blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1


R. H. W. DILLARD  |  From What Is Owed the Dead


Regnant, your “magistracy,” Tom, demanded, so far
From Mississip, “strong brown god,” to Thames, show me,
Through glasses, down distinctive nose, Anglo, “pubs
Being open,” Christmas, “till midnight,” clerk, then, publisher,
Then, “time present,” E. P. (whom you owed much), stiff
Salute, “DUCE,” honored, and you vilified, “Apeneck”
Critics de(con)struct (unmoving words: racist royalist
Anti-semite wife-crushing rotter
), wonder if they
“Have understood a word” you wrote, “hoo hoo hoo,”
Bird in rose garden, (close reading, only fifties Cold War
), O. P., “loved bad jokes,” limp with laughter,
Dame Edith, whoopee cushion, (sexist piggy), “effanineffable,”
Yet defined wasted century, “Marie, hold on tight. And down
We went.” T. S. (all those initials from you, F. T., W. H., e. e.,
Pell mell), if you’re right “time past” is “present in time future,”
Then hope remains, “all manner of thing shall be well.”  


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