Marginalia and Aisle
My marginalia’s sentimental and fey,
Gypsy-spelt, and dagger’d to
Improbable rows of ibids, exclamatory,
Amateur, scorn’d. Addressed to you
Out there, fiddler and deft
Almanacker of the elegiac gone.
Oh the ache and sustenance
Of ache, what makes th’hearty
Soprano’s satin’d nipples stiffen up
To buttons mid-aria, admitting
The clamor and succor of
Lack. It’s lack th’octagonal stick
Of the mad-saw’d violin
Hides, a pernambuco beaut’ with
Silver-mount’d ebony frog, avowedly
Invisible here in the aisle.
Xylophone and Dunce
Turn a rub-color’d eye,
‘Such a waggish leering it
Works in all your horribles.’
Nigh is th’impenetrable buckler of
‘Insolency Rote and snarlish,’ wrought
Butt of cheer-raked quarrel,
In ‘formall noddy’ to puffery
Careerist. Oh the drear of
My dissemblance bangs a murtherous
Xylophone, ‘theen I besseche thee.’
You in the baffle-hat
And plush fatigues, tired of
Pulling th’impartial rabbit out, that
Nutmeg-ear’d one. Blake, Wm.:
‘I am hid.’ Dunce of
Bliss unsung, idiot of rose.
Architecture and Mouth
Carnal bridges offer one out,
A satisfying architecture, humping up
To the prospect, semi-wild,
Of looking down. Green stalks
Green to recoup continual greening,
Stalks a fat weed-wrack’d
Mouth to burble out dark
Arpeggios of gaping predatory loss.
Loss that eats loss—sex-
Slung feasibles of hungry intent.
So sound errs to lend
Repetition its holy score: I
Rinse myself of any too-
Godly freight, and fail to
Hush my own heart’s blood
That down unbent flowers flows.
Jetty and Yellowlegs
Stellar brooding in the brine-
Lanes. World call’d ‘a Bote,
Toss’d it is, over &
Onto’ troublous nethery foregone waves.
Dogging the jetty it is.
Devotee of the trawler-dump,
Cur of the opalescent trough
Askitter. Up-down amongst fisher-
Folk, a dean of disjumble.
Oh the doubleness does sur-
Round us & meeter be
It to name than to
Abode the doughty spits of
Cloudwork brandishing th’ycleptic where two
Lesser yellowlegs lift off two-
Noted, he sd, you, you.
John Latta’s first collection, Rubbing Torsos, appeared in 1979 (Ithaca House). A new collection, Breeze, winner of the 2003 Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, was published in 2002 by the University of Notre Dame Press. Other recent poems are in or forthcoming in The Germ, Leviathan Quarterly, Southwest Review, Verse, Crowd, LIT, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere.