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Poetry #398
(published September 4, 2008)
Twentieth Century Boy
by Noah Berlatsky
I took the road less traveled and ran into a ditch.
Robert Frost was there already so I fucked that bitch,
on and on, 'cause my genius is for lovin';
He whinnied, "Are you Yeats or is this the second coming?"
Santorum spread like wisdom
Wisdom spread like kitsch,
I pounded him like Ezra till his modern jism twitched.
A canto is a canto but my manwhich is for real;
I manipulate my Mandarin so hard your cheeks'll peel,
and my daring manifesto bears the Manischewitz seal.
No ideas but in things,
no things but in your butt,
abstractions are distractions from the traction of my nuts,
and the friction of my diction gets me deeper in the cut —
"Is this your lost generation?"
"Nah, my shit is just backed up."
You've got to keep it regular; you need a complex structure,
and my foot-long has the footnotes that'll help your bowels rupture.
My allusions are protrusions that pry you ever wider;
I'm going to show you fear in a handful of fiber.
You're the casement; I'm the cannon;
you're the system; I'm the thinker;
you know it cause you feel aesthetic movements in your sphincter.
The pains increase, you sue for peace, call in the League of Nations;
You're whinin' cause you say I owe your hymen reparations.
You got a pact? It's wack.
I'm not half through being fractious;
just look the other way and I'll slip up like parapraxis,
And there are you,
the six millionth Jew.
impaled upon my axis.
W.H. was an odd one, Wallace was an even
I'm going to show you thirteen ways of looking at my semen.
My consciousness is streamin',
My epiphanies are peein',
Just a taste of my waste and your life'll lose its meanin'.
You think April's cruel? Then watch this mother breedin'!
"The horror! The horror!" My Kurtz steams up your Congo.
Your inferior interior is throbbing like a bongo.
My craft begins to quicken.
My Lord Jim's in your riggin'.
More dusky booty than Gauguin — I'm an atavistic brigand.
I stole the plums out of your icebox —
my thumbs up in that nice box —
my wheelbarrow's in your chicken as Depends fall on the sidewalk.
My free verse is plain and simple like a lumpen rake or hoe.
This No Man's Land is fallow and I'm waiting like Godot,
for your skanky bum to put out with the existential flow.
You're farting like you're Sartre; there's no exit to the loo;
the atmosphere gets plaguey like I'm sittin' by Camus.
You think that I'm dissuaded? Hell, filth is my milieu —
a clean crack is the one crack I do not go gentle through:
Let's all rage, rage, against the wiping up of poo.
The fragrant asses of the masses fire up my five-year plan;
I'm building up my industry in your Uzbekistan;
I'm developin' like Oedipus all randy in his pram:
I put the sex back into complex and the oral in exam.
Finnegan's steak is the text and I'm ready to cram:
this is a portrait of the artist as a battering ram!

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