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Allan Britt


The frivolity of language,
sometimes in the hands of a culture’s most esteemed poets,
apologizes for obscurity.

While so many honored poets wear yachtsmen caps
and feel just like real captains!

Until the rains, like the seasons,
wash away their lime and raspberry hopscotch poems
from a weather-beaten sidewalk.

Crap, I’m hunkered in my basement, again,
staring at a child’s plastic bucket filled with squatty,
pastel pieces of chalk!


(For Daphne)

She’s probably chewing someone’s underwear,
right now,
that blonde Bouvier we prize so dearly.

These past six months the carefully carved innocence
of her face has grown familiar.

And tonight she roams a section of our basement
unprowled by an adult dog
nearly two years, now, or is it four, already?

She’s unaware she represents an entire generation
of fawn Bouvier des Flandres.

You can’t blame her for that.

But, when she really wants our attention,
she parades contraband across the living room:
a white sock, a dish towel carefully removed
from the back of a kitchen chair,
or, perhaps, someone’s sorrowful underwear
lost among the hours.


Ariel was a floating pirate ship.

Think about it.

Shelley and Byron hatching a new world order?

The Crown was more than a little uneasy.

The King might’ve been onto Blake, too,
but relinquished on illusion
that William embraced Swedenborg’s angels
and vengeful gods.

But Ariel sliced through the moonlit clouds
of revolution as easily
as any young mother giving birth to hope
and humanity.

Not so popular, this new world order,
with the British Crown.

Then Ariel set out, one day,
for the Gulf of Spezia,
one calm blue day.



Gregor ends up alone in his room,
while his family flees the apartment.

You can draw a parallel from Gregor
to the Hunger Artist who ended up
as a stain on a bed of straw.

A stain on a bed of straw.


You flash scarab eyes
while yelling at the moon.

The primary supporters of the Catholic Church
are out, tonight,
hunting for 12-point bucks.

Even a subtly cracked antler,
one fractured along its tip by a stray bullet,
won’t suffice.

For these professional odds-makers,
or gods-makers,
(how can you tell the difference?)
demand mythical perfection,
and they aren’t about to settle for less.

Can you blame them?

Blame them for what?

Blame them for achieving our primary goal
of wealth at any cost
tumbling like nuclear dice across the pastoral waist
of a Las Vegas craps table?

So, how, then can we demean the wild fly
for feasting on a dog turd?

Explain that one
and I’ll answer all your nagging questions
about the universe.

I’ll even answer the bonus question,
the one about humans spooning warm monkey brains
from the diminutive skulls of political machismo.


Finally, made it to 24!

I hail a taxi for the last 12 miles of the Boston Marathon
and see my career spinning in a dryer
near Grolier’s bookstore
stocked to the ceiling
with angels
whose bright fins
ignite the dark shadows
of the forbidden shelves.


The end of an era.

The best of the best
gone to their graves
wondering, wondering
if they ever were worthy
of such mythical proportions
in the first place.


Imagine wondering about that?

Imagine wondering about the speed
of the psyche?

Is the psyche more the jade spark
of a lusty firefly,
or the enchanted psychology of a leopard slug grazing on cabbage leaves?

Is it the irrational
spray of machine guns
in our schoolyards,
in our movie theaters,
in our traditional solution
for all the problems of the world?

           ξ ψ ж

Or is it, merely,
the unavoidable amnesia inherited
from our one true god,


Alan Britt’s recent books are Greatest Hits (2010), Hurricane (2010), Vegetable Love (2009), Vermilion (2006), Infinite Days (2003), Amnesia Tango (1998) and Bodies of Lightning (1995). Britt’s work also appears in the new anthologies, American Poets Against the War, Metropolitan Arts Press, Chicago/Athens/Dublin: 2009 and Vapor transatlántico (Transatlantic Steamer), a bi-lingual anthology of Latin American and North American poets, Hofstra University Press/Fondo de Cultura Económica de Mexico/Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos de Peru, 2008.

Politically speaking Alan has started the Commonsense Party, which ironically to some sounds radical. He believes the US should stop invading other countries to relieve them of their natural resources including tin, copper, bananas, diamonds and oil. He is quite fond of animals both wild and domestic and supports prosecuting animal abusers. As a member of PETA, he is disgusted by factory farming and decorative fur. Alan currently teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University and lives in Reisterstown, Maryland with his wife, daughter, two Bouviers des Flandres, one Bichon Frise and two formally feral cats.

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