Atonal Bisque
an anagrammatical homage to Alain Bosquet

Where is the sea, that once solved the whole loneliness
Of the Midwest?

                    —James Wright, “As I Step Over A Puddle at the End of Winter, I Think of an Ancient Chinese Governor”

Lo! a banquet is
arranged before us; choice viands (i.e. roast goat)
bloat a sequin-
and pearl-encrusted tablecloth, resplendent
on a base quilt,
succulent and shimmering, feasting a fleet afloat upon

a quest: boil an
egg to demonstrate round worlds, disappearing ships beyond an ocean of
aqua, blest ion
of sodium chloride! Luckily I was rescued by the Kon-Tiki; so there I was, afloat
on balsa, quite
happy to be alive and wet my lips with sodium-free

aqua. No belt is
an equator girding my planet like a favor borne on
a quest; ban oil
and all its emissions: we’ll soon see blue sky; see bobwhite
quail nest; boa
snakelets hatching, emerald tendrils vanishing into grass.

Let aqua bison
haunt the prairies that were prehistoric seas; a
quote is banal;
Le Pétomane, alone at night, emits a
quiet anal sob,
weeping for his lost innocence.

Squat; be a lion,
a sphinx, some ravenous beast rampant, an
oblique Satan
crouched in his den like teeth hidden in a
labia quonset
that huddles morosely on chicken legs.

Sabine loquat,
your lips give me as much comfort
as a bone quilt.
I can refuse this offer; I’ve had my
lesbian quota;
men are more my idea of a good time.

O antique slab,
o Rosetta of the infinite, informing us
about Q’s alien
tendencies, the deformed ideas that form
in a squat lobe
of his Swiss-cheese brain,

question a lab
regarding the yearly harvest of social diseases,
quiet on a slab.
Your own remission, reactivated, won’t seem
quite so banal
when it alters to begin again .

Aliquot banes
fill the majority of glassware vessels in a
lab so antique
they’re still looking for a philosopher’s stone, a mare’s
nest, boil aqua
regia instead of nitrohydrochloric acid

No bestial qua
bestial appearance can compensate for collecting a
sin quota; bale
after bale of little collectible figurines;
so quaint; able
to indicate conclusively that you’re gullible as hell.

O quail, absent-
minded symbol of maternal impulses, brooding
on labia nest
over your one small chick, the last surviving
squab, it alone
validates your unproductive existence; or could that

also be a quint-
essence of unresponsiveness to medication? Some things are undo-
able. I squat on
sterilized ceramic in the bijou residence of a
snob—aqua tile
in the bathroom for that retro look, just like the ‘50s—wearing nothing but a

tinsel boa, Qua-
aludes, alluding to the gaiety and materialism of the ‘90s (rats
squeal; oat bin
keeps them happy, until the Warfarin® takes effect), but without money, I
(sob) ain’t equal
to the challenge or opportunity inherent in commercials that

squeal Obtain
these goods and be like me!
the Puritan work ethic is ethnic, and
so quaint: bale
cotton, work on the railroad, and you won’t feel
quite so banal.
And now I have a real job again; so

banal; so quiet
I can’t stand it, and I keep telling myself
“ So quit, be anal
if that’s how you feel when you work with assholes; but
quit as a noble
gesture instead of just a symptom of PMS.”

“ Quote Là-bas in
inappropriate circumstances, like during a performance review,
bleat on, quasi-
romantically, about your schizophrenic tendencies and
blasé sin quota,
which you are trying to cut down on without gaining weight.” But I’m

quite a slob; an-
other fine mess I’ve gotten me into from not following my own advice;
a quotable sin,
with symptoms of aggressive recidivism:
bloat, queasin-
ess, and the heartbreak of sore eyes. Let

no beast quail
when the hunting season peaks in quaternary autumn agues, let
no bait squeal;
at the bottom of the food chain, you can’t expect a
bastion equal
to full frontal assault—somebody’s got to clean up after me and supply our

lab quota, sine
curve giving up misinterpreted results; and look at this brain:
a lobe quit an
hour ago, but no one notices abnormality these days: we’re just
not equal; bias
cuts across the fabric of society, causing it to drape in elegant folds.

©2001 F.J. Bergmann

"Atonal Bisque" appeared in Ur-Vox #4