Saturday, 18 November 2017

Boom! Boom!

Oh dear, oh dear -  one-liners  has not proved a popular theme with our Dead Good bloggers! As it was one of my suggestions, I will shoulder the blame for the distinct lack of posts on topic this week and must now try and step up to the task of rescuing what I thought would be quite an entertaining subject.

The reason I nominated it in the first place is because I have a black Moroccan notebook full of poems, bits of poems, ideas for poems - and at the back a few pages of miscellany where I save up striking lines that have no poem of their own to go to...and I thought: how about trying to herd some of those standalone fragments into a meaningful whole? It would be an interesting challenge to take a bunch of non-sequiturs and make something coherent of them - a bit like raiding a rubbish tip for discarded materials to work with.  Random examples from the back of said notebook include the following:

- big Hans, poacher turned goalkeeper
- the geometry of everlasting love
- scuttle along the spiny highway that is hedgehog street
- he is a Mexican of no fixed adobe
- fusing snippets of electrification
- poison girls come out to play
- schooled in the musky arts
- fractal dreams in smithereens
- friends, robots, cybermen...
- playing second buffoon in the orchestra of life
- as scandal rocks the Surrey Docks
- a pyrotechnician in the Zoroastrian tradition

etc etc etc. Wish me luck!

All of my favourite one-liners are  - by definition - inventive plays on words. Some are conceptual (see the example of continental humoresque below); many are funny (aka smart-assed one-liners); quite often they are quirky, frequently they are paradoxical, always they are clever after a fashion as they wilfully (mis)use language in the interests of being thought-provoking and making the world a more entertaining place.

Herewith five one-liners that never fail to make me smile:
Pinned to the door of an abandoned clown's caravan: "Goodbye, cruel circus. I'm off to join the world."
From Liverpool poet Adrian Henri: "'I've just about reached breaking point,' he snapped."
According to Oscar Levant: "There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line."
Graffiti sprayed on the wall outside the Plain English Campaign HQ advised: "Eschew obfuscation!"
From the razor-sharp mind of that irreverent comic genius Julius Henry (Groucho) Marx: "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." Priceless.

Please feel free to share your own favourite one-liners in the comments section at the bottom of the blog.

A Mexican Adobe (house of mud)
Right. Here is what I've cobbled together by way of a poem this week. It was much harder than I thought to wrestle those orphan lines into something resembling a coherent narrative. Eventually it decided to take on a life of its own, this happy/sad tale, and though it may not be the final version, I hope it passes muster for now...

Tequila Sundries (Agave Agape)
He is a Mexican of no fixed adobe,
a  mild man resigned
after many false starts,
to playing second buffoon
in the mariachi band of life;
a funny man,
once they get the hang
of his gallows humour.
It was not by design,
but so be it.

His erstwhile wife, well-heeled
but schooled in the musky arts
had been plucked from his side
too soon after their Tamaulipa honeymoon
by the masterful passion
of a passing pyrotechnician
in the Zoroastrian tradition.
Fire works in mysterious ways.

Bereft, a sadness gnaws at his core
and when the laughter and the crowd
have slipped out of the door
he fritters his after-hours
in seedy cantinas with dark-eyed whores
trying to figure the geometry
of this everlasting love
which triangulated his poor heart,
fusing snippets of electrification
till smouldering wise
he will stand with the dawn,
face shining from tears
and stumble outside
kicking up sand,
mezcal bottle in hand.

In fact any day after sunrise
in some dusty one horse desert town
you can possibly hear
the thin sound of this lonely man
banging his head on a tack-house wall,
sinking slowly in a sea of remorse,
his fractal dreams lampooned abroadside.

In carnivorous sorrow
he drains another bottle with violent affection,
swallowing worm and all.

I think we're done. Thanks for reading. Have a happy week, S ;-)


Lady Curt said...

I've had this line in my head since I was about 17..." Dustbins outside the padre's house...full of discarded confessions ?" I've still to use it in something...but it's ok as a stand alone saying ?

Anonymous said...

Mr. R! The poem works for me - it's absolutely tremendous.

As for fave one-liners, I always liked Oscar Wilde's wit. I'd choose this one:
"The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster."

Richard Hone said...

There’s a fine line between standing on the riverbank and fishing... Canadian comedian Steve Wright 🙂

Matt West said...

Another entertaining read, Steve. Another fine poem too. Hope you don't mind if I quote a line from one of your own pieces back at you - that one about the rise of facism: "Too much massed ovation has made our nation blind." That always stuck with me. It's a killer line.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Steve. Enjoyable as ever. As a withering one-liner, this from Dorothy Parker takes some beating: "If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."

Anonymous said...

On the subject of withering, didn't Groucho Marx also say: "I never forget a face, but in your case I'm prepared to make an exception"?

Anonymous said...

Tequila Sundries! Love it!

Anonymous said...

One-liner: "Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else." (Don't know who is credited with saying it first.) Great poem, btw.

Anonymous said...

'The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children' - Clarence Darrow.

Anonymous said...

I've always liked this from Edmund Hillary: 'It's not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves'.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Steve. I really like the flow of your poem. Grand stuff.