Ode to the Two Panama Canals


                “Gatun Lake’s level is currently at 81.75 feet, the lowest
                  on record for this time of the year,” the advisory said.
                                                              – New York Times

“For Man, Lacan explains, a nap is a Plan,”
declaimed le Docteur, smiling through his mouth-
toupée.  Martinelli fidgeted; he frowned.
“But an Alp is not a Map,” le Docteur (retrieving
his bone) barked, pleasantly.  “Lacan, Lacan!”
Martinelli complained – “Enough fitful conceiving!
We have no Alps in Panama!  This is South
America!”  The doctor’s office drowned
in sunset crimson (penthouse easy chair, divan).

Stumps of cypress peeked from Gatun Lake.
Rainfall was low; the people’s lips were dry.
In Panama City, Authority was out of town.
Tugs waddled tentatively through the locks,
testing the new routines.  “The Bohemian Rake
is proving useful in emergencies – shocks
to the system are to be expected” (wry
humor from our seasoned pilots).  Drown
Your Sorrows @GuppyCabana!  Salt Milkshake?

The new neo-Panamax behemoths
struggle on the uphill climb.  Old boats
were designed for any weather; these lunks
were built to be actually larger than the ocean.
It can make for difficulties.  National cloths
(flags) end up bumping into low-flying wren;
sailors die of old age crossing from floats
to bunks; giant ship fright syndrome (GSFS)
– a mode of Lacanian paramania-sloth 

mothballs many experienced seamen, before
they are even old enough to Man Overboard.
Just today, a Chinese super-blob christened
Large Ship (Tortugan colors) scraped itself
so bald on the starboard knee as to require
a complete soap-down (Polish Every Shelf!)
and as of today, two weeks later, a hoard
of destructions keeps its crew from Darien
for another week (at least until today).  Scare

stories like these spook international investors.
They collect in London, near Waterloo Station,
& count the oil bubbles that collect like flies
around the rainbows of the bubbles in the oil
that collects like gas bubbles from a Morse
Code info engine (old-fashioned tinfoil
type w/pink elephant-cake, called Mammon
– used in films such as Oil Bubble Rainbows,
starring Omar Sharif).  “Lacan – he bores

me!” complained Martinelli.  “I need stuff!”
His dream-flock of advisors waited, meek
as a collection of hubcaps, shining badly
in their eerie suite.  “We have the money,
your Excellency,” offered Twinglit, bluff
as ever, like the Wet Cliffs of Dover, knee
by jowl with his owlish advisor, Scuttley
Shipley of Scotland.  “What’s wrong, honey?”
inquired his wife, Toeniall Delendo-Muff.

“Is the yacht okay?”  Bobs her bouffant
toward the windswept film poster, from
Cuernavaca.  Under the shadow of the Liner
(Queen Elizabeth of Bath XIV) she files
herself into a small pile of clippings (faint
headlines featuring her husband as Crocodile’s
Crumbcake) and begins to tidy up some
leftovers from the funeral (this was her
finest hour, not Martinelli’s).  Old Paint

was the name of her favorite pony; the whole
City of Panama loved that showhorse filly
like their own flanks.  You could pour concrete
around all four of her dainty hooves
and she would still outrun every international
vessel you could flip her way, because
the concrete we bought was an absolutely
incredible feat of quadruple-booking, complete
with sub-microscopic fractures (intentional)

which will allow Toniall’s beloved steed
to trot alongside even the magnum monsters
of the deep with no fear of plunging suddenly
due to earthquake or stock quirk through
muddy lips of Gatun Lake – Life’s high meed
being nothing to the Bible (many tickle you
for fun, but sin be not in our thesaurus).
Camels will thread needles, Martinelli –
but not you Pacific.  Try Panama weed.


*Note : this poem occurred after collision with an article by Walt Bogdanich, Jacqueline Williams and Graciela Méndez, which appeared in the New York Times on Thursday June 23, 2016.

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