by James Como (July 2016)

This rabbit hole is ours, we the guild

who write ‘sonnets’ with a fifteenth line,

and hip-hop a waltz to four-four time,

and while we’re at it we make tombs

for the untidy, tombs of wombs, for example,

and exalt the symmetries of good and evil,

simple-minded, seamless symmetries,



It’s all hard rock, metalic,

            no formality

            no normality, new or old,


                        now fungible


                        we get that kick from cocaine

            thrown in and all around: gynophallic.


Grunge, ISIS

            aid and abet,

– genies out of the bottle – huffing at Wall Street.

Imagine with Adolph, Josef, Pol, and Mao

there is no Heaven, thanks to Lennon.

                                    (both: plenty of room on the scow)

            And by the way,

            viva Che.


Pandemonium unquelled, 

In our cafes as we blog, happy smoke twirling,

lattes in hand, we buzz as we snack –

jogging to the smog of profs, occupations, galas

too. Bye bye Israel (BDS now!)

and hello NAMBLA (wanna bet?).

The center has not held, and the

echo chamber has our back.

                                    (edit the tape,

                                    call it a jape)

Sorry, what’s that you say?

No brother: our streets are all one way.


We are the brave, insouciantly bold

                                    (cosseted, creative).

Feelingly, we define as we please,

a marriage of true minds, willfully,

            for we are artists.

                                    (our lives matter)

Re-inventing the game,

we dine self-actualized, fulfilled

                                    (almost. In fact, we are dreamless,

                                    though we keep that closeted).


You know us. We’re not your big brothers,

but we the pigs still are more equal than others.

Narcissistic, solipsistic, nihilistic too,

exhibitionistic, self-righteous, we are the few,

the smug, the real one per cent, new masters

of the universe

                                    (for which, by the way, we get no blame),

            as the correct fall victim,

tossing cosmos while checking their brains, deluded,

into a lead-lined vault,

                                    (older are better longing to belong to a fault

                                    and plungible, just not yet.) 

Press the key and out it comes by rote,

And then – oh, we do love to gloat.

Otherwise? Demonized, black-listed – heretics aflame!


You, however, are the incorrect,

befuddled and lame:

Phobic this, anal that. You see?

We pull strings you get shame.

                                    (here that bang? now you whimper)

It is we who name the beasts, not Adam,

                                    (a victim of goddess Maia’s upheaval)

            awaiting his messiah primeval.


We are the tolerant – except for you.

Yeah, sure, we are the name-callers, but we also define:

a pipeline’s not worth a dime, my good

man, for we ordain the hotter clime.

Why, of all we can do you’ve had a mere taste:

you will yearn for that earlier land called ‘waste.’

            For we are the vulture

            rupturing culture, Jack,

            and now hear this . . . it’s only half-time.



James Como is the author, most recently, of The Tongue is Also a Fire: essays on conversation, rhetoric and the transmission of culture . . . and on C. S. Lewis (New English Review Press, 2015).


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