I-A. Under the Doormat

A space between the in- and outer life,
Apart from the chaos of which it’s rife,
A stately vestibule in which to doff
Your coat and current attitude, a cough;
Adjust your look in gilded mirror dere,
Flick at a flap or all-man’s part the hair,
Shrugging off the coating recently worn
To trade it for the one in which you’re born
Not naked liter’ly but mentally,
Stripped raw, to speak less sentimentally,

Perhaps to apprehend another mind
Less apparent to the rat-racing kind
Who don’t pursue an object less it grants
Immediate rewards to their finance
But may enjoy the tale of Archer heir
Beginning at that scroll-worked door right there
And previewed by elegant VESTIBULE
Whose carved lintel reads, “Dogs drool and cats rule,”
A hint at comic tone artist Antoine
Inherits from Archer with all his funds.

The mystery of Bitter Root Manor,
Its denizens, the cuckoo ones and saner,
Will make the pleasant subject of your visit,
And that’s not a bad thing, really, is it?
Only attend as you go room to room,
Their spirited ruckus or doom and gloom,
To riddle me this, Batman, if you will,
Some arcane knowledge, call it trivial,
Of 60s culture iconography:
The Beatles, Bond, and Batman dynasties.

This house is something like a labyrinth
Possessing one to push a string in ith,
Leading inexorably through a maze
Of the Archer family’s good old days,
Memorabilia in the broad sense:
Orgies of mem'ry stored to recompense
This getting old and things not done in time,
To beat effects of crawling bugs and lime.
Enter you the random distribution--
Stars and stairs: a homemade constellation.

For what foremost does any house nurture,
Along with the knick-knacks and furniture,
But the private jokes and pop history
Of the residents’ daily industry?
The pictures in frames and golden placards,
The vinyl discs we even called “records,”
Hopefully shelves of books with tell-all spines
Revealing taste for the physical kinds
(Disintegrating in Facebook windows,
Those blinking pixels and scrolling arrows).

The Mystery of Bitter Root Manor is an interactive satirical picture book for grown-ups.

"The Floor of the Sistine Chapel,"" National Lampoon, 1975.


The Mystery of Bitter Root Manor is an interactive satirical picture book for grown-ups.