Simple Words

by Neeli Cherkovski

I keep wading in the mud
of the Classic poets, they have
a fine morbidity and a clean psychology

trust in the epic that ends
with a lie, trim your bushes
with care and don’t let the age
of discovery land you in a pool
of meaningless verbiage

I trust the overindulgence
of classical antiquity, and, by extension,
the rope Dante hands out,
I’ll hang on it till the world
dies of heart failure

simple words, ring a ding!

simple lines, I keep to the trail
of the donkey, the hoof of the lamb,
the breast of the bull, the balls of the stallion

I celebrate the old woman
who lives on the mountain
with her cows and hogs and two
black dogs
and the simple fare she heaps
onto the plate

she’s the one who fed the German poet
on his Italian journey
and Caesar long before

yeah, we mean to discombobulate
the dreams, we are intent on
demeaning the new and easy verse
that drills into a shallow pit
we see the future
our cold enemy
made out of electrons
and bits of glass and pieces of steel

we like the cruel economy
of our inner selves
capable of one story
yeah, capable of a tale

I walk to the dais
and give Homer a kiss
on his hairy cheeks

and ramble on a ramp
at the villa of Catullus
who wove his love
into a lisp and his hardon
into a raging sea

simple words easy dictums
follow the liar