Jan/Feb 1999 Poetry

Three Poems

by Stephen Bett


Vapor Trail
(for Mark)

In 1811 Shelley pronounced the Eucharist
cannibalistic and turned to a half-baked
vegetarian regime and full-flight doppelgangers.

Now it's the real late 20th C and when
one says, with filliping smirk, "Eat Me"
one is not talking even post-millennial

but means while you digest that possibility
your humanoid protein wafer has already
levitated the proverbial coop trailing fin-de-siecle
vapors of aromatherapy and the auto-romance of
strategically pierced body parts.


Summer Lessons, in the Rainforest

Even on holiday, surrounded by west coast rainforest,
we can't escape the latest in skill-testing bi-cultural

                   For sensitivity to the non-inclusive interests
of local tree-hugger and aboriginal spiritualist
our tourist pamphlet offers the totemic import
of "culturally modified trees"

                                       while to alert us to anti-
social practices in the semi-wild, the radio news warns
of a 59-year-old apprehended for pleasuring himself
against a cemetery tombstone--- "offering indignities
to a monument marking human remains"

                                                      The lesson here,
apart from a kind of old- and mid-growth lushness
of euphemism, appears to indicate that cultural
adaptation can be as simple as handing a few well-
placed whacks, on tree or stump, as a preferred way
to ward off, or repulse, all manner of evil spirit
whether emanating from sky or from under ground


Another Knock-Off

"the language, the language!" --WCW

This is just to say
I have tasted
all your knock-

Dorn (both)
Berkson (w/ Fagin & Padgett)
and Webb

and which
you left lying
under wraps

Forgive me
they still
knock me out
what poems
you found
in that open


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