Swans Commentary » swans.com December 17, 2007  



What Myrtle Said And Read In 2007


by Peter Byrne


Short Story



(Swans - December 17, 2007)  

She:  HE says you've got Swans in your belfry.

Myrtle:  You tell HIM to get airborne out of his backyard.

She:  HE won't let me buy a computer.

Myrtle:  Little Sister, that suburban caveman has a Hummer under HIS bum. You get yourself something for your lap. You've already missed a big year of Swans.

She:  HE says California's a dippy birds' nest full of the nation's lice.

Myrtle:  That's all down by the water. Boonville's up in the hills where the air's clear.

She:  I wouldn't mention that place. HE thinks Illinois owns the copyright on Daniel Boone.

Myrtle:  HE thinks now! Listen, last January, big wings started beating fresh air into my brain. First I learnt the truth about the soldiers in the Vietnam War. Bruce Patterson told me they worried about whether they'd get enough for lunch.

She:  That's HIS kind of worry.

Myrtle:  Then one Smith, Gerard, a poet, turned me upside down. Hanging Saddam Hussein meant we'd have to hang everyone right up Pennsylvania Avenue. A woman called Christen -- I think Cassandra's her Christian name -- showed me that Fear is the meaning of The New World Order. A Mr. Greenspan had been gadding about and found the Israeli lobby feared their own unarmed refusniks along with Jimmy Carter and Rachel Corrie.

She:  HE's plenty scared too.

Myrtle:  Martin Murie said the only thing that frightened raging grannies up by the Canadian border was rough weather and the War chewing up America's heart.

She:  Arthritis and waterboarding -- scary.

Myrtle:  What Jan Baughman feared was blood spilling, not for freedom but for oil that we'd better learn to do without. Then some letter writer lucky enough to be in Fort Lauderdale in March tells all the Swans they're pessimists and should beat the drums hard for CLASS WARFARE, which he's not afraid to write in capitals.

She:  Another war yet?

Myrtle:  Charles Marowitz was scared he'd have to watch more adolescent war movies about our guys' painless deaths and see the celluloid trash gobbled up by stay-at-home soldiers like your pear-shaped Napoleon. Poets Monte and Saieva agreed with him, in color, and quoted the frightful truth, "All flesh stands naked." Saslav and friend Lieb reported the passing of a fearless one, Mstislav Rostropovitch.

She:  Foreign names make HIM nervous.

Myrtle:  Then HE'd have had a conniption fit when Swans sang Boris Vian in French.

She:  HE says a Frenchy in California is where the saying the worst of both worlds came from.

Myrtle:  Oram and Jokic would have riled him fine when they had their say on Kosovo. A guy with an Irish name gave Dubliners advice and Michael Doliner admired that Wandering Jew, Joseph Roth. Swans doesn't bother with borders. Anyway, your creep-in-chief can't even take his countrymen who step out of his crooked line. You should tell HIM how Aymery vouched for Ralph Nader's decency.

She:  HE pays no attention to lines, only circles with HIM in the middle.

Myrtle:  This Gerard Smith wasn't afraid to write straight love poetry for a woman. But, get this, Little Sister, Carol Warner Christen fears "we women are some crop raised for men's use or abuse."

She:  Feminism doesn't work with HIM. I use a good sock on HIS jaw.

Myrtle:  The Greenspan man came back to scrap with the Zionists. This time he had an Israeli historian on his side. Ted Dace scared me with how people will do anything that the group leader orders. Murie looked back to his salad days when the word from on high was that mammalogists take aim and fire.

She:  HE says you can't trust a mammal.

Myrtle:  Jan Baughman does cartoons, but they're no laughing matter. She had to reply to a corn-growing letter-writer who accused her of gathering payola like flowers in May. I could hear the piggy bank in Boonville squealing at the joke.

She:  HE signs HIS letters to the editor "a typical mid-American, God-fearing, beginning-a-diet, hunting man."

Myrtle:  Sure, a paranoid hick with a high backyard fence, beer belly and an itchy trigger finger.

She:  HE chokes up when I ask what God's got on HIM in particular.

Myrtle:  Meanwhile, among the sane, Marie Rennard mixed a poem of wine and coffee, blood and wolves. Marowitz said poets couldn't do obscenity however dirty their mouths. But you can always find it in "the specious playlets of commercial advertising." Doliner heard worse than smut from his president's mouth: "Listening to Bush shakes the very foundations of one's own sanity."

She:  Swans kind of watches over the national nuthouse?

Myrtle:  Right. Their Joel S. Hirschhorn sees the only way out of delusional democracy as the calling of a second constitutional convention.

She:  HE won't go, unless they hold it in Wrigley Field and HE can sit in a corporate box behind bulletproof glass.

Myrtle:  That gunslinger's afraid of HIS fat shadow.

She:  Now you and the New World Order have got me scared. I already get migraine. Seriousness on Swans' scale might send me to the showers. You've had a pretty tough twelve months.

Myrtle:  I call it the year of the blue funk.

She:  But you're game for another and you want me to read along?

Myrtle:  C'est la vie, Sorella. The mess is still out there even if we don't bring it up on our screens.

She:  At home things are already pretty grim. HIS Nibs is no barrel of fun.

Myrtle:  I should have mentioned a regular in Swans. He's in the lighter vein. Zero density. I'd guess he's an overgrown schoolboy, but he'll keep you from dire thoughts or even from any thinking whatsoever.

She:  What's his pitch?

Myrtle:  He knows this couple of geriatric brawlers in a Home-Sweet-Home cage. The husband's name is he and the wife's she. The only sense in the house comes from their neutered dog.

She:  How did this retarded penman get in the aviary?

Myrtle:  Several of the other birds have asked just that. He claims to have merely taken to heart a quote the editors let drop back on 1-1-07. It recommended defending ourselves from life's absurdities by thinking absurdly about them.


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About the Author

Peter Byrne on Swans (with bio).



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This Edition's Internal Links

From Travesty To Tragedy - Charles Marowitz

A Battered America, Careening Toward The Tipping Point - Gilles d'Aymery

2007: The Great Unraveling Begins - Eli Beckerman

The Nation Magazine And The 2008 Presidential Elections - Louis Proyect

The Meltdown - Gerard Donnelly Smith

Looking Back At The Antiwar Movement - Martin Murie

Who, What, And Why Was 2007? - Carol Warner Christen

2007: Disconnected In The Age Of Technology - Jan Baughman

The USA Of 2007: A Sinking Ship Of State - Philip Greenspan

World Tragedy 2007 - Guido Monte & Francesca Saieva

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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art13/pbyrne57.html
Published December 17, 2007