Friday, April 1, 2011

Let the Poetry Month festivities begin! [fanfare]

In what has become a minor tradition here in the land of Green Thoughts, I'll try to post a poem a day during the month of April. In the crunch of the semester, I'm always happy to have the gracious distraction of poetry month, in part because this little 30-day anthology project of mine is a nice way for me to focus on pure pleasure.

Here's one that recently appeared in Slate. You can go listen to a reading of it on the Slate site, or just enjoy it in silence here, though it's not so much a silent poem.

The Rooster King: East of the Western Fence

And lo, the Rooster King, how he slums like the Lord!
And lo, the Rooster King, how he chases from these vacant lots the lesser, more domestic, cocks!
And lo, the Rooster King, how he spreads, as gasoline,
His wings, O, stained-glass butterfly!

Even half-blind, his right eye burned
Out with a cigarette, is he not the rocket and the rocket
Launcher? Does he not walk, as Caesar, robed
In lightning, his tail feathers,

Phosphorescent, flinging out
Like tracer fire? He is Fat Sam, Lord of the Gorgeous, the Ayatollah of Osceola,
The Phoenix of the Vinegar Works! He throbs
Like a cut throat and doesn't

Bleed. And when he bleeds,
He bleeds whiskey—Fighting Cock: 103-proof Kentucky Straight
Bourbon—the light of the world.
The light of the world:

Ruined. Magnificent; ferocious, gorgeous—
So what? You think he's afraid of fire? He wasn't born; he was forged.
He's the napalm love letter, the sweetheart
Carpet bomb, the 1967 Pontiac

With a straight-6, single-barrel
Boot in the face. No ram unto
The shackle, this bantam assassin, his death-red hackles flaring like a funeral pyre.
He's the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Wound 'round with barbed wire, the crucified
Christ tattooed on the back of a contract killer.

Lo and


--Jay Hopler


squadratomagico said...

Perfect start to the month! So sexy ~ I love it!

Kristen said...


*reels with delight*

Lisa B. said...

is he not the rocket and the rocket


Blue Cheese said...

Still one of my favorites.