Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Just Doing My Job

Obituary Flack

R. Sargent Shriver, that one was mine. 
Jack LaLanne, Karl Malden, George McGovern, Jerry Falwell,
mine, mine, mine and mine. 
I hate to brag but I had a hand
in Molly Ivins.  You’ll find my fingerprints
all over Robert McNamara,
a puddle of superlatives
from wading into  
John Updike and Pete Postlethwaite.
Up to my neck in Liz Taylor, perhaps
in over my head with Ferlin Husky,
but it was with great glee
I gilded the lily of Madame Nhu,
said it with roses when Max Roach
ceased to beat
the skins,
waved Harman Killebrew
in from third, his last home run
before pushing up daisies
in deep left center. 
Levon Helm
practically wrote itself,
the honor all mine,
leaning in to lay on a harmony for
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.
A stake through the heart of John Demjanjuk,
my foot to the floor going into the turn
with Carroll Shelby, Ferdinand A. Porsche
urging us on from the backseat
in clipped no nonsense German. 
Maurice Sendak, 
my deadline met through tears
and terrible roars and terrible gnashing teeth.  
A job I would have done for free
until they let me go
then hired me back
at half the pay,
my share toward the cost
of wafer thin benefits   
tripled, cankerous
corporate policy set forth in this couplet:

Down to two meals a day, who needs a third?
Plump shareholders bray, too stuffed for words.

Lunch is over.
Fifteen minutes flies
faster than Neil Armstrong (mine).
To improve productivity, I’ve been assigned
to write everyone’s
in advance beginning with the A’s. 
Right now I’m working on yours,
driving home the final rivets
in some standard boilerplate,
composing the final flat line
in a fibrillating
half-hearted Hallmark hatchet job. 


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