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Leo Briones

Aarghs Poetica!

(for Tina)

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They are the too-smug pirates of pseudo-intellectualism
who rub the perfectly coarse, mud-stained words of poetry
to the nub, to the last grain of sand—
still the poem's not done yet,
still it's in need of another email to the Ivy league
or a swim across the stormy river to Cambridge
or perhaps they need to steal a Ouija Board,
summon the spirits of Homer and Shelley,
insist that the pentameter rhymes with the iambic.

Least we whine until weary, we have been warned—
the wild-eyed, bearded Ginsberg
sane enough to slam his fist,
"First thought, best thought."

After all, what if Zen changed its mind and said,
"Wait a second the moment will soon be here, then we can live"
or Jesus announced from Olives, "Blessed are those that wait,
eventually the muse will come your way."

Or think of Bukowski, Pepto Bismol in hand, waving off the low lives,
waiting for his stomach to get past the puking stage
and only then to blurt, "Son of a Bitch, I forgot the whole fuckin poem!"

Yes, like mowing your lawn until there is only dirt left,
or washing the no-stick pan until it's the too-sticky pan.
There is a common way to grind genius in the garbage disposal
like chicken bones, to butcher innocence
like a mother putting lipstick on her two year old.

new poet, young poet, love poet, layman poet, Mom poet,
paper bag poet, dead poet, Colman poet, activist poet, secret poet—
they will get into your dreams like Freddie Krueger on acid,
like your arrogant college professor with nothing better to do than
masturbate to pictures of his high school sweetheart who dumped him thirty- years ago,
like the Stassi claiming Othello was full of subversion,
or the drunk white trash Dad who slaps his kid's faces
then tells them they'll never amount to nothing.

Yes, they'll get you and when you're dead and ready to be buried
they'll toss the pen and paper of every poem you've ever written into your coffin,
say with their stiff upper lip quivering,
"If only they would have edited."

Radio Free Russia

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If there is such a thing as Glasnost
for fingers pecking a column left headline

or Perestroika for the beet farmer
who wakes before the rooster
and falls asleep to a vodka moon

then how can we explain

In leather boots and hot pants.
Hair as blond as wheat, eyes as blue
as cobalt, curves like naked bronze—

only twenty grand
and she's yours?

This all leads one
to think if Tolstoy wrote
Master and Man version 2.0

Would Vasili
save Svetlana from this
blizzard of human cupidity?

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