by Thomas McGrath
Sirs, when you are in your last extremity,
When your admirals are drowning in the grass-green sea,
When your generals are preparing the total catastrophe—
I just want you to know how you can not count on me.
I have ridden to hounds through my ancestral halls,
I have picked the eternal crocus on the ultimate hill,
I have fallen through the window of the highest room,
But don’t ask me to help you ’cause I never will.
Sirs, when you move that map-pin how many souls must dance?
I don’t think all those soldiers have died by happenstance.
The inscrutable look on your scrutable face I can read at a glance—
And I’m cutting out of here at the first chance.
I have been wounded climbing the second stair,
I have crossed the ocean in the hull of a live wire,
I have eaten the asphodel of the dark side of the moon,
But you can call me all day and I just won’t hear.
O patriotic mister with your big ear to the ground,
Sweet old curly scientist wiring the birds for sound,
O lady with the Steuben glass heart and your heels so rich and round—
I’ll sent you a picture postcard from somewhere I can’t be found.
I have discovered the grammar of the Public Good,
I have invented a language that can be understood,
I have found the map of where the body is hid,
And I won’t be caught dead in your neighborhood.
O hygienic inventer of the bomb that’s so clean,
O lily white Senator from East Turnip Green,
O celestial mechanic of the money machine—
I’m going someplace where nobody makes your scene.
Good-by, good-by, good-by,
Adios, au ’voir, so long,
Sayonara, dosvedanya, ciao,
By-by, by-by, by-by.
Last updated February 16, 2023