Allen Edwin Butt

from Among Phaiakians


Now I feel distinctly liminal. Having
seen this. Now observe my. Sings of.
Red tint to gold curls, run down
shoulders, look & loving it. Or is this
a different story? In which it is demanded
that I suffer in proportion to my beauty.
Hope’s gruesome plot to kill Bo
has a surprise ending. Each headline
posits a reality. That stupid
Lohan bitch, she really think that she
can’t go to jail? Shit, I’m always
doing time, that little pussy better know
she damn well can do time. I’m sick
of this. Let me explain how thrush
spreads: breast to child, child
to breast, forever. Full-page spread
without a margin. Might not end.
Are you a goddess or a girlie? Oh,
you’re saucy
. Somewhat, but I really
need a bath, before I lose
my sweetness & my light. Well, take these
oils, bathe, then hie thee
to the house, wherein my daddy
reigneth. Tell mom you need her service
(hey, stop grinning, girls) & hug
her knees—that gets her every time.
But watch your step, don’t get too
friendly. We do not welcome strangers
in these orchards. There are expert
wrestlers. Then father will invite you
to the feast. Fresh figs the west wind
nurtured. And will nurture you.
Strong honeyed wine & walnuts, dates &
slightly sour cheese. Meg & I first
tried Greek yogurt on the island
of Crete in 1984. We thought it was
food of the gods. And that’s
what we provide in every cup of
Oikos Greek-strained yogurt: pure ambrosia.
Hope you like it.—Gary. And, wanderer,
I wait. Not quite yet, must return
before you. But follow when you’re ready.


Grey-eyes, I’ve increasingly the feeling
that you don’t know what you’re doing.
Mighty syntax—screams Received
Pronunciation. Come on, call it Queen’s.
Better tells who’s staking what. But
you may not derail this tirade with
your academic worries. My concession
—on Aiaia was at fault. Her spitted
pigs & thick pear chutney calmed me.
Warm bed half consensual, felt less
& less an asshole. Once, when
Dutch Schultz learned a man had
doublecrossed him, he soaked cottonswabs
in syphilitic piss & bandaged them
directly to the culprit’s eyes. And, sucker,
when they ask who done it, don’t
say No One, say Laërtides.
But all that’s past, friends (bless them,
gone now) brought me back to sense
—home still lay far, hearts clanging like
a wrench on lead, slammed, test the pipe’s
integrity. To which we clung a while.
Then docked on sun isle, He Who
Shakes The Earth kicked gale
& gust up, pinned our fleet to
shore, our feet to sand. No food, lay
sobbing on the beach. And it gets
so hot here in the summer, tourists
pouring in from Cleveland & Quebec
to stay at Fripp or Hunting beach homes—
everyone buys groceries here on
Saturday. Walking to retrieve carts
in a heat index of 105, I feel
cognition flag. “But please take
note, my boy, you doubtless will
survive the sun’s assault upon
your brow!” (said Durbin) but
the sound of a DOG brings me
to another day. The smell of fresh
beef roasting, marbled fat, could see
the sinews popping in their teeth.
Betrayed. Should have never gone
to sleep, half-waking like a dolphin,
Grey-eyes, have you failed me?
Thus brooding, feet trudge, wheat
I was ground down to flour, grist
thrown off the millstone, I will
sharpen. Gouged eyes lie attesting
might, might kill a thousand men
that barter nightly for my wife.
Now only the road eludes me. Time to walk.


O how I love his pretty golden
curls! As though ordained, the sharp buck
felt within my chest. As father once
explained (before my banquet) I’m a lady
therefore plot-point, pure exterior, a
perfect fringe. Watch lights go dancing
off of me like a cliché, I
dazzle & evade. Yet my wedding
draweth nigh. Can feel it bearing down,
large shadow of a bird with no
bird yet to cast it. Preparations.
Sheets bleached white (check off, okay)
my lashes teased to slight curve up, How
nice to see you, gradual as Turkish
moons. Unwrinkle. Blast of botulism
to the forehead makes you smile. And then
Cindy gets up on her high horse, Carol,
you just can’t say things like that
to James, or else don’t visit. Well.
It’s not as though I don’t have better things
to do than listen to her—to her . . . Jamie,
anyway, is going on the mission trip
to Boston. Need to pack. The summers
here we swim a sea of Lily Pulitzer,
stamp anchor-outlines “nautical” to fabric,
look, I dressed in keeping with
the place. The t-shirt: “I’m on
island time.” Skheria is a fine
alternative vacation when the gulf
spits tar-balls onto shore. Yet audiences
shift as plates (tectonic) do. Glossed pages
build anew inverted structures, undercut
my father’s Schrifftanschauung till
passivity claims equal opportunity.
A. admits she stole Brad
Whipped him out from under Jen’s nose
Fell in love on a movie set
on interview of her confession bid for accidental
public backlash “bit of a bubble” Knox
& Vivienne “explain to them how public”
parents’ old enough to background research—
said telling: “There’s not too many kids
can watch the movie where their parents
fell in love” a jet-lagged interview with
New York Times. Brad, we read, is
empty. Vessel bearing narrative
& cash, a hunka hunka burning
newsprint. Angelina is a thief & Brad
still doesn’t know he’s stolen goods. If
the cover is missing you should be aware
this book is stripped & may. Ass-naked
shakes her hips. But motion is
denied me, father speaks for all
Phaiakia, the gods our peers, we must
respect the phallocentric order hanging
even as we speak in peril, in the balance.

Allen Edwin Butt describes himself as "a fairly young poet." His work has appeared in Meridian and in Poetry.
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