Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I had impure thoughts, punched
my sister, masturbated three times, and stole some cookies.
It's okay, Son. Say three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys,and
you're absolved. You can go to Communion tomorrow morning,
and then if you're run over by a truck you go straight to heaven.
What a relief.
Say, Father, if that would happen, if I were run over and died and
went to heaven, how would it be? I mean, what do you get?
Everything you ever wanted, Son. You get to have impure thoughts,
punch your sister, masturbate, and steal all the cookies you can eat.
Live right, kid, Heaven is sweet.
|Excerpted from Uncalculated Risks|
Never drive an oncoming car, and never ride in one. Nothing good ever happens to oncoming cars. They are forever colliding with vehicles that travel in the proper direction, but out of control.
This is one precaution that the National Safety Council and the various auto clubs have failed to list. Their experts have explored the science of unwholesome driving habits so intensively that they overlook the obvious.
and I'll be
TO SEE HIM!
In fender fields, jalopies grow|
between the crossroads, row on row
of sacked sedans whose parts are prized
and sold, or slowly oxidized
As all roads lead to other roads,
all metal's destined to corrode,
all fenders finally are bent,
'til half the country is cement,
all lined and signed with Stops and Yields;
the other half is fender fields
|In central Pennsylvania, botanists discovered a box huckleberry
covering an area of nearly 100 acres. Adding roughly six inches
a year, the huckleberry's underground runners would achieve
that size in about 12,000 years, rivaling the bristlecone pine of
the southern Rockies as the oldest living thing on earth.|
Before the pyramids arose,
before the Druids or the ark,
before invention of the hose,
the sprinkler or the public park,
before Methuselah was born,
before the Trojans met the horse
or Joshua put lips to horn,
before the Vikings took to oars,
or Percival saw the holy cup,
or the Spanish fleet was put to rout,
the bristlecone was reaching up,
the huckleberry reaching out,
the bristlecone arising to
occasions dimly understood,
the huckleberry inching through
the secret regions of the woods,
one horizontally deployed,
the other vertically inclined,
two giants of an age destroyed
by second-growths within the mind
of homo sapiens---lately crowned,
busier than worker bees,
more possessive of the ground,
and more consuming of the trees:
trees from which he late descended,
worshipper of word and number,
not of roots---these he amended:
Trees shall now be known as "lumber."
Animals are "meat" and "pelts,"
Vegetables are what he cans,
Minerals are what he smelts,
And all is owned, and all is Man's
A hundred twenty centuries
before the potting of the palm,
before alloy technologies
had spawned the ersatz tannenbaum,
before expressway cloverleaves
where little else but vetch survive
migrations of the SUVs,
before the bus or train arrived,
or fly-ash flecked the noonday blue,
or "Timber!" had become a shout,
one bush, one tree, collected dew,
one growing up, one growing out,
and redstarts nested in the dense
embrambling, and thrush patrolled:
free foragers before the fence,
sweet singers to a silent world
Now ancient fauna burn as oil
and ancient flora burn as coal
while fossil cataloguers toil
to chart each body void of soul---
distinctions which these two ignore,
two titans drinking from the skies,
the riches of the earth still stored
in branches where the saps still rise
Twelve thousand years ago, a seed,
just that, just dropped among the trees,
no one to spray or prune or weed,
no smudgepot warmth, no nurseries,
no birthdays, just new rings of wood,
no requiems when the count was high:
one day too old to be much good;
the next, too marvelous to die
Something quickens in the bark.
Something tentative turns true.
Some mysterious fluid spark
ignites an ancient pulse anew.
It quivers to the owl's first hoot
at dark, a half inch into spring,
and morning shows one fragile shoot:
the youngest oldest living thing
pokes into life, or death, and doubt
but reaches up, and reaches out
"If Instead of Apes
We Had Come from Grapes"
is a book of light verse
written and illustrated
by Alan Van Dine