more of the greatest american poetry

Ok, so, next we have Yusef Komunyakaa.  I love his book: Talking Dirty to the Gods.  He takes all these usual things and makes them divine in four quatrains each.  I once talked a guy into making out by reading Lust to him.  So that’s on the list.  And so is Ode to the maggot, which I will now give you.

Brother of the bowfly
& godhead, you work magic
over battlefields,
in slabs of pork

& flophouses.  Yes, you
go to the root of all things.
You are sound & mathematical.
Jesus Christ, you’re merciless

with the truth.  Ontological & lustrous,
you cast spells on beggars & kings
behind the stone door of Caesar’s tomb
or split trench in a field of ragweed.

No decree or creed can outlaw you
as you take every living thing apart.  Little
master of earth, no one gets to heaven
without going through you first.

Great, huh?  Who else can do all that for a maggot.  His poem Salt from Neon Vernacularis also great.  In it, he shows how the individual is ignored in favor a social norm of racism and classism.  a little expert:

Her mother moved so close
to the yardman we thought they’d kiss.
What the children of housekeepers
& handymen knew was enough
to stop biological clocks,
& it’s hard not to walk over
& mention how her grandmother
killed her idiot son
& salted him down
in a wooden barrel.

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Filed under literature, Musings, poetry, Uncategorized

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