Homage to Jenny Joseph
When I Am Dead
in memory of Patty Gordon Robinson
When I am dead, I shall be buried standing up
in a mall wearing my blue nylon gloves with no fingers and
spiritualists will call me back so I can stick my nose in other peoples' business.
I shall send my aura dancing in Nachez mansions
to be found by a crystal - toting bag lady
clad in wet gauze with pet bat on a kite string
seeking its fortune in nonfiction.
And I shall spend my welfare bucks
on vanilla extract and bay leaves
and, say, leave no money for coke.
I shall haunt the back seats of city buses
and drink colored water from fountains
and trip to the zoo on Thursday and tease the tiger with truffles snitched from Godiva's delivery man.
In a fake leopard muff, I shall read Little Black Sambo
while sitting bare-assed on the Xerox machine at the library.
I shall make obscene phone calls
to all my past lovers' lovers.
The spiked collars of my pit bulls
will trip the airport weapon detector
and I'll wear wide leather belts that pass for skirts.
I'll spray on pants and tattoo my legs with fishnet stockings
and wink through mirrored aviator glasses.
I'll build an air raid shelter
of pecan nougat logs over an open manhole on Mainstreet.
But until I die, I must marcel my hair, and
wear twin sets and pearls of horse's tooth yellow and
orthopedic brogues to the bank
to lunch on oatmeal kept warm on the radiator
(a good example for my stockholders).
And subpoena them to a dinner of 'possum and 'taters,
then tell them they came the wrong night.
So when they find me dead at one hundred and twelve,
my railroaded board of directors
will still be groveling while I'm hiballing it,
standing triumphant with my hand on the throttle.