The Manchester Review
Norm Sibum
from Sub Divo
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1: Eulogy

Raw April begins this book
Along with MacFarlane, wind and allergens.
The King of Sherbrooke Street is dead.
And of the women who attended his needs,
I hear the maid has it in for the nurse
Who has it in for the masseuse, so many maenads high
                                        on the sweepstakes of grief.
Lovelies at the Claremont ponder
Whither now his operatic cane,
That one he jabbed about in the air,
That one decked out with blossoms?
Will they honour a barstool’s drunk
Who rang up 83 god-like blooming years
                                      with a plaque?
The Greeks at Nikas are miffed.
They’ve seen no cut of the action, the unofficial wakes
That have kicked in up and down the street.
For instance, Flora at ‘bratwurst’, her eyes misted up,
Her Persian sensibilities front and centre,
Concludes there’ll be no more Big Boss on whom to wait
Who was a runt, if not a pain.
Labrosse, our lives, too, are altered:
How long before we notice
Some nagging absence when
We set about to milk the wine cow
And no thundering accosts our ears?
For MacFarlane’s gone and there’s none now to bark,
                                    to testify, to judge, to jury,
                                  let alone raise unholy ruckus
To the level of sacred art: “If they can’t decide, for all their laurels,
Whether literary acts are acts of conscience
Or the pursuit of pleasure by other means,
Then perhaps the giants of the word don’t rate
The soubriquets of ‘committed’ or ‘great’.
Count me as down for sin, however.”
         (I, for one, will miss this critic.)
Certainly, I will miss him for a while, at least,
Until nature plugs the vacuum with other clowns.
Until history shapes a rubber nose for my ideals.
And how very like a dull boy I am especially when
The grandly dead, supine in his casket, displays superior pique
At Collins Clarke MacGillivray, his nose rankled,
The most delicate of sneezes on the way.
                           (That obligatory spray
                               Of roses and mums
                                          Argues this:
                      Surviving family members
                  Put up with his shenanigans.)
Labrosse, at one of the clock, April 9th, 2010,
We’re due at the parlour for a body’s last rites.
What’s become of the soul is best left
Unsaid. But the trees are on the verge
Of verdancy, all those swelling buds
Such as hail and farewell an homunculus.
In the meantime, however, on the count of three
Let you and I make out like a semi-sober chorus:
Vale, MacFarlane. You almost made it, you effer,
To terrasse season.”