August 6, 2013

Richard Prins



blimps above
the walrus shade.
Jesus rides an elephant
away from Calvary. Sparrows
learn to fly, pitched from Ganesh’s
trunk. Muhammad’s mastering the art
of a blowhole ablution. Wildebeest chuckling
at Moses’ wimpy forty days. Caesar’s gassy after sharing
unripe mangos with a chimp. Marx is munching grass. Lost a bet
with Nebuchadnezzar. Buddha chucks some birdseed, lectures the pigeons
about desire. Ra folds after a plague of platypusses; his firstborn’s grown a beak.


Twin walruses sharpen their tusks on the dunes.
Buddha’s navel a lager spout.
Only a fool would chug the end of desire.

The wildebeest flies upside-down, jousting all the stars.
Muhammad wears a tunic of sequin nipples.
Only a fool would record their voluminous lactations.

Pigeons crap on godhead an eggwhite fedora.
Jesus plucks thorns out of his prom night eyelashes.
Only a fool would unbutton that snarlyhaired tuxedo.

A chimp is licking termites off a shark tooth comb.
Elvis gets rich off a lunch money racket.
Only a fool would wipe a toilet down with mutton chops.

The elephants windmill their snouts, inhaling each tornado.
Ganesh snorts a boogaloo on his nostril trumpet.
Only a fool would scrape that flugelhorn free of barnacles.

Rows & rows of whale vertebrae. Time to build a railroad.
Ra smells pyramids with every beard-stroke.
Only a fool would refuse a chance to mummify the queen.

Sparrows ford rhinoceri across the fishleaping river.
Marx redistributes chin hair to all the eunuchs.
Only a fool would alienate this harem’s labor.

The platypus is still sloshed and dancing by herself.
Caesar skiffs his gondola across the sky.
Only a fool like Cleopatra would try to flag him down.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
Tribute to Speculative Poetry

[download audio]


Richard Prins: “When I was eighteen years old I fell asleep on a late-night train and woke with my jacket pocket knifed open, the pocket that always held my wallet. After a few desperate grabs, I found my wallet transplanted to my pants pocket, no money missing. A napkin, however, with two poems inked on it, had been extracted. I’ve been mugged twice since then, once in Brooklyn, once in Dar es Salaam, and still curse myself—why didn’t I think to recite a poem to my attackers?” (web)

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