Epic Poems Part 2

The Hedgehogs Are Coming

Knowingly knowing something,
the others checked the forest sounds
for the woodpeckers peck

“Aha,” said the May Hare,
“It’s the running of the flies
and fly balls. You see?”

But Alice wondered
what was to come

Mad Potter:
“The hedgehogs are coming —
it’s the coming of the hedgehogs
to the banquet with all the
Zeitgeist and glory,
dressed to the nines
with their triumphant spines.”

The hedgehogs rolled in
like acrobats or tumble weeds,
and with a chatter-wonky prose
reposed on their seats, able
to feed with their noses on the table —
without doubt a clout indubitable;
forty-eight on the right had their portfolios
and on the left forty-eight undeniably without

Though chatter can matter sometimes
in vehement unwonkyness, the
Hedgehogian debate seemed
roquét-cious but playful,
nine wickets contentious
like all the nine Muses, amusing with
usual silly debates: the course
is a zig-zag, yes of course!
Oh no, it’s a
double-diamond pattern
that must be enforced

But out of the noise
a voice was heard:
“Young Lady, what do you say?”

Alice was embarrassed,
feared another faux pas,
wanted to be a
casual profound
for some
combo-sensible aha’s

Not too breezy, she thought
ought to find a tactful tack
sail into a cool wind, not into hot air.
“It’s like the Hawk and the Eagle,” she said
“one, sees a mouse running in zig-zag,
the other will pounce on a pattern… “

But all kinds of shouts broke out:
“Are you calling us a mouse?”

“No, no, no,” Alice said,
“It’s a metaphor for detail and pattern —
to tack for tact; for tactics and strategy…
um, un-…, um… can I unsay, please?”

Kindly the Hare jumped
to her defense: “Indeed
you may, and I will say
strat-tea-tactfully, everyone
must have jam.”

So Mad Potter joined in with a word:
“ ’tis true: everyone must jam or coin.”

With that enabler, the Hare
ducked under the table,
rummaging up an under-lair.

Alice just stared.

But all the hedgehogs suddenly chanted,
“By the mallet, we must have music and dance.
Talent from the mallets
must fly in.”

“Come out from under there, Hare,
if you’ve, so to speak,
gone to Spain,”
Potter dared.

With a hop and a jump
the May Hare with guitar
stomped up on the table:
“Andalusia! Clap, clap,
clap, clap, clap.”

On the portfolio right,
claws and toes
rapped on the table,
leftward a rhythm with a
clap a clap-clap

“Andalusia! Mallets fly in.

Alice in yellow:
clap-clap, clap clap
“Andalusia! Like I could be
a frenzied yellow meadow lark
I see pink clouds astounding me.”

Hare strummed
with fingers across strings
feet and palm stomping
thump thump
“Andalusia! Oh mallets do land.”

Hedge clap
a clap-clap
clap clap clap

Clap clap. With heels on their back toe
and taps on their webbed feet
swooning flamingos flapped to the tune

Soon pink feathers descended
landing in table center stage

Hedge a clap-clap
thump a thump thump

Hedge claws on the table
paws clapping rhythmically

With castenets in their wings
the flamingos flamencoed

and with graceful beak to snout
hedgehogs and flamingos
danced about

But when a flamingo stood firmly on its head
Alice wondered what could have been said

To a hedgehog, Potter said,
“Complete, complete,
curl up, curl up,” as he
grabbed a mallet by its feet.

“Andalusia clap clap”
For the end, Potter’s hand talent
swung the feathered mallet
pink and feet tall, and
the hedgehog rolled
like a bowling ball.

They could have rolled
on and on, if they could’ve
cajoled their way to have
a ball, to have more fun
but it would have to be done
when the Hare hopped and spoke:
“Attention! Clear the table
as best you’re able
or even not. Stop!
It must be done by tradition.”

Between the lines of engagement
there was a flutter of birds disturbed
and a bristling to orders, but
mostly a disorderly compliance
to all the interstitial conditions

Potter concurred:
“The waiters will be here
but they can’t wait for long —
have your orders ready,
but don’t be forlorn

This made Alice unsteady in voice,
in her thoughts and in her mood.
“Wait…,” Alice said, “wait, what
are our choices?”

“Dear girl,” said the Hare,
“let the Mad Potter explain
since it is I who must go to
the under-lair retrieval and
arrange our ice water
and the Champagne.”

“Croquettes, ah yes, Alice,”
began a Potter hypostasis,
“an essence is dipped in a flour with flaxseed;
essentially you have an encrusted snack.
So don’t you be fatigued
from a choice of three.”

“Indeed,” said Alice, “and
these are which three?”

“Yes, for your benefit:
croquettes with walnuts and assorted chopped insects
or peanuts and chopped peasants in lemon,
or if you find that
that’s a dilemma,
there’s a third to chose —
let it be lemon ice cream
and fortune cookies esteemed.”

As Alice contemplated, the May Hare
came out from under
carrying on carts
all his paraphernalia:
hopping about with
buckets of ice water
and water guns.
“Fill your guns,” the Hare proclaimed.

Play time, Alice thought
and she squirted her
neighboring hedgehog
with ice water

Poor fellow being:
he rolled up in a ball and cried,
“Argh. What are you doing?”

“Oh, um, sorry,” Alice whined,
“I’m confused this day…
Aren’t we to play now?”

“You don’t understand, Dear,” said Potter
“The ice water is for the waiters.
“If you must play
get up on the table…”

“Oh dear.”
Alice was embarrassed.

Alice Dances

In unison:
“Yes, yes, yes,
up on the table
if you are able, and
dance to excess…”

Potter professed:
“Play requires extravagance
and the arrogance of fun
like a tamed water gun, it’s
the vanity of a solo dance
shooting steps across the floor.”

In unison proclamation with claps:
“Take the floor,
take the floor!”

Alice was floored by
all the imploring, but
stabled her doubts and
flew up like a flamingo.

With the prance of a wild horse
and flight of bird fulfilled
she strutted and danced
and twirled her skirt until

Potter shouted, “Duck!”
as the gasps were heard

“Yeow,” Alice screamed
as a trapeze bar flew
just over her head

“Watch for the swing,”
the May Hare said.

As it flew forward
and then returned back,
the Hare yelled urgently
“Easy now Alice; catch:
“just seize the trapeze.”

She reached up and grabbed it
and swung all the way back

“Higher!” they shouted
like the clouds were no limit,
“No thrill should be diminished.”

Like a flag ripped with care
her hair fluttered in the air

They stared at the sight

While lifting her legs into breezy heights
her trapeze in the air arced forward, and praying,
her hair exhorted all ethereal forces
to ease her beleaguering frights.

At the peak of the swing she heard
a voice from above, “Reach up
and let go.”

Ut oh, good grief, some
tricky maneuvers were needed —
which one, could be a tossup to heed
on the spur of the moment,
so still flying forward and up
she caught a foot and a leg
of a man falling on her

When she could
wrap around and climb him, she
finally looked up.  A hoot:
it was Chef Steagall
on a golden parachute

A calming voice, but
she could hear his pounding heart
and smell his sweat; he
seemed cool
though he held his breath

Astounding were the
swoosh sounds to touch down
as gracefully they floated
down to the ground.

Inhaling the ground air
and helping her up neatly, again
the Chef was cool like an orator,
“Now be off Dear Girl, for
the penguins are coming
to take your order, and
we must all be
seated in our chairs.”

Alice ran back through the grass
wondering past a sign for Noah’s Lake,
but jumped over a hedge not stopping
for obstacles bushed or bred or snake.

She plopped in her seat,
near breathless but not:
“Um, thank you all for
that great treat. Yes, so
time to eat then?”

Time To Order

“Oh no,” they said. “Time
to order.  There must be order.”

“Oh yes, I meant
we will after
we order.”

Potter proclaimed, “I hear
foot fall so great of waddling feet.
the penguins will be
converging here to greet.
Bestir yourself folks, do!
Invoke your order urgently,
water guns ready too.”

“OK,” said Alice, “um,
then as you say, not for fun
the water guns are for the waiters.
Then, not to be flirty, we give
them the guns without fuss
and they squirt us?”

“Gracious no, silly girl,” reacted Potter.
“Are you hot — do you have a fever?
Would you think a penguin is a provoker?
It is they who get very hot indeed.
Leave gun nozzle on spray, and
with a speedy soaking, just
be ready to allay their heat.”

As Alice was adjusting her gun
a penguin snuck up on her
and startled her to jump

As she suddenly turned, yikes
the gun went off
like a chiding cough, and
sprayed her returning waiter.

“Thank you,” he said, “may I take
your order.”

“Um, oh yes,” Alice said to the waiter,
“I’ll have lemon ice cream please, and
fortune cookies,” Alice remembered,
and sprayed him in allayment of heat

“Very good,” he said
and waddled off.

Blissed hedgehogs everywhere
sprayed ice water aloft, and
the penguins marched off
in refrigerated mist.

The Hare hopped about and
looked at Alice, “Is your
fever disciplined? Are you alright?
Would an aspirin be quite right?”

“Um, no, I’m fine.”

“I heard you ordered the
lemon ice cream, so in
the collusion of coolness
you’ll catch a bet on
the Croquet matches?”

“Um, I suppose, and you?”

“Edifying for you,
I might buy your tickets:
trade you for a bond
or mortgage instrument.”

“Um, an instrument? You mean
like a saxophone?”

“Hmm, never heard of that,
never owned it.  I wonder if
the interest rate would be erratic.”

“Well, I imagine a lot
of people are interested,
seems to me they’d
like to play exotic…”

Potter intervened, “Yes, ’tis an art,
keenly everyone must jam or coin;
at any rate, interests are emotive, but
wait, yes, I can hear the motors
of the foody go-carts —
the snacks are here
the penguins are back.

The Penguins Serve

This time the penguins were fast
to slide trays of food around
like slippery ice bergs waddling,
everyone moving down with verve
making way for Alice’s vast servings.
In double-time wobbles the
penguins burned rubber, and
speeded away like old hot rodders.

Alice was startled and befuddled:
twenty-four fortune cookies to judge
each more than a foot long, one
would say, for a cookie extreme

The Hare hopped about and
looked at Alice, “How’s your
fever? Have some lemon
ice cream.”

Alice thought it best to enjoy
the lemon ice cream anointed, as she
gazed at all the cookies well appointed.

As she massaged her tongue with
cool lemon flavor, Alice flung a
savored thought around in her head
about what her cookie fortunes would say —
hmm, perhaps a crystal ball instead inside
and I’ll have to tell my own fortune,
she thought. Perhaps, in one,

there’s a frog that will pop out
but do frogs tell fortunes? Maybe so.

The hedgehogs ate their croquettes quietly
didn’t seem to want to hear their fortune told,
but she was intrigued to know.

Well, I suppose, she thought,
someone who eats all desserts
is bound to be curious
about the main things in life.

Alice lifted one end of a cookie, and
with a twist broke off a piece to eat.
It was pretty decent:
spinach and egg flavor,
a soupçon of shrimp

With the sound of the crack
the Hare jumped up, and
the hedgehogs took note.

The Mad Potter said,
“Pull out the papers,
and have a look.”

Alice looked at the open end.
“Goodness, there’s a stack of papers
as big as a book,” she said.

“Certainly,” said the May Hare,
“those are your futures contracts —
of course there’d be stacks.”

“My future?” Alice puzzled,
on the edge of disappointment.

“Struggle and risk — that’s what
the future is for — potluck,” Potter said.

Hare jumped in: “So tell us please
if next year you’re guaranteed
the right to buy wheat flour at
twenty cents a pound?”

Astounded, looking into it,
Alice read fine print. “Hmm,
it’s a bit confusing, though
seems to say I’m meant to buy
on a future day at twenty cents”

Some hedgehogs yelled out,
“Bad price, bad price…
we’ll buy it and sacrifice —
must be simple grain not fragile flour.”

Alice shuffled the papers around
and many different futures she found:
“Wait. Many more nested contracts in here —
makes me hesitate and need to scream ‘oh dear
oh my’, hear hear; may I ask a question?”

Kindly the Hare jumped in
with intercession: “Indeed
you may, and I will say
strat-tea-tactfully, everyone
must have jam. So yes?”

“I’m unsteady with many..
there’s grasshopper bellies
at ten cents a ton… but
forgive me if I don’t know tons…”

“Alice dear,” said Potter, “dreams
are made of risk and squishes, of
gibberish served cold — yet, all
can be seen in menageries of
animal-spirited chatter-nattery.”

Hare added: “As the grasshopper hops,
we are in end times on suspenders
in shreded unspent climes dreaded;
times of crowing and growing
of loco weeds and locusts.”

“I’ll make the most of this,
I’ll try,” Alice guffawed, but
had to ponder the looming
abyss of lists and awe.

Assuming some fun with life on a thread
a chorus in unison sang like the Fates:
“Open another cookie, sweet bread of life
fortunes on futures can not wait.”

Well, Alice thought, at least
a taste of a cookie fate, would be
an adventure in eating and reading.
Picking up a cookie firmly at both ends
she cracked the specimen open near middle.
She pulled off the smaller piece just to mull over.
“Hmm, let me see how crunchy passions astir.”

The Hare wiggled its nose.
“Ahh,” he said, “smells
like mixed mortgages and
stock index futures… or
is it stock futures from
the vineyards’ arts.”

“Well, good ouch,” said Alice, “It’s like
an onion potato chip
shaped like a pouch.”

Hare jumped:
“Hmm, onion, dear Potter,
done and undone are
the layers of the onion —
deem one layer gone bad,
peel off another scheme. So
what wine goes with
potato chips and
lemon ice cream?”

On to Champagne

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