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Monday, June 30, 2008

Clam Ode (Dean Young)

One attempts to be significant on a grand scale
in the knockdown battle of life
but settles.
It is clammy today, meaning wet and gray,
not having a hard, calciniferous shell.
I love the expression "happy as a clam,"
how it imparts buoyant emotion
to a rather, when you get down to it,
nonexpressive creature. In piles of ice
it awaits its doom pretty much the same
as on the ocean floor it awaits
life's bouquet and banquet and sexual joys.
Some barncles we know are eggs dropped from outer space
but clams, who has a clue how they reproduce?
By trading clouds?
The Chinese thought them capable of prolonging life
while clams doubtlessly considered
the Chinese the opposite.
I remember the jawbreakers my dad would buy me
on the wharf at Stone Harbor, New Jersey;
every thirty seconds you'd take out
the one in your mouth
to check what color it turned.
What does this have to do with clams?
A feeling.
States of feeling, unlike the states of the upper midwest,
are difficult to name.
That is why music was invented
which caused a whole new slew of feelings
and is why since,
people have had more feelings than they know what to do with
so you can see it sorta backfired
like a fire extinguisher that turns out to be a flamethrower.
They look alike, don't they?
So if you're buying one be sure
you don't get the other,
the boys in the stockroom are stoners
who wear their pants falling down
and deserve their own Gulliver's Travels island.
The clam however remains calm.
Green is the color of the kelp it rests on
having a helluva wingding calm.
I am going to kill you in butter and white wine
so forgive me, great clam spirit,
join yourself to me through the emissary
of this al dente fettuccine
so I may be as qualmless and happy as you.

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