Double Cathexis of Dead Metaphors, image by Daniel Y. Harris
David Alpaugh, Four Double-Title Poems
Yourself down the slope of Mount Ever Rest
after being dropped at the summit by a copter.
Who ever heard of an uphill skier? Descent’s
sine qua non—where vulnerable skin’s aloft:
Vici. Vidi. Veni. Conquer first. Arrive later.
Rappel yourself down to the Fat Lady’s chamber,
million pound dowry in hand—as Eddie croons
Oh My Papa from the penthouse of a port in air.
See that bloke, halfway down, gathering samphire
to earn a thin dime? Poor sod just has 1 way to go
On the ground—out of fashion with the jet set
who prefer to rise—eagle like—to 30,000 feet;
but remain wildly popular on New York City
streets; where Uggs, Trips, and Birkenstocks
prance—as The Ball descends on 20-whatever.
Boots on the ground have arm-chaired warriors,
eager to see leather slogging through hell again.
Nor does sand object to being battered and abused:
like Liza, as ’enrey ’iggins wolfs down ’is kippers;
turns ’is back on love and cries, “Fetch my bloody”
What it did? Took a shit and ran! Dead metaphor,
to be sure, but—so pertinent—I wish it were alive.
I love its frank pragmatism. It always takes care of
business before turning tail on whatever comes to
mind. It’s so not sicklied o’er with the pale cast of
Thought. Had Wittenberg taught Hamlet that saw
instead of Stoicism 101, Fencing 222—Claudius
would die at prayer in 3 / 3; and Ophelia, Laertes,
Gertrude, Polonius, the Sweet Prince himself, all
be alive in 5. Swordplay foiled (Olé!) by a rusty
Engineering springs to mind—then Bergson
on Le Rire. What do cockroaches & Malvolio
have in common? Chitin makes us laugh or
howl. Put either on a stage and click-clickety-
clack, they’ll tap-dance the aural essence of
Mechanical. That cosmic Malvolio, Satan,
draws laughter from Milton’s God. Dante
ends his Commedia with a universal smile.
Risibility can’t be repressed, even by deity.
Heaven and earth splitting sides—at lack of
The double-title poem has two five line stanzas.
The first title reads into the poem or states its opening motif.
The first word in the second stanza is italicized and identical to the first title.
At least one word in the last two lines of the second stanza rhymes with the exit title.
Double-titles embody both locality and “spooky action at a distance.”
Their aim is to treat language as both particle and wave.