Jonathan Duckworth

Why I Don’t Trust Centos

Allen Ginsberg meets Arthur Rimbaud
somewhere in the Twilight Zone’s
warehouse district. Faces emerge
from railroad track rust and brickwork
and sluggish drifts of coal dust,
growing teeth and tongues and chords
to chant: “Freestyle, freestyle!”
until the two poets oblige.
Ginsberg opens up with a rapid-fire
page-scraping clanker of a line
spat by the clack-clack
of his Remington portable no. 5.
Redoubling fast, Rimbaud carves
on his forearm with a pen-knife
the first three lines to an alexandrine,
but runs out of blood
at the second syllable of ‘poissonnier.’
Going in for the kill, Ginsberg
tries to tag Walt Whitman in,
but Whitman says
“I was too old for this shit
when I died, kid”
and that’s when Kālidāsa
steps up, throwing smokin’ shlokas
like ninja stars. Somewhere
around the time that Ezra Pound’s
sonnets turn the melee
into a sub-rosa fascist ladder match,
the poem taking shape sprouts legs,
and runs away screaming.

Jonathan Louis Duckworth is a current MFA student at Florida International University in Miami, where he works as a teaching assistant. He also serves as a reader and copy-editor for the Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. His work appears in or is set to appear in Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Mount Island Magazine, the Kudzu Review, and Sliver of Stone Magazine.


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