Ken Harrison 8:30 a.m., Sept. 22
- Bill Mohr has a Ph.D. in literature from University of California, San Diego
I went outside just now and laughed
Three poems by Bill Mohr
1967: “My World Fell Down”
- Imperial Beach remains remote and intolerable,
- Both in memory and all its stammering desire.
- My radio flourished with L.A.’s visionary decibels.
- I feared its LSD as friendly fire.
- The hippies seemed indulgent to a fault,
- None of them theirs, and if the Asian wars
- Demanded disobedience, was not their cult
- Supreme in tantalizing escapist doors?
- And then “My World Fell Down.” Heard only once,
- Its interlude of cosmic comedy
- Sufficed to wake me up and remedy
- My isolation from a hip scene’s clowns.
- The poem itself arrived with glowing tip
- To balance on the colossal tilt of Sunset Strip.
- It’s almost always singular: The Flub,
- the kind of ouch, abashed, exceeding stub
- of toe, or murmuring your lover’s name
- as if seduction were your favorite game.
- The mocking gossip cannot be curtailed:
- why should it be? The fun’s regaled
- in millions of strange mimicries of masks,
- in parodies of ordinary tasks:
- Announcement of a wedding, when divorce
- is launching on its first affair, with force
- majeure hilarity; the role you’re cast
- in takes more talent than your agent passed
- you off as having. Blame rehearsal time
- for leaving reputation dipped in slime.
- Apology does not suffice as comeback.
- The word’s pinned to your forehead with a thumbtack.
- The envelope that’s opened with such hopes
- is torn in half. The after-party mopes.
- A life that managed to deflect Mistakes
- must now commiserate with Total Fakes.
- An idiot takes pride in getting his free ride;
- You get the job for which you’re overqualified,
- The Flub confirms what every loser knows
- by heart: he got the thorns, deserved the rose.
The Laugh Outside
- I went outside just now and laughed.
- Deliberately, slowly laughed.
- I could hear myself from where I was sitting;
- it took a while to get the conversation started
- again, once we were both face-to-face.
- “Good to be on laughing terms, at least.”
- I chuckled intentionally, to reconfirm
- the fickle spontaneity of free will.
- And then the laugh got serious: A soulful laugh.
- Like a cold, rainy night becoming dawn.
- Not everything’s absurd, the laugh admitted.
- Just enough to keep the giggles going.
- As I explained to “myself,” some ontological
- disputes don’t change. It’s like predestination:
- I was meant to laugh. You weren’t.
- If you can’t laugh at me for saying that,…
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- Sleep Monster Growls Beneath the Mattress — Aug. 30, 2017
- Eyes are the best bullet proof vests — Aug. 23, 2017
- Imperial Beach remains remote and intolerable — July 19, 2017
- I used to work the night shift at the gas station on Mission Bay road — March 22, 2017
- Tonight, he is a dinosaur — Oct. 26, 2016