George Starbuck


On Reading John Hollander’s Poem “Breadth. Circle. Desert. Monarch. Month. Wisdom. (for which there are no rhymes)“

“Breadth. Circle. Desert. Monarch. Month. Wisdom. (for which there are
No rhymes)” was just the title, and I only read that far.

That was because I felt like some old agent-of-the-Czar
When a new plotter swims within the scope of his exertions,
And I was scared this hothead would start hedging his assertions
Before I had him dead-to-rights. (A Chekan’ s or a SMERSHian’ s
Lot, you know, is not an happy one.) He might retract.


Virgin, sappy, gorgeous, the right-now
Flutters its huge prosthetics at us, flung
To the spotlights, frozen in motion, center-ice.

And the first rows, shaken with an afterslice
That’ s bowled them into their seats like a big wet ciao.
O daffy panoply O rare device

O flashing leg-iron at a whopping price
Whipping us into ecstasies and how,
The whole galumphing Garden swung and swung,

To a Real Standup Piece of Painted Crockery

I wonder what the Greeks kept in these comicstrip canisters.
Plums, milletseed, incense, henna, oregano.
Speak to me, trove. Tell me you contained dried smoked tongue once.
Or a sorcerer or a cosmetologist’ s powders and unguents.
And when John Keats looked at you in a collection of pots
it was poetry at first sight: quotable beautiful
teleological concatenations of thoughts.

Translations from the English

Pigfoot (with Aces Under) Passes

The heat’ s on the hooker.
Drop’ s on the lam.
Cops got Booker.
Who give a damn?

The Kid’ s been had
But not me yet.
Dad’ s in his pad.
No sweat.

Margaret Are You Drug

Cool it Mag.
Sure it’ s a drag
With all that green flaked out.
Next thing you know they’ ll be changing the color of bread.