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archy interviews a pharoh -- Don Marquis

(Poem #76) archy interviews a pharoh
boss i went
and interviewed the mummy
of the egyptian pharoh
in the metropolitan museum
as you bade me to do

what ho
my regal leatherface
says i

little scatter footed
says he

kingly has been
says i
what was your ambition
when you had any

and journalistic insect
says the royal crackling
in my tender prime
i was too dignified
to have anything as vulgar
as ambition
the ra ra boys
in the seti set
were too haughty
to be ambitious
we used to spend our time
feeding the ibises
and ordering
pyramids sent home to try on
but if i had my life
to live over again
i would give dignity
the regal razz
and hire myself out
to work in a brewery

old tan and tarry
says i
i detect in your speech
the overtones
of melancholy

yes i am sad
says the majestic mackerel
i am as sad
as the song
of a soudanese jackal
who is wailing for the blood red
moon he cannot reach and rip

on what are you brooding
with such a wistful
there in the silences
confide in me
my perial pretzel
says i

i brood on beer
my scampering whiffle snoot
on beer says he

my sympathies
are with your royal
dryness says i

my little pest
says he
you must be respectful
in the presence
of a mighty desolation
little archy
forty centuries of thirst
look down upon you

oh by isis
and by osiris
says the princely raisin
and by pish and phthush and phthah
by the sacred book perembru
and all the gods
that rule from the upper
cataract of the nile
to the delta of the duodenum
i am dry
i am as dry
as the next morning mouth
of a dissipated desert
as dry as the hoofs
of the camels of timbuctoo
little fussy face
i am as dry as the heart
of a sand storm
at high noon in hell
i have been lying here
and there
for four thousand years
with silicon in my esophagus
as gravel in my gizzard
of beer

divine drouth
says i
imperial fritter
continue to think
there is no law against
that in this country
old salt codfish
if you keep quiet about it
not yet

what country is this
asks the poor prune

my reverend juicelessness
this is a beerless country
says i

well well said the royal
my political opponents back home
always maintained
that i would wind up in hell
and it seems they had the right dope

and with these hopeless words
the unfortunate residuum
gave a great cough of despair
and turned to dust and debris
right in my face
it being the only time
i ever actually saw anybody
put the cough
into sarcophagus

dear boss as i scurry about
i hear of a great many
tragedies in our midsts
personally i yearn
for some dear friend to pass over
and leave to me
a boot legacy
yours for the second coming
of gambrinus

-- Don Marquis
I felt it was time for another of these <g>. This one is a lot funnier than
'the lesson of the moth', especially the string of epithets traded back and
forth.  There's a nice accompanying cartoon at
<[broken link]>

Nothing really to say about this poem - if you missed the earlier one, with
a more detailed commentary on Archy and Mehitabel, look it up at poem #36


seti set: The Seti dynasty ruled Egypt around 1300-1200 BC
the sacred book perembru: seems to be a piece of nonsense, carrying on from
      'pish and phthush...' since I couldn't find any other reference to it
gambrinus: the only reference I could find was an online database of beer
      recipes; I assume the name has something to do with beer, but I
      couldn't trace it.

Don Marquis died in 1937, so I assume the poem was written during the
Prohibition era.


72 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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Gambrinus was a legendary East European king, I think of Bohemia, who
depending on the story either invented or perfected the brewer's art. His
name is lovingly invoked whenever devotees of the perfect beverage meet for
its enjoyment. Doug Gray

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