Epic Poems

Alice in Wunderkinderland With a Hedgehog

Economics on Earth is better explained in classic fiction.  The Extraterrestrial beings have often found the musings of Alice quite enlightening.

INTRODUCTION TO THE FINANCES OF THE MAD HATTER

Through a study of these adventures, Alice can reveal to us the monetary madness of the Great Recession and beyond.  This form is the greatest Epic poem on derivatives ever written since the Glass-Steagall Act fell.  Financial critics who have played Croquet with the Hedgehogs in the pages of the Great American Novel have lent tacit-ephemeral, imaginary praise to this magnificent verse.  Alice says strat-tea-tackfully, every poem must have a pie thrown at it to lend it color and flavor, but

There are rumbles in the world where
every blade of grass cries, and
as we run through it,
it tries to comb the hair of our sorrows

Comb through these pages, and grow, or glow — whichever comes first.  But for the benefit of mankind and for the ultimate salvation of narcissists everywhere, I will reveal a secret:  I have received an official communication from the League of Benevolent Galaxies.  I am shocked to learn that in the process of writing this epic, I have been named the Poet Laureate of the Primitive Planets.  Secretary-General Chytchalrorix informs me that there is no stipend, but the paper certificate, made from the pulp of their long extinct keypapx tree is engraved thus:

Poet Laureate of the Primitive Planets, (Milky Way Division), Category 15297xt7388: Backward and Primitive Planets.  The certificate is for sale if this Epic Poem doesn’t do well.

Alice Tired of Homer’s Odyssey

When smiley squirrels claw up the trees
and every cat meows for milky magpies
all the fields of Central Park are free,
and every school girl will unwind and read

So Alice in her yellow Carroll dress
spread her sheet on meadow grass, and
meadow larks chirped Volckermort, a
value-song for a feather-at-risk, but

Alice tired of Homer’s Odyssey
duh-faulty Greek tragedy dark, a
theme so far from Central Park,
or even downtown Wall Street

Looking up from her book she
was startled by a spotted white rabbit
without portfolio

The Curious White Rabbit

“Oh dear,” she shouted to
the curious white rabbit who
pulled and straightened his suit and tie

“Come, come,” he billowed
“ ’tis most unsuitable to shout at me
when I’m to lunch with
THE Chef Steagall.”

Though chilled in cold
furry thinking, Alice, behold
ran off without her caution indeed
to follow him down a rabbit hole

and falling down a cave interior
she felt too big to manage when
the rabbit through a tiny door went

But the doorknob had lips
and devised a sinister tip:
“Drink the tea from mushroom lake
and you will shrink my dear
to a manageable size.”

When Alice applied his advice
she felt peculiar in drinking:
a discreet shudder cooing
for a door d’esprit looming,
every growing thing
then knowing tiny her

Enter, the doorknob said
as it twisted itself ahead where
knowing her stands
Alice found Wunderkinderland,

land where stood the Caterpillar
who did smoke a hookah in
multi-armed charm

“Hookah booo-kah, indeed; whooo
goes there? Speak!” he decreed

“ ’tis me, um, it is I, Alice
a refugee.”

“Indeed I see; delighted.
It being your unbirthday
then you must be invited
to boogie at
the bank unholiday.”

“Unbirthday?”

“Boo-kah, boo-kah, it’s not your birthday —
is it now, nor would you be closing any banks?”

“Um, no
I don’t think so”

“Indeed, and there down the road
meet the Mad Potter and meet the May Hare
for the devil-may-care unholiday dare…”

The Caterpillar Sells Alice Insurance

“But,” he chortled, “it is you
whooo must buy the insurance…”

“Insurance?”

“You must have insurance —
for endurance, for endurance
it is you, dear, whooo
must have insurance, and for
every leg and every segment I have
a million dollars for salve. So dear
write me a check for a billion dollars.”

“I… I… I’d wish upon a star for that
but it’s quite bizarre
you’d think I’d have it.”

“Yoooou indeed. We’ll lend you credits.”

And so it was
with a thousand hands
he wrote a thousand papers

“Cry on these dear,” he said
“And the deal is done.
sign for a sign
sign on, sign on and
follow the sign, dear.”

The signs Alice followed thus
were not only circuitous
but harebrained ludicrous:
“May Stop”, “May Go”, “Mayhem”,
“come See the May Hare”, “May Potter”
“Comme ci comme ça”

Alice felt so-so unsad, arriving there
glad to see finally
madness in person

Maybe not unmad,
the Potter and Hare alone at
a one hundred seat banquet table
sang the un-fabled song:
“unsad unbirthday to you
unecstatic unbirthday to you
unsad unbirthday dear Alice
undramatic unbirthday to you.”
And after applause, the May Hare said,
“Now blow up the pie and
do not wish for anything.”

“Pardon me,” Alice said,
“I do appreciate such a
grand manic welcome
but please, if I may ask …”

“Yes, speak up, speak down, don’t mess up
the chatter to the ear, here here,”
pleaded insolent Mad Potter so
dizzily spinning on his chair-on-a-wheel,
“Yes do inhere the unsilent soul.”

“Yes, then,” said Alice,
“a pretty party — but don’t
I get a cake?”

“Heavens no.  A birthday cake course?
One must have pie with explosives
to be unsilent of course.”

“Well,” said Alice in a mental haze,
“I suppose day’s pie, but shouldn’t
pie be round with cherries?”

“Silly girl.  Pie are squared
and have birds mixed with sugar glaze.”

“Here here, not π, ” said the May Hare,
“ahem aha, where is Chef Steagall
with his catching pots?”

The Potter spun. “Pots? Yes pots —
lots of pots.  May pots, mayhem.
May Hare, where?”

“Oh on my harebrain,
I don’t know where.  Hey Potter,
send in the bloodhound and beagle.”

Chef Steagall Arrives

“Oh Hare, ’tis mayhem; look there
Chef Steagall.”

The chef ran in with clanging pots.
“I’m here here. There there all.
If everything is in disorder,
blow up the pie.”

When he caught Alice’s eye
she pushed the plunger

Kaboom sprayed pie
and the chef caught the bird

Yes indeed ’twas absurd
at least Alice had thought when

Chef Steagall spake like a bellyache,
“I’ve got it now.  For
today’s unholiday I’ll make
‘Peasant Under Glass.’ ”

“Oh dear, goodness gracious,” chimed Alice
with words like a dance, “Dear sir,
you mean ‘Pheasant Under Glass’? ”

“Certainly not, dear girl.” And he began to sing,
“ ‘And when the pie was opened,
‘the peasants began to sing’
‘wasn’t that a dainty dish’
‘to set before the King.’ ”

It was indeed a harebrained song
so Alice applauded along
with the hare’s eerie squeal
a clap to the rhythm of the Potter’s wheel.

But the Hare jumped up upon the table.
“Table this matter, Sir. For without Mr. Glass
it’s an impossible task.”

“Very well,” said the chef, “I’ll bend:
one hundred meals to be served —
then let it be then
croquettes by the dozen”

The Mad Potter spun around four times,
a greater lunatic than slick.
“I’m incredulous thus,
even with the thyme and time,
you ought to know, by the dozen
can only be ninety-six.”

Alice was puzzled, but
the chef was un-non-plussed

“Only a possum,” he said,
“would say non possumus.
It’s un-impossible
for a man with certificates.”

The Certificate Dance

Alice was puzzled, but
with all the others, she was pulled
onto the grand table, and they
all held hands in a circle and danced:
“Certificates, certificates,” they sang,
“Everyone is certifiable.”

Alice was puzzled, but
on the fourth turn, fourth beat
the chef retreated and bowed.
“Decorum,” he said,
“Everyone please be seated.”

Just then, a little bird flew in for a drink, and
the chef dipped its tail feathers in ink.
“This entitles the bearer to four
croquettes,” he wrote on a certificate.

“Very significant, this certificate,”
said the Mad Hare, “and
dare you write the corporate bond
for United Flour?”

“No,” said the chef, “OK,
“better yet than croquettes
I have a bond for United Croquet
with mallet aforethought.”

“Outrageous,” said Alice,
“I don’t know about bonds
and all these phenomenon
but I love to watch croquet.”

“Hey! You don’t say,” Chef said.
“Pray tell. Enough said about endurance.
You certainly have the insurance…
You’ll see: while I prepare the meal
you’ll make a deal and
meet the mallets and the balls.”

“Pardon me,” Alice said,
“I do appreciate such
grand financial advice
and a chance to meet new people
but please, if I may ask…”

Chairman Potter spun around suddenly:
“Indeed, speak up, speak down, don’t mess up
the chatter to the ear, here here.  Know
this, do adhere to the call of the unsilent soul.”

“Yes, then,” said Alice, “Um, seems a non sequitur
to meet the balls?
I’ve seen pretty balls, but
never heard them talk.”

“Heavens, if you love Croquet
and chocolate-covered grasshoppers
you’d know the rules: when a
hedgehog first signs up to be a ball,
he must make one sport speech, and
then he mustn’t talk at all or even
beckon with a mouthful of insects.”

“Pardon me … um …”

“Silly girl, you don’t try to talk
with a mouthful of insects, do you?
It’s been a mild winter, with abundance
of creature and grape to over mull; it’s
always impolite to talk with your mouth full.”

“Appreciate such much but…”

The May Hare hopped up onto the table
and began a thumping tap dance to
accolades from Potter mad indeed.
“Sing,” Hare said, “Insectivora:
Shrews and hedgehogs and moles.  You see?”

“Pardon me,” Alice sang, “Shrews
and hedgehogs and moles, I see.”

Thump thump. “They live in
a credit-defaulty swamp
aha.”

“Oh my…” And a swarm of flies flew
into her mouth, so singing she stopped,
but certainly hummed, stunned

(continued)
Next: The Hedgehogs Are Coming