The Jim Archives
Early Poems
...begins with an epic narrative from Mr. Warren's English class, then segues into scenes from an Olympic summer, and on into fall and the first few months of high school.

The Somewhat Triumphant Return of Alvin

There was no sleeping in the sleepy river town.
The news was too good to be true, yet...
maybe the rumors were unfounded.

Lila Scirchaum collapsed on the bed
in the house overlooking the river.
She had heard the rumors, but
she didn't really believe them.
Her hopes had been dashed before.

"Alvin is coming home," they had said.
Alvin Eugenius Scirchaum, the steamboat pilot,
was coming home after a year on the Mississippi.

Lila received a wire next day.
"Am coming home...Alvin," it said.
That was enough proof for her.
So she took a chair outside to the riverbank
to sit in. And wait. And listen to the river.

"Did you hear that?" she shouted at the water,
"He's coming back!"

It was around noontime, and Lila sat waiting
with a picnic basket at her side.
Ever looking for the "Carolina," she was.
That was the ship Alvin was piloting.

The day crept on and afternoon
stole upon the majestic waters.
She swatted at a mosquito and sighed.
"Alvin?" she asked, eyeing an approaching vessel.
But, alas, it was not Alvin.

The sun fell and still no sign of him.
"I hate you!" she yelled at the river.
"I hate you from your headwaters in Minnesota
to your mouth by New Orleans!

"You took Alvin away from me!
You and your tranquility, and your
agelessness, and your postcard mentality!"
The river was a number of things she wasn't.

The river was Alvin's first love, and Lila knew it.
Ever since they were married she felt
she was in constant competition with the river
for Alvin's attention and affection.
"Give him back. It's not fair!" she pleaded.

"You're so smug! What do you have to say for yourself?!"
The river was silent.

Dejectedly, she returned to the house,
a full moon out and the world hushed.
But not before throwing a rock in the water.

"Alvin?" Lila asked quietly, in a reverie of sorts.
There was a noise.
"Alvin Eugenius Scirchaum has returned!"
the conquering hero exclaimed.
Lila was sound asleep; Alvin followed her lead.
And so the sleepy river town slept once more.

(December 1983)

Little Miss Muffin
(Mother Goose for Beginners and Experts Alike)

Little Miss Muffin
sat on a puffin
eating her curds and whey,
when along up beside her
came what looked like a spider--
'twas eight men from the S.P.C.A.
"Miss Muffin, you're charged,"
said one man, quite large,
"with killing a puffin this day."
"But I was here with my curd--"
then she saw the dead bird,
and they carted Miss Muffin away.

(Summer 1984)

Red as a Color Associated with Danger

See red, and you're dead
You mustn't hesitate
These aren't the days of sunshine and cookies, you know

(Summer 1984)

Legendary Yak

part one:

Don't look back,
legendary yak.

part two:

It's an epic drama featuring
Spanish galleons
and a cast of millions
all tied up in a brown paper sack
hung from the neck of a legendary yak
who stops to eat in a field of grass
and is met by a young yak lass
who never ceases to amaze
so they go somewhere else to graze.
(Them was the days)

(Summer 1984)

A Stranger's Song

A stranger's song is sweeter than
any other song of man:
it sings of sultry nights in June,
and puts to shame the common tune.

So highly prized, so highly sought,
so often chased, but seldom caught.
And when the ordeal's through, it seems,
to those involved 'tis ne'er for naught.

Majestic strains played p'raps on flute--
what instrument, the point is moot.
There is but one thing that is true--
'tis no one can compare with you.

(September 1984)

Lost Art Thoroughfare

Once a fearsome tiger's lair,
now a lost art thoroughfare.
I could find no solace there,
blinded by the sun's bright glare.

Into a darkened room I crept.
I found a light and that I lit,
then found myself a place to sit;
there I stayed and there I wept.

I turned my head, and alack--
the world had gone to hell and back.
This is everything I see.

Threats are made against my life
by those who play the drum and fife.
This is pompous irony.

(Fall 1984)

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