The Rimer Unrhymed

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The Rimer Unrhymed

As if they were successive doves
Sent off the Ark, or one-way loaves
Cast on the waters, targeted
Clay pigeons of the skeet-shoot spring
In sequence from the cruise ship stern,
To shatter with the shot, or spin
Away like UFOs pre-shrunk.
One marksman, as the liner rolls,
Does not quite miss, but puts a nick
Upon the rim as if to track
The wounded clay another year.
Another afternoon, and, drink
In hand beside me at the bar,
He says "I've dreamed of it, you know."
       "Missing that shot. I dream
My pigeon with the nick's still there.
Behind us. Following. No spin;
Just hovering." Traditional
For cruises, there's an AA group
On board. He, so far as I know,
Does not belong, so I can say,
Without a loss of tact, "Your shrink
Might tell you it's a giant Alka-
Seltzer tablet in the sky."
He's not just any passenger;
He's a supply side lecturer.
Our cruise director hired him on
To sell the trip to MBAs.
Days later he's still on the dream,
Regaling luncheon mates with new
Additions. "It can read the waves
And troughs like missiles. Exocets."
His dinner table has, or says
It has, no English, and is spared.

Apparently the lectures, well
Attended, did not go too well.
In trying to explain his graphs
He more than once would blank quite out.
"The pie-shaped," my informant says,
"Were all beyond him. He had Art
A bigger slice of GNP
Than Health Care. That's what got him fired
From Ross Perot's campaign. Too small
A pie for all his slices. Ross
Can add. He found one of the charts
Had circles with degrees enough
To institute a whole New Math."

Do crossword puzzles often bring
Out premonitions? Mine would have,
Had I not thought that 8 Across —
"Bird of mixed omen" — came out of Poe.
The metaphor around our necks
Was hinted at us all too clear
Off Capri, at the pool buffet,
When — Who? The under pastry chef? —
In an excess of pride held up
For him we called the Circle Jerk
To see, a 12 inch pizza, one
Slice missing. Bounding over trays,
Steam tables, juice dispensers, Tums,
He slapped into the hired help's face
Salami, cheese, ripe olives, all.
The Keystone Cops and custard pies
Outdone. A melted cheese will stick.
He then leaps off the fantail ropes,
To be rescued by bus boys, me,
And some Long Island gigolo.
If you prefer, "dance host." At once
Reversing to assist rescue,
Our port propeller threw a blade.

Jerk, when I disembarked at Nice,
Was still deep under lithium
In Sick Bay, with the pastry chef
Beside him. For heroic acts
I have been offered ten per cent
Discounts on future passages.

One does not have to be at sea
To trap shoot. I at Hilton Head
Sometime let fly. Once, in the Club,
Upon the dart board, unrepaired,
I noticed an omitted arc
Of thirty-odd degrees. And back
From all the years since 8 Across
Came "Albatross." I leave, if not
A sadder, wiser man, one sure
Of Albatross as archetype,
And certain of how sound advice
Is "Let the circle be unbroken."