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Brian Henry

Three poems:

George W. Bush
Actually Sounding


a brazen derriere & no demure bra
w/ or w/out the Pepto
Bismol. A bum
rush, stampede o steers is
I repeat is not
a cavalcade or cattle drive.
The beef likes its steak.
The pasture likes its fence
& the horses prance
in their newly shod shoes.
Matt’s green
Pumas would not fly here. The poem
like Oklahoma
is fucked. Kerplunk.

George W. Bush

She calls him mushroom head
b/c his brain is a fungus

nothing edible as it’s terrible
to behold w/sight or smell

like the dog-vomit fungus
dappled across the mulch

it poofs into the air when touched
tickles the nose

but is otherwise harmless
unlike artillery fungus

which shoots itself
up to fifteen feet up

onto a house or on top
will not come off or down

and is attracted by light
and which none of us has seen

Actually Sounding

Such a burden, declamation.
Partial confluence of bird’s nest,
bird shit. There is no science for it.
Ostrich, cassowary, emu. The meanest
endangered, the tallest the fastest.
Lieutenant graphs the attributes:
a 3:2 ratio in height, 4:3 in speed,
the difference between the second
and the third not worth a mention.
We’re talking shades here, he says.
I leave cassowary plums in traps,
find cassowaries in traps. Carry
a hatchet with which. Ostrich
on the menu, emu on the menu,
croc salad for Easter. A floater
in the latrine, make the goat
fish it out, he says. Here, its middle
claw, he says. Pull out, everyone,
let’s see who measures up.
Wrap the meat in foil before
we pack and ride, deter the native
fauna. Appropriate comfort,
the flesh I spoil, discard.
The cassowary had ripped through
to his ribs, yanked down as it kicked.
Lieutenant had me tracking it
until morning. Everything here
designed to kill. Even the vines
care enough to hold on.

Brian Henry outside Veselka’s restaurant, New York City.

Brian Henry
New York City

Brian Henry is the author of five books of poetry, most recently The Stripping Point (Counterpath). His translation of the Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun’s Woods and Chalices (Harcourt) appeared in 2008, and his translation of Aleš Šteger’s The Book of Things is forthcoming from BOA Editions. You can read three poems by Tomaž Šalamun translated by Brian Henry in this issue of Jacket: The Loire Delta / poem (“If I don’t know what to do… ”) / Greece.

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