I lay on the slab
by the pool, naked from the waist down looking
At their lovely and anxious faces, breathing
lovely, anxious breaths; one curly blond
Head looks up at me to explain: we compete
to be best at saving lives otherwise doomed
Do you understand? he asks. I say nothing.
He smiles an earnest smile and says: should we
Do well at life-saving, we may be chosen
to vie for clean decapitation, clean enough
That severed heads leave no dangling detritus,
clean enough to present to Herod, before Salome
Can desecrate them - if not, we must turn them
over to be tagged, set on those shelves with all
The others, a disgrace neither we nor our families
are likely to survive. Do you understand?
Note: this was/is an
attempt to expiate the horror of a friend's end and perhaps the
even more horrific image of his lovely, 85 year old, longtime
girlfriend having discovered the blanket-covered body, calling
911, and following instructions to "see if he's still breathing"
to find the headless corpse of her beloved that Sunday
A Putting Aside
after an anger,
not, it appears,
worth the effort
"Remember the good times
and have a drink on me"—
Bon Voyage from ICU—
from a long-lived friend—
20 years in the making—
very different from you—
but fitting, nonetheless.
acknowledging our half—
dozen years of funny times,
crying times, there-for-you times
times so many times a litany of times too
fast too much "girlfriend" too soon way too needy
Of course, it couldn't last—
Who could survive re-
creation in someone
at the time
to be alien—
Temporary Poem 2 - Begun October 18, 2001: Rants
It's not a game
I'm not bored anymore
What a spectacular
way to blast
demons out of one's brain: mother's
wrongs, fathers' neglects, sibling's
stupidity, child's ingratitude...
What more could you ask for? Here
are our own, fat, commercial planes
re-formatted into missiles to bomb
our own, fat capitol buildings—more
capitol than the Capitol—
Yes, Yes, Of Course we will not forget
chunk of the Pentagon gone,
White House (if, indeed,
aimed at) missed; and the Chief staining
his shorts on Air Force 1 heading for SAC ....
Yes, Yes, Of Course .... But it's New York
we mean when we say: it will never be the same—
everyone's saying that, the same thing, over
and over, like the televised images over and over:
plane 1: BAM-CRAsh-fIREbALL—plane
BAM-CRAsh-firebALL over and over, the same
thing over and over—the
never the same, always
Like when you had the heart attack; like
when "breast cancer" was said, outloud
We are become
united, stricken nuts by our own
media's incessant re-plays of one American jetliner
followed by another American jetliner, cruising
through the top floors of American commerce,
top floors that once toppled the glory
of the Empire State Building, the real
"tallest building in NYC",
now loathe to retake the title.
Poem 2 - Continued April 20, 2008: More Rants
moonlight don't agree with you,
you who sneered at your fellows buying flags
to flap from their cars and FDNY t-shirts
to send their kids to school in; you
who aren't afraid of comforts and planned
pleasures, who can hang your head at vigils
with the best of them, your fellows; then piss
at your god from a pissed-off throat: gotcha
like the marke—
with the best of them - gotcha right in the ass.
Is it a game again?
Am I bored again?
Think back to that
when we, not present at the conflagration,
not blind from smoke or crazy from sirens
and screams, heard the news; think back
to the silence in our towns and cities;
only tvs and radios reporting the only story—
no blaring rap, no thumping rock, no copters,
seems not even birds or barking dogs, no horns,
no road rage; only smiles and remembered civilities
for those same "fellow" Americans.
A tear for the good old days.
Before the heart attack, before "breast cancer"
was said outloud.
When it was a game. When I was bored.
Read Additional Poems by Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
Free Verse from Chapbook, As If: Who Am I To Cry,
"Smiles Of a Summer Night", As If