from the Poems Of Gaius Valerius Catullus
This boat you’re videotaping. You’re looking at a boat. Despite your protests that you are looking at a translation of the fourth poem in the corpus of Catullus, I assure you you are looking at this boat. Lots of bad things battered this boat. Forget about volunteering to swab its lintels. This boat denies it was minced in the Adriatic. It denies that it lit up the Cyclades with an all night buck and spill. Rhodes is horrible, noble, Thracian. Proponents of Rhodes call truce though might be their sinuses. Where this boat is is post-boat. The word for this boat is phaselus. A phaselus was a rather long and narrow vessel, named for its resemblance to a kidney bean. This boat was built for speed. Yet this boat is sort of fragile. Lots of bad things battered this boat from the beginning of its life to now. You state it’s cracked, but I tell you to go put your stupid hands in the water. Say it again. The boat frets about its impotence, falls over dead. The boat sucks lava dexterously; yes, this boat is right-handed. Its aura smokes cigarettes, looks up at Jupiter out there in space, and its beams moist. What happens below deck, and involves feet, stays below deck. I’m not literally pointing out this boat to you, I’m writing a poem about the boat in limping trimeters. But this is a fact: botulism is sad. Noobs lurch toward a limpid coast. And before them stands a boat, a beautiful old boat looking like a kidney bean built for speed. It sits there quiet and old, looking over the lake and thinking this lake is really limpid. The noobs all have twins.
Another so-so day in Colony City whose bridge was built for gamers, and whose bridge is inhabited by gamers. Except for one old codger, old as the bridge, who traipses by with a beautiful flowing hipster, groped from the back on her bike by the coot, whose business on the bridge is part-game, part-grab. Drool slides down his jowls but also ends up in his eyes. He’s blinded by saliva. The cougar coaxes pup into his claws and there is soft petting. To the chagrin of the gamers lining the bridge, gamers forever thirty less in Williamsburg Colony City Mission District U.S.A. chucking burned change at drunk Santa or screaming Lucy in the park. The crank goes puma, fondles the little lovely. Old dog head catches cat, claims to be a doctor for cat. And Catullus wants to catapult the fellow into the tender kidling. Just kidding. Catullus calls for the citizens to catapult the codger into the river. Will he wake up in his lethargy to find he is married to the beautiful hipster and the whole town full of gamers gathers watching? What is hipster runoff? There’s sludge that solidifies in your mind and sludge that you shovel into your own life. Catullus, laughing in Colony City. Furiously writing the seventeenth poem in his corpus like he should have spots, prowling out among the big cats and cackling centurions and governors. I came across this beautiful flannel-wearing hipster…the stress on your heart, old man, I just don’t think it’s worth it.
Brandon Brown is a poet. In 2008, TAXT press published Camels! In 2010, he self published three chapbooks: Tooth Fairy, The Orgy, and Your Mom's A Falconress and Other Poems. He co-curated the Performance Writing series at New Langton Arts, The (New) Reading Series at 21 Grand gallery, and publishes small press books under the imprint OMG!