Today's poem is by Edward Mayes


We weren't there that fall in Rome,
476. Our terminus a quo for our middle
Age was much later, and ended with
Our terminus a quem, later too. Time

To take the hem down again, we'll
Tell someone with the sharpest
Pair of scissors, or take up the hem
Again we'll ask someone with

The quickest stitch. Although we
Ourselves have starched our crinoline
Collars, we've never wanted to do
Anything more exuberant than,

Let's say, the cancan. What we've
Missed, and by that we mean
What just missed us, what passed
Us, hand over the mouth to hide

The laugh, is not listlessness.
We're aware that the escutcheon
Has fallen off the keyhole on
The escritoire: the failure to not

Notice hasn't ever bored us. If we
Were oral traders, we would
Barter with those Beowulfs in our
Lives and fill all the mead halls

With ale. We hold the baskets
That we are, empty of errors.
We catch the rain in our mouths,
"The small rain down can rain" rain,

That comes again, while we're
Much more inwardly turbid,
With a tessitura only this big,
About the time it takes to cuss

Out the royal we, capitalize the i
In idiocy, those dipsticks that
Aren't evincing any oil. When
We finally took off caller id,

Everyone became an impersonator,
English ships on fire in 1588.
And we, escape artists of the hell-
Kind, burn like mayflies on lampposts,

A brief age of briefer joy, the brief
Furor of the morbid, and we
Carry this one last time, the only
Time it's heard said, the only

Time it's spoken in satin, or
It's sated, whether it's full to
The overflow or flowing some-
Where where we haven't yet gone.

Ealuscerwen: ale sharing or dispensing of ale or distress, deprivation of ale; to rub away, harm,
nightmare, mortgage; amaranth; caryatid, carotid, caller id; impersonator, radiator, detonator; push
it out of one's head, Athena out of Zeus; Zeus, jugular, zeugma, syzygy, union, earth and moon in a
straight line; syndrome, running to the hippodrome; error, furor, horror, terror, mirror; reign/rain of
terror, terrifying rain; feer, to scoff; testudo, warfare, Roman movable shields; tessitura, range of a vo-
cal part; the wiener dog named Queenie; bid, forbid, morbid, rabid, turbid; Beowulf, 3182 lines; that
which is said once and once only, the only instance; cuss out the royal we; escape artist; oral traders;
narration; s/narration: the Italian s before a word to make it negative; non-line; throw a line, throw-
away line; line of fire; English ships on fire sailing into Spanish galleons; that dipstick ain't showing
no oil; I have a chest and I wear drawers but I am not a chest of drawers; canard: to sell someone half
a duck

Copyright © 2012 Edward Mayes All rights reserved
from Crazyhorse
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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