Poetry: Ornithological, Hunt Homage, and Bard

Krisak

Read More: A brief interview with Len Krisak

Ornithological

Two blue-skulled pipsqueaks not a mouthful each
Stand tête-à-tête-ish, sucked into a fight
Out on the thunder storm-soaked, muck-slaked yard.
Within the shadow of a hedgerow’s pleach,
They struggle for a worm, as well they might—
It’s life. Their mess-meat finds the going hard.
The brace of them are turning bill-to-bill,
Knife-fighter-like, and scribing in the mud-
Sloshed grass a circle spun off from their kill.
Pinwheels for thirty seconds, but no blood.
And no clear way to judge who’s won the prize,
As they break off abruptly for the skies,
Darting in headlong, torn-apart directions.
It would appear the worm has no objections.

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HUNT HOMAGE

Connie fucked me when she saw me
Dying in a sexless pairing.
Time, you prick, you mean to draw me
Every lesson in despairing.

Say I’m senile, say I’m mad. […]


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Bard

Listen to the lines as they are stuttered—
Blank verse measures that were never taken.
Readers who are not have left us shaken
By the crippled, fractured phrases uttered.
One by one the words are hemmed and hawed,
The iambs blunder as the spondees stumble.
Frightened speakers stammer, halt, and mumble,
All because they would construe aloud.
Syllables and figures switch, transposed
(Even phonemes). Tongues tie and are twisted;
Creaky jaws drop open and are closed.
We who sit and hear Shakespeare resisted,
Ponder poetry that’s eaten raw, […]


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Len Krisak’s work has appeared in Agni, The Antioch Review, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson Review, PN Review, Raritan, The Southwest Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and elsewhere. His books include The Carmina of Catullus (Carcanet Press, 2014) Afterimage (Measure Press, 2014) Rilke: New Poems (Boydell & Brewer, 2015) Ovid’s Erotic Poems (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) and Virgil’s Eclogues (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010) He is the recipient of the Richard Wilbur Prize, Robert Frost Prize, Robert Penn Warren Prize, and is a four-time champion on Jeopardy!