Institutional Constitutional



In the halls of the museum

Things are not what they seem.

Appearances can be most deceiving.

If visitors come walking out

With their heads turned round about,

They may be entering, not leaving.

They can slide along the walls

Muttering soft plaintive calls

For lost children, mothers, cousins, aunts.

Because their torn and worn suspenders

Make them mighty poor contenders,

They shuffle by in descending pants.

But no fear deters, inhibits

When they peer at the exhibits

Of neolithic unspecific tools,

Of diadems of molded plastic,

Varicolored bright, elastic

Mounted on a pair of stuffed mules.

The whimper as they stumble;

Underneath their breath they mumble

Of suppers back at home gone icy cold.

Their feet are throbbing painfully

While they gaze gainfully

At toilet bowls filigreed in gold.

The guards keep them all in lines

With pointed fingers, painted signs,

Educating masses in esoteric ways

So they can, with open candor,

Look upon a lunar lander,

A Grecian urn, A Roman vase,

And contemplate its finer points,

Where it’s stiff, or has its joints

And discuss aesthetics endlessly for days.

Meanwhile, sister, with a blister,

Wandered off before they missed her.

Although they looked, they searched for her in vain.

A cannibal tour ate her

When she looked for the curator,

But they did it kindly, without pain.

Although their meal was hasty,

They proclaimed her juicy, tasty,

And carefully folded garments and her shoes.

They arranged themselves on benches,

Both the men and all the wenches

And retired for a peaceful snooze.

The parents, panicked, frantic,

Bellowed in a frightful antic

At the section for the lost and found.

Emotions there were placated.

When an executive donated

A pocket watch he had freshly wound.

More useful than a naughty daughter,

Gratefully they thought it oughter

Be more economical to keep.

They admired its construction,

Ceased their noise, stopped their ruction

And left for home without another peep.

But the halls are milling still

That the eager minds can fill

With intelligence from special science.

Biologic dioramas

Illustrate , in all its dramas,

Life on Earth in compliance and defiance.

Here’s a family of yeti

Munching down boiled spaghetti,

Herds of antelope on subway trains,

Gaily dressed wild raccoons

Playing baseball with baboons,

Giraffes with flutes tooting soft refrains.

Neither archaeology

Nor obscure theology

Is neglected in the halls of history.

A great wazir of King Tut’s,

A fussy old Egyptian putz,

Is portrayed in all his mystery.

He’s preparing several mummies

By inscribing on their tummies

Recipes for cookies and for fudge.

In the land of the dead

They will be sweetly fed.

He gives post mortal cuisine quite a nudge.

At the hall of dinosaurs

The kids, in glee, throw apple cores

To see if they can land them in the skull,

While the guards, high on pot,

Sometimes try a random shot

But mostly find the game deadly dull.

Meanwhile there’s a session

For a class in bone profession

To teach the average guy to make at home

From bottles, cans, and twisted wire

Shaped with glue and roaring fire,

Ingeniously adhered with plastic foam,

An articulated diplodocus

To titillate and shock us

When it sips soup in our kitchen.

Culture due to arcane science

Requires strict, strange compliance

Allowing it to edify, enrichen.

At the planetarium

Enraptured people stiffly squat

Attentive to a tiny spot

Or several, when guides vary’em

To simulate celestial stars,

Sometimes Mercury or Mars,

Or , on occasion, if they goof,

A dot as brilliant as a laser

That certainly should be a quasar,

But pans out as a rainhole in the roof.

Now the closing time has come.

With a large brass band and drum

Lead the patrons out the front door.

Festooned with postcards, souvenirs,

And chewing gum stuck to their rears,

The crowds are stuffed up to the gills with lore.

They can discuss, without friction,

Themes and dreams of science fiction

And, at parties, be a monstrous bore.







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