Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TESTAMENT

Time I let this poem see the light of day:
TESTAMENT

So here’s to Fran├žois Villon, that vile scamp
Who left no bone or stone without a BUT
And strewed the LATIN with his barbed bequests
But when they hunted him the fox decamped.

Yet dead, dismembered, drowned or exiled soul
He left to me, once daughter, student, wife
And mother, teacher, critic, cook and foe,
A Testament with which I arm my life.

First Stanley White Mountain, that ice judge
Who sits in paleness on his crumbling heights
His heart long frozen by his spouse the Code
Of California, which cracks and blights

The living forests of our marriages,
Heedless of tears, repentance, cries from friends,
Follows agendas, reaping fat rewards
By stealing what it never earned but sends

The foolish felon to his lonely cell,
Alone when crowded into saddened dorms,
Alone when maddened by a vicious guard,
Shackled with years ahead of deadened hell.

When that ice judge who moved himself from din
Of desperate poor and beaten, black and brown,
Then granted freedom to the hatchet men --
Their victims surged and burned the city down.

And Frieda said: my friend, your man is next;
His whiteness is the scapegoat, for the judge
Now needs to wash his fingers clean. You’ll see,
He’ll slay your man, with money crimes pretext.

And so it came to pass; three score and ten
Are all that’s granted as our fleeting years,
Judge Stanley cut a seventh from that life
Then went a-golfing with his legal peers.

To him I do bequeath a childless bed,
To him I do bequeath night’s bitter dream,
Forever may his ears be pierced with pain
When in the court I would not stop my scream.

If led away in shackles is enough
To cause my heart to howl with nightmare rage,
I do forgive those fools and greedy men
Who stole from me and skimmed my shrunken wage.

I wish them only decency, respect
For me, desire to repay:
If they can love their fellow-man, their wrongs
Will right their debt to me one distant day

But all those uniformed by choice or State,
Police and prosecutors, legal clerk,
Fat RICO and Sir IRS his mate,
Their fancy birds employed to spy at work

While in the arms of legions of the Law
They squawked whatever story Law would hear,
Rewarded by a kiss outside the court
Seen and recorded by this writer here:

To those I do award the poison fruit
They grew to reap their quoted poison tree,
They will be damned just as they tried to damn
The one who gave them bread and herbal tea.

Their little brains called conscience will alarm
When sitting down or walking by the way;
Their children puzzle at their silences:
Methinks thou doest protest, good mother... gray

Is black with white, and gray is what he was
When you cried black and joined the fleeing rats,
Were you not black destroying such a man,
Wired and whispering, buzzing biting gnats.

Invention is a sin like rumor, rife;
Omission is a worse, when lives depend
On one good word, and even that drowned out
By facts without a context, sneers that send

An innuendo, fact without a face,
Lies: “Hid his Rolls,” “had cash” or “mansion in
Bel Air,” “Look judge, he turns
Intimidating that poor witness!” Grin

Behind your hand, Attorney, you have won
A filthy point, besmirching your great name
You shun to say belongs to ancestors
Lest their creed that is mine may yet defame

Your addled ambition for a higher rank
The rat race tempts with since you have no soul,
No children, wife, no generosity,
No God, an empty, painted paper bowl.

To you I say, your name was Valley Rose:
You mispronounced and sullied that fair plant;
You squandered rights to your inheritance.
To you a barren future I will grant.

Banished abroad, you’ll wander all the months
And years, a public mountebank,
Skilled in tricks and talking fast you’ll
Sleep amongst strangers, unmarked, rotting, dank.

And if statistics proved your pinching point,
Percentages like eighty, ninety, more,
The years you spent to find the smoking joint
Hid numbers that belied the golden store

Of papers proving just the opposite,
Of patients grateful, cured, never billed,
Which showed last moment truth from Miss Marine
Quick hidden so the fox be caught and killed.

A foxhunt’s what it was, a company
Of redcoats, horns, fast horses, hounds with teeth
That hunt the beast to earth from weariness
To bleed to death upon the soil beneath.

The scales are off the eyes in hunting lands;
A revolution of enraged and landless folk
Have felt the dying pain of bull and fox,
Of shackled millions in cemented yoke.

You Black robed Circuits, Death Heads, Hanging Judge,
May you be immortalized in pen
Of Daumier; diplomas fade; your graves
Untended, out of mind and men.

And take with you Appeal judges, three
In a row, pronouncing life or death;
May you be Siamese triplets in Huis Clos:
The Code Almighty rule your wheezing breath.

And now for those great Companies that take
And take their private tax upon our life,
Their premiums they monthly have to rake
In millions to protect us from all strife.

Those faceless CEOs who send their sharks
To court in droves to snatch our claimings back,
The Power Suits, the smirking, padded, paid
Employees padding their pads of scribbling hack.

Jealous you shot him, he who stood too tall,
The foolish angel, Robin Hood, the one
Who thought he danced at a glorious, glowing ball,
The one who flew too high towards the sun.

He was no Satan, he loved God and Man,
Faults he might have, and foolishness of flight,
Wings made of wax and words flying fast and free;
Better a beating than eternal night.


You grovelling, grasping legal teams, employed
With dignifying State supported back
And bottom scratching Dept. and Div. and Off,
Big payoff paying State and Police devoid

Of care for any bar the mighty $
And votes and cronies at the Country Club,
Your fine desks will receive your thudding head,
Your tearducts dry, your spouses feel the rub

Of Time and Greed, divorce and drugs and grim
Thoughts when you die of those you fleeced with scorn;
Your childrens’ prep schools teach to propagate
The values you declared would not be borne.

And last, not least, the Board of Holy Quacks
Of California, that freely Licence grants
To addicts, murderers and alcoholic thieves
But can’t abide a label that it tacks

Upon a fellow doctor whose main foe
Is Dr. Rosehill, paid to give the dirt
By State who never met the man himself;
He Wrote a Chapter, big deal, take the shirt

Right off the felon’s back, In Case he Harms
The Public, whom he never harmed before,
The real reason being common sense
Bows before Agendas of a whore.

Poor Rose, your scent is tainted far and wide,
But don’t despair, these men will drop your name,
Ashamed of tribe, religion, loyalty
To any but the dollar, State or Fame.

You Holy Board, Attorney, Dr. Shrink,
This sickness will pervade your putrid drains:
Over your thoughts dull doubt will dry your brains,
Your theories disproved, your isms stink.

You Dr. Shrink whose brother haunts the stage
Will be exposed as actor, liar, and
You, Shark Jesuit, your Jesus rant and rage
That you despoil those that by their hand

Depend their loved ones, living through the years
Of self-examination, striving, toil and hope,
Your heartlessness will eat your heart and head
Your skin be flayed by Jesus’ furious rope.


And lest you think the Snows of Yesteryear
Can’t be recovered, once their pristine glow
Has faded, let me now pronounce
My vision that my friends can see and know
Has stayed throughout from love and loyalty
And grown, may God protect us all our days:
They melt and there beneath -- the snowdrop blooms,
And holds for us the power to amaze.


Linda Hepner
13-14th January, 2002

Logblog 3.20.12

Log Blog 3.20.12

A bit warmer today, catching up with the East Coast and Mid West which has been hot while we’ve been shivering.
The Wall Street Journal this morning had two articles of note: one about sibling rivalry and how to soften it (men use action, women talk) and another about the miraculous powers of chocolate. My resolution to eat all the chocolate in the house and then refuse to buy any more or accept any from wellwishers flew down the driveway. Gershy went to TJ’s for soups but I requested a package of chocolate covered cranberries, amending that to “and nothing else!”
True to character, Gershy brought me not only multiple packages of cranberry chocs but chocolate covered toffees too. He is killing me with kindness!

The girls at Bais Ya’akov are a delight. Very bright and enthusiastic. With two of the classes I am doing Macbeth and Midsummer Night’s Dream, my slightly expurgated version. Meanwhile in the office I heard the office staff, who were mostly alumnae of BY, discussing women they knew. “She’s got sheitels on the brain,” “She’s crazy frum,” “She’s a Chassidic junkie” and other such scornful lashen hara-isms. They could have been politer with me in the room, considering I was wearing not only a skirt and long sleeves but stocking, socks with sneakers and a black hat squashed onto my hair. They looked incredibly elegant with their nice shoes and sheitels and were really enjoying their catty conversations. I guess I was invisible under my hat.

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