Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Edifying Fable

When Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer wakes,

The sun itself reaches in through the yellow, tobacco-choked blinds

Trying to touch the hem of his garment.

Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer knows

That he is a larger man than his circumstances have allowed him to express--

He is a colossus on a postage stamp stage!

A universe seen by sliver through a keyhole at midnight by a blind beggar!

Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer is already exhausted.

He turns off the tiny, ridiculous black-and-white portable television on the floor,

Which has spent the night stunting Benifacio's dreams with offers of:

Stackable storage containers,

Extendable grabbers for high shelves,


Zebra-striped snuggies.

"Today," he promises himself, using his fingernails to scratch a shoulder on which several wild black hairs have taken root,

"Today I bloom."

Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer places last night's (entire) mushroom pizza on his head,

The air filter from his 1979 Renault around his throat,

(He once sang Verdi at the Met!

Yes, it was closed, he had slumped to the rainy sidewalk outside, obliterated on tequila,

But art may appear at any hour! Beauty may claim any venue as her own, just like that!)

His filthy gray bed sheets around his body as if he were a mighty Roman senator,

And goes out the door,

Down the seven flights of stairs,

And into the streets, his canvas, like a three hundred pound, bearded tube of paint.

Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer is in love with loveliness!

He is a poet,

A magician,

A Minstrel,

And a mystic!

Why is his name not on every pair of lips?

Why is he not celebrated, feted, festooned with gifts and gew gaws from donut waitresses and heads of state?

Why do his feet itch?

Why has he no girlfriend, no boyfriend, no pet?

Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer stops at a news kiosk.

Everything is about some minor sitcom celebrity who claims to be a warlock, but looks like some sort of self-important but very ill buzzard who lives at a landfill and mates with old discarded automobile tires.

"This?" he squeaks.

"This is what people want?"

Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer immediately turns to stone.

The world should weep,

But the vendor says, simply, "Hey, not in front of my stand, man!" He throws up his hands. "Fucking shithead!"

A policeman arrives and, after debating whether to call for a tow truck or a crane, arranges for Sanitation to come and remove this new unauthorized statuary.

Before they can appear, though, a white bird floats down, seemingly from Heaven itself.

Could it be,

The very Messenger of God, a divinely entrusted living symbol of everlasting care and mercy?

It craps on Ben's head,

So probably not, Hopeful Cherubs,

Probably not.


for One Shoot Sunday

photograph by James Rainsford



Sioux said...

What a way to start my Sunday morning!

I know his music might be a bit tame for your tastes, but John Prine writes brilliant lyrics...He reminds me of Dylan, but looks like he's washed his hair in the toilet.

"Dear Abby," "The Great Compromise," "Jesus, the Missing Years" are some songs that remind me your poetry.

You continue to piss me off (ha)...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh I love it when your poems generate big deep belly laughs of amazed disbelief. How do you DO it??????? However you do it, please keep doing it. I am in awe. I so loved this story. So many great great hilarious lines, too many to even begin to name. But the last lines, most of all. Hopeful cherubs indeed! Shay, you are so freaking hilarious, I can hardly stand it!!!!!

hedgewitch said...

"..And into the streets, his canvas, like a three hundred pound, bearded tube of paint..."

What a perfect line! This is just a fantastic piece from start to finish.I went from cracking up over the various sordid pricks to vanity and the mushroom pizza, to a kind of bemused regret for dreamers and their dead fossilized dreams. And the (I'm assuming) Sheen reference was probably the funniest, most perceptive thing I've read on that goofus ever. A wonderful poem, Shay. Made my day.

dustus said...

"Today I bloom," thus spaketh Zarathustra, as well as Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von how the street vendor makes the call—shithead, yep, literally and figuratively. And all along he just needed a kindhearted donut waitresses who could scratch his athlete's foot when he ran out of Tinactin. Seriously though, your poem was a treat to read. Speaks volumes satirically.

Raven said...

Thank you for cheering me up. I enjoyed that very much. :D The ending was fantastic!

Sioux said...

Shay--For future talks about John Prine (or anything else), email me at

Kim Nelson said...

Following the Sunday NY Times and local paper, this piece felt like the first bit of sanity, of art and levity, a most excellent spring morning treat.

Steve Isaak said...

Fun, lively.

Aquarius63 said...

I have an odd sense of humour, Lmao off at the vision of this.

"Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer places last night's (entire) mushroom pizza on his head"

Really enjoyed reading.


Brian Miller said...

this is a riot shay...the messenger crapped in my corn flakes this morning as well...i like the font, like marker on a board....i will be smiling from this one for a while...

Ami Mattison said...

Heh-larious! You pulled no comic punches on this one. The absurdity of the "the artiste" is exposed here as is the ridiculousness of pop culture too. Nothing and no one goes unscathed,except perhaps the bird. Love it!

jen revved said...

wow-- your imagination led you on an amazing trip here-- great, no herculean effort, w this problematic prompt--xxxj

Anonymous said...

Blown away and I actually feel a little sorry for his Benifactio guy. Specially since he has last nights pizza dumped on his brain! Great use of satire to portray this grey wannabe Shay.

K. Duane Carter said...

Two words, well, maybe three depending on how you look at it: "You're awesome!"

flaubert said...

From beginning to end, what a tale you've woven. I love this line, "He is a colossus on a postage stamp stage!" and the ending had me laughing:) Thanks, Shay.


Jerry said...

That was a fantastic trip! What a ride...Black and white T.V. commercials. Sitcom warlocks...It's better to be stoned and shit on.

Anonymous said...

LMAO! you have such a wonderful imagination. even his name is a riot!

Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer


Mama Zen said...

You totally surprised me with this one. Once you got him in the pizza hat and bed sheet, I was seeing Vatican.

Helena said...

A fun ride! LOL!
Thank you for visiting...

♥ ஆεlεɳa ~.^

Lolamouse said...

Few things make me laugh out loud but this did! Freakin' fabulous! A wonderful treatise on the ridiculousness of self-importance and the idiotic willingness of the public to buy into anything. You continually amaze.