There’s shouting by the stove (it’s Plath & Hughes)
as Wystan wanders off without his shoes
and Whitman picks the Cheetos off his beard.
The Larkin-Ginsberg chat is getting weird,
for after countless hours they have found
bizarre pornography is common ground.
Old Emily is not
As prim as billed—
When Dylan finds her bra-hooks—
She is thrilled.
Poe strokes his bird; Pound yawps that it’s a pity
Eliot can’t sleep without his kitty.
Rimbaud’s on eBay searching for a zebra
while sneering, “Oui, a cheemp can write vers libre!”
The Doctor’s soggy chickens start to smell
and Stevens has insurance he must sell.
The readings are spectacular, I know,
but is there any way to make them go?
A.M. Juster writes: “This was first published in The Barefoot Muse. It looks like I wrote it in late 2008, it was a fairly prolific period for me and I was a little distracted because I was running the Social Security Administration. (Under his unpoetic name, Michael J. Astrue. – Editor). I don’t remember now the impetus for writing it, but I did enjoy taking these poetry idols off their pedestals and making them more human for a few laughs. This was about the time that I finished my translation of Horace’s Satires in something like 1850 heroic couplets, so I was much more comfortable with the form than I would have been five years before. I think the imitation of Emily Dickinson’s form is an amusing touch for the reader, although it is undetected when I read it because it remains in rhymed iambic pentameter.”
A.M. Juster’s poems and translations have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Hudson Review and other journals. His tenth book is Wonder and Wrath (Paul Dry Books 2020) and his next book will be a translation of Petrarch’s Canzoniere, which W.W. Norton will release in early 2024. He also overtweets about formal poetry @amjuster.
Photo: “me drunk & chris’_MMVI” by andronicusmax is licensed under CC BY 2.0.