Gulliver's Travels

by Denise Duhamel & Maureen Seaton


Book One

Gullible Gulliver hadn't a clue- 
those gossamer threads and tiny arrows 
pricked his skin like the hungriest sparrows. 
Lilliputian cows were ground into burgers 
smaller than dimes and nickels, the emperor's 
family jewels. Gulliver only pretended 
he liked rope-dancing and used threads 
of Garter-blue, Bath-red and Thistle-green 
to weave a giant cat's-eye trampoline, 
friend of any ugly king. Big Endians 
enjoyed freedom-of-egg-eating in 
Belfuscu, the omelette capital of yolk- 
torn Europe, little cracked kingdom of just folks, 
the giant sailing away in the shoe.

Book Two

The BO of giants was too much 
for a tiny human nose. The king's pores, 
dank cavernous excavations, floored 
Gulliver. The king's stray hairs threatened to hang 
him or strangle him in sleep. Brobdingnag 
pot holes were canyons. A piece of buttered toast 
could flatten an Englishman boasting 
of gunpowder and the plusses of slavery. 
When Gulliver went home, British bravery 
was a sham. Gulliver's neighbors were midgets. 
In fact, Englishmen were toys or gadgets 
in the Brobdingnagian's gentle hands. 
Gulliver fell into the king's fate line, ran 
for years, the giant barely aware of his touch.

Book Three

The flying island of math and music 
hung like a huge blue cloud, a treble clef, 
a pi in the sky arousing berefit 
Gulliver to new scatological hope. 
Cucumber sunlight and hairless sheep groped 
his imagination like a cheating wife. 
Of all the awesome practices he'd denied 
himself, sex was the one he most ignored. 
He fantasized about the whole-note pork 
and yams chopped into plus signs in Laputa, 
servants smacking masters out of comas 
with bladders tied to the tips of switches. 
All Laputans lived tax free, bewitching 
the planets--ethereal, mystic.

Book Four

If Yahoos in England castrated Houyhnhnms 
why couldn't Houyhnhnms castrate Yahoos? 
Before horses were made into glue, 
when God spoke Dutch and German and Spanish, 
and half-horse half-human centaurs vanished 
into mythos never to spawn again, 
Houyhnhnms didn't know greed or temptation. 
"What's a lie again?" they asked, their equine eyes 
wide or narrow with innocence, an icy- 
cold reason like Adam saying no, no, no 
to the luscious Yahoo who didn't wear clothes 
and jiggled her hips. Gulliver hid 
behind a fortunate fig leaf and trembled, 
grabbed his pants as she shouted, "What a man!"

 

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