KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Prose Poem: 155 words
+ Audio Reading

Connoisseurs of Verse

by Roy Beckemeyer
Seventh grade, the boy is set to memorizing one
of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and he reads it and rereads it
—it becomes his cud—
—Albert Goldbarth

Mark Strand devoured it. Albert’s boy masticates it, regurgitates it, ungulate style, with burly bovine intent. We could try pantoum fricassee, bury an ode in hot coals like a south seas hog, make a luau of it, pick metaphors from between our teeth, wash it all down with Whitman’s ale, Wordsworth’s plonk. Sear the sweetbreads of Plath, sample the bento box of haiku, toss the empty peanut shells onto Ginsberg’s floor. Let’s chew on the taut words of performance poets, like dogs with their rawhide bones, our eyes glazed over, our canines scratching at each stanza, scraping off syllables small enough to swallow, tearing off a line that seems to grow as we chomp, tough and rubbery as calamari, dense with unexpressed regret, sinewy as unsuppressed rage.

Publisher’s Note: Epigraph is from “That Re- (What We Are)” by Albert Goldbarth, which appears in Michigan Quarterly Review (Volume XLVII, Issue 1, 2008):


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