• a.p. duvall

before i sleep / rhinoceros stew

two cigarettes later and here they come

those Aeneid reading librarians

who guffawed when I said the greatest poet was

Lightin’ Hopkins

they tried to school me in the platitudes that

scholars give

they give them with their mouth

like sexually transmitted diseases

that's what the english department teaches

I let the Marxist pimping co-eds dance on my lawn

until the police came and then I let the police dance too

I watched from my window the entire time

I don’t care much for dancing

my wife bought groceries from the water slide operator

yellow apples and habanero bananas

told her I didn’t really care much

and two cigarettes later I fell asleep and forgot this day


one deep breath and

twenty thousand cigarettes later

i’m sitting there wondering what to do

with my bowl of crocodile soup.

the misses bought it from that

bastard grocer

the former water slide operator and habenero dealer-

and I have been complaining about

the repetition of her meals-

so what am I to do?

the librarians from before have all shunned me now

for burning the lead mistress’ handwritten volume

of maudlin-political poetry and telling them all to go home

and watch some god damn

Charlie Chaplin.

the cops have stopped coming around

now that I’ve cleaned up my act

and to be honest the drives around town

without them in my mirrors have gotten a bit lonely

the co-eds who used to dance

on all the lawns of this street and

once all beautifully firm Marxists

sold their souls to become capitalists

… heard they made a good profit

but there I am again

twenty thousand cigarettes later

knowing what i must do.

swallowing a spoonful of amphibian

i answer the misses and tell her:

“what the hell, next time why not make rhinoceros stew?”


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