A Noisy Phalanx Is a Safe Phalanx



“The Word Hoplite is Scratched Out” Joseph M. Gerace. 2018. 6′ 3″ x 6′ 3″

I impute, with geometry, Hoplite. Consciously I do this to you, Too-Beautiful Poemtaker. Remember John to Philip wrote: “Don’t worry about it Levine, you’re ugly enough to be a great poet.” That’s filled with funny truth — oozes out of the recoiling seams, the reactionary-gunman seams. The Ugly Poet pities him — Perfect Gator — welcomes him to his soul. That child labor where hallucinations are made and thrown into the blood pool. Do you two remember the Battle of Thermopylae? Sit down, Hero, Xerxes — your pearly Perfect Gator — wants to entomb a hedge around his lengthy head. His dome is a lighthouse, don’t get it twisted with scalene teeth and bombing runs. Violence, he fancies himself president, dope commander. There. Over there. In the darkest dark. There it is. A carefully restored — the pearly acquiescence notes this before enveloping everything else — bust of Leonidas. His feathered features spark like desire. There exist no right angels in the black, you were correct. Always have been. But, no more! Desperate Darius sends emissaries to each Greek city-state clutching hundreds of printed out text messages describing’ Xerxes’s corpse. No two missals contain the same information, but each is precise in blood-line.

good verbs that aren’t

I can read & read
& read
but mostly
fingers slick with natural oils
or grease, one could say
(as if sneaking across the DMZ and speaking of the enemy)
nothing comes.   The tip snaps off

under some enormous privilege
singular, impregnable
& now I’m stealing words
from Philip Levine’s poem about pubic hair

(I once read that his poems —
(slick and stark —
(are about … people! a collective gasp.)

but anyway, the tip regenerates
a process more painful in full measure
snaps off again by some impregnable pleasure
the whole thing pinks

like the volcano long ago
by which some insufferable Italians
are snuffed out — tell me more
about the Italians — their terrible
airplane fetish, their terribly boring
crystal balls. Just so totally wrong.

Yesterday while reading I don’t remember what,
I thought about my diet
being chased through the Temple of Doom. Look
at the fat, pink writing tool whimpering

(absolute, admirable
(though thrift-poor and truly profit free)

“You don’t
like it but you get used to it.”
I know now