‘The Damaged Ape’ by Russell Edson

Ape, Hackensack, N.J., 2020

A little piece of the ape’s nostril had fallen off; and then we noticed one of its ears was chipped. On closer examination we saw that one of its fingernails was missing.

By this time, of course, we had grown to love the ape, but still we wondered if it shouldn’t be sent back for an undamaged one.

The guarantee slip was still attached to one of its ears: This ape is guaranteed in perfect working order on the day of the purchase.
But then we noticed something else written on the slip: Floor model, demonstration ape, reduced for quick sale.

Ah, so we did get a bargain without even knowing it.

The ape shyly smiles and presents its cheek for a kiss …

But later on in the evening a large hole develops in the ape’s stomach from what had seemed earlier only a tiny tear. And all evening we watched the ape’s insides slowly coming out all over the rug …

Source: Edson, Russell. The Tunnel: Selected Poems. Oberlin, OH: Oberlin College Press, 1994. Print.

For All the Vegans I’ve Loved and Consumed (Trendy Modernist Power Play)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 991


of animals
as moral consumers
justify their sight

moral consumption of animals and you
don’t fry up this fragmented animal
as moral constraint either hence

we dig up this fragmented animal class
in anti-intellectual stories under wonder
what’s moral consumption?

the poets are moral consumers mutatis mutandis
what’s moral? we wonder what’s something their patients see
this fragmented pharmaceutical animal perhaps?

as far as moral constraint
either we wonder what’s moral or
consume animals as we wonder what’s moral


don’t fry up that ego: all organisms work
self-affirming live monkey limb
because we think of animals as moral consumptions
size and constraint either hence we consume them
but we don’t generally see animals
we don’t have stories to tell
self-affirming little tales to negotiate
guilt over knives
don’t ponder what’s moral consumption
size and constraints
what their habits whisper of self-awareness
don’t have their patients moral consumption
animals as moral consumers of size
condors constrain their populations
but they selfishly extol story structure
that doesn’t have to do with man and god
foolish moral constraints as we wonder what’s moral
consumption sounds and chimps
our nearest relatives tearing
them apart but selfishly expanding
to don’t have stories to justify they also don’t have live monkeys
pharmaceutical animals as tonal constraint
what’s our nearest relative for tearing
tell me something about self-awareness
to negotiate guilt tell me
hurting stories to negotiate guilt
hurting their habitats don’t consume size and constraint
what of them? their populations? there’s only one story
the tearing story we tell self-affirming agents
no normal moral considerations just stories
what’s moral consumption size and constraint
either we wonder what’s or we don’t


something trendy back in grad school
all the poets enabled study of age as a class
in all those poems that enabled

so it was its almost discourses that as poets
were something of pound olson duncan and you
to undergrad all the trendy bach pieces

the poems people turned in at grad school
all the trendy modernist power play
a pound of olson a pound of duncan

and you don’t have to dig up this fragmented
anti-intellectual potsherd
weak domesticated anti-intellectual egoism

Mary Ruefle

think like that
no like that

sniff around a burrow
don’t hunt birds

think like this
no like this

raccoons yes groundhogs
yes opossum definitely yes

think for yourself
no not like that

not the robin though
nor the house sparrow

here give me the controller
let me have a go at it

nor the half dozen finches
gathered near the volkswagen

put your hands up
don’t move a muscle.

“Stray Beast” by Sarah Jean Grimm


I cannot recommend highly enough Sarah Jean Grimm‘s “Soft Focus” from Metatron out of Montreal. The poem above grabbed me by the throat. I still have the finger marks from last night’s reading. Buy the book (might I suggest the entire Spring 2017 catalog?) and support great, living poets.

The Roar of the Slain Protect

Wikipedia Poem, No. 413

“But they know how to pull / Arms in, a reflex of being dressed, / And also, a child’s faith. The mass of stuff / That makes the Sunday frocks collapses / In my hands and finds its shape, only because / They understand the drape of it— / These skinny keys to intricate locks.” Mark Jarman

For Bill

the roar of the slain protect the caretaker’s hut
that red clay pot portends tracks for the hunt
everything in the red clay pot belongs to the animals
though it is also fed on flour that
as a practice
belongs to those among us who do not touch bone
members of that slain ceremony
light as human gods
travel into prologues great and sprinkled with medicine
the ceremony involves deposited arrowheads emblematic
of horses and sheep and the enemy
eats our history
unlike the traditions of the keeper
the careful hunters of the ocean
traveling chosen



Logic Study

Wikipedia Poem, No. 409

“I am always tying up / and then deciding to depart.” Frank O’Hara


a trap set with
electric tongues
mouse in-
advertently cleft
itemized by tongues
transport terms arranged
into two recursively
out bloody breast bones
you have something
observer some sheet of
margins imagine it the
sense intelligence simmering
both your final form
and the sound beneath
some shared irreverence
ends in the itemized bits
which sit on the trap
of your mouth
in the tv room
under warm blankets
covering a trap
set with

Wikipedia Poem, No. 380

“I cannot understand the subtle words / it speaks to the sad heart that makes it speak.” Dante Alighieri

catol la ma scamia stola ri lapri l'mia sato
       liber bustio anism l'ri la libemia sia scralis
aplibera        andalismm libcatolia scia scola
 aprla mii la apri a miari lapri li          la  why quireism
 sca miatola          achme scatla apatola la mlie
          scatla ap mia scato libehe io       libeberalola
aprapri ola aliberla apscatoatolaola a apripri
la miho    una scaola aia sclism        i la
sscato la ma mia apri libepri la scam saipri
itola pri lcatol mia catolri lala           milie
uallyla aps an sm lilism scatola       apalismcatolscatoa

all the notes from tonight



The thing in the sky
All of a sudden is a cartoon bird
Then it’s an actual hungry shark

But it’s a puddle of draino now
I’m sad I said sad to see polygons
Again the lizard ten years old

Then chemo
Is a seahorse
Then it’s a chicken

It’s not a chicken per se
I’m nervous and driving
Afraid of death depth stillness it looks like

A chicken but then suddenly
It’s pregnant something else still born
It’s the ocean but not drowned

A seahorse hot
A shark it’s not a
Chicken it’s a rotten cartoon it’s

Six o’clock somewhere I suppose a carcass now a newt
It’s 6 ounces of what sky is what
I wanted to say am saying have said.