Max Gutmann


From Don Juan Finish’d

We Each Have Got Our Bliss

To me, of course, my labour doesn’t seem a
Huge riddle; Byron’s book’s an inspiration.
This wondrous stanza form, ottava rima,
Is nothing if it’s not a grand temptation
To try some verbal acrobatics: “See, Ma?
No hands!” And then it lacks an end—Damnation,
The question’s not why I would try the game:
Why doesn’t every reader do the same?

Do diners breathe a scent of tortellini
With no desire to taste a little bit?
Do boys who see a girl in a bikini
Not wish that they could see her out of it?
Do critics screen a movie by Fellini
And call it neither masterful nor shit?
Do teens pass by a newly painted wall
Without the urge to shake a can and scrawl?

Do soldiers hear another order grunted
Without the dream of grunting back just one?
Do wives whose hopes of happiness are blunted
Not wonder, “Can I still become a nun?”
Do editors of magazines, confronted
With poetry that tries to have some fun
Not wish that they could tear the page to shreds?
These scraps don’t meet our needs at present.—Eds.

Ada Lovelace

The girl Lord Byron parted from forever,
Ada, sole daughter of his home and heart
(The line is his), grew up to be quite clever.
She worked with Babbage at computing’s start,
And wrote a detailed program, which had never
Been done before. The first to see how far ‘t
Could go, she saw in her imagination
Computing go beyond mere calculation.

This wonder, Ada Lovelace, first girl geek,
Was tutor’d as a child in math and science,
Which at that time for girls was near unique.
Her mother rear’d her this way in defiance
Of custom, fearing outcomes rather bleak
If Ada were to grow with a reliance
On art and culture. She was keen to see
That Ada would be nothing like Lord B.

Max Gutmann has contributed to dozens of publications including New Statesman, Able Muse, Cricket, and Light. His plays have appeared throughout the U.S. and have been well-reviewed (see His book There Was a Young Girl from Verona sold several copies.