Friday, December 20, 2013

20 December 2013

Renée Stout

Canto 4

I love how Bang makes me laugh
by using modernisms already outdated —
“Sir,” I said, “this is harsh” —

reminding me that “Make it new” is overrated
by history’s impassive
pace. These million doll souls indicted

for selecting “none of the above”
prove merely that good, bad, & neutral
all land you in hell, my love —

Limbo at best — where Gad! an inner circle
welcomes poets, “these honorific few”
whose swelldom includes not only Virgil

but Dante, too, while mewling
babes & sighing women
have nor harrowing nor fire to aspire to.

Had I Bang been
I’d’ve gone for 100% name swapping —
replaced these clichéd men with forgotten Amazons

with Sor Juana, my latest hero.
Liberal education has so much explaining

to do
for flat out ignoring women’s minds
preferring instead to think of woman as emo,

as virago, as side saddle, as derived
from Adam’s rib,
as colony, as gossip, as pretty valentine,

as ditz, as nympho, as hysteric, as witch.
Begone, Homer!
Scam, Ovid

you dirty old man. The new order
comprises first Sappho, then Sor Juana
followed by Uhwudong & Engelbretsdotter

(pity about her name), also Enheduanna,
Aphra Behn & Emily Dickinson,
finish for now with Anna Akhmatova.

Yes, I admit, Dante’s list contains some,
e.g., Electra, Lavinia, . . . a smattering in the ranks
is worse than none.

Aristotle to Zeno, hie thee to the outer banks!
More aunties, fahgettabout uncs.

[inspired by Mary Jo Bang's translation of Dante Alighieri's Inferno]

1 comment:

  1. :-) A winner. I love how it makes me laugh. And want to cry.