Tuesday Poem: mehitabel s morals, by Don Marquis

10 May

mehitabel s morals

boss i got
a message from
mehitabel the cat
the other day
brought me by
a cockroach
she asks for our help
it seems she is being
held at ellis
island while an
investigation is made
of her morals
she left the country
and now it looks as
if she might not
be able to get
back in again
she cannot see
why they are
her morals she says
wotthehellbill she says
i never claimed
i had any morals
she has always regarded
morals as an unnecessary
complication in life
her theory is
that they take up room that might
better be devoted to
something more interesting
live while you are alive
she says and postpone
morality to the hereafter
everything in its place
is my rule she says
but i am liberal she
says i do not give
a damn how moral other
people are i never try
to interfere with them
in fact i prefer them
moral they furnish
a background for my
vivacity in the meantime
it looks as if she
would have to swim
if she gets ashore and
the water is cold


— Don Marquis

So if you don’t know Archy and Mehitabel you must must must run out and buy them – they are usually available second hand – or at least skim through them in the library. Archy is a vers libre poet whose soul gets transmigrated into the body of a cockroach and he types his missives out at night in a newspaper office. His most regular companion is Mehitabel the cat, who swears she used to be Cleopatra, and in any case has had an interesting cat life. The poems are silly and wonderful and wise and ridiculous. They were written as newspaper columns and are sometimes very long and sometimes quite short. And you really must read them. And that’s all I got.


One Response to “Tuesday Poem: mehitabel s morals, by Don Marquis”

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