Senryu Interuptus Nearing completion, Bartleby hesitated. He preferred not to.
Gibbertalky I wonder, if you would read gibberish all day, do you think it would help understand what I say? Or maybe this question will scare you away so your mind and your wits won’t be led far astray. Could it be that perhaps I don’t write the right way, once it’s filtered and jiltered by matter so gray that it leaks through the pores on the top of my knot (you can see where it left, ’cause it leaves a gray spot), then proceeds from my pen to the page in a jot? This pen, with the mind of a wild Hottentot, is like Bartleby’s quill (which he used quite a lot), which told him to tell them that he’d “Rather not,” for you see, it was never his choice after all, but befell from an inkwell that had a bad squall and wasn’t quite ready to feed the quill’s call so the quill, rather dry and not feeling so spry, had decided the next task he’d have to pass by, but Bart took the brunt of his terse oratory and now he’s well known, though for dubious glory. It’s clear, as you see, I’ve lost track of my story and wandered off course, like Mark Twain’s repertory— “Old grandfather’s ram” once met Omar Khayyam … But yes, now I jest, so I won’t write the rest for I’m welcomed here at the behest of my guest which is you—and it’s true, you’ve far better to do. But perhaps you have found that it’s best to stop reading— advice heard before when your mind began pleading to cease and desist and to shun all this bleating: “Avert both your eyes. Put this nonsense away! Continue at risk of a mind gang agley.” But it seems you’ve avoided your still, inner voice as your mischievous muses cry out, “There’s no choice!” for the power of rhyme which oft’ comes into play has beguiled you to read all this gibberish today.
Ken Gosse generally writes short, rhymed verse using whimsy and humor in traditional meters. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, since then in The Offbeat, Pure Slush, Parody, Home Planet News Online, Sparks of Calliope and others. Raised in the Chicago, Illinois, suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years.