Scoundrel Time

Two Poems by Jeanne Larsen

Singing, Studying on Whiteness, This Penelope Strings

along suitors & the lyre-warp of her loom.

On last night’s unspun body bag, weaves pictures:
deployed youths, broken masts, horses’ heads
hacked. An infant prince flung from a tower
tall as a fracking well. She lights a lamp,
swears her maids to speechlessness, unpicks
the fabric. Looks skyward. Makes out smoggy threads
between stars. Calls them demigods, grotesques,
captives, tracks of what’s not. Come morning, depicts
with water-skeins, veiled eyes: Asia Minor
widows thralled in murderous beds. Her doing

is undoing. That burial wrapper signifies
unhealing rumors. Marvels. A liar’s name shouted
as rocks crash wet. Her ivory dream-talk, raveling.


Screamin Menelaus [Flame-Haired] in Another Country

bleeped up big time, like some Joe from West
Virginia, Cleveland, marooned in Mortaritaville.
Outside an embassy. Kandahar. Near Aleppo.
He didn’t honor gods’ outlandish rules.

Was outlander. Yup, you’ve maybe been there, starving,
becalmed, interrogating [legally] a sexy
demigod re: what the SEAL-stink Old Man
wants. Wrestling from him reminders of the many

dead, plus news—a hostage [one more bro
beheaded] snuffed. Old Man orders pussy
-whipped Menelaus to ice his flesh-eating tears,
go back [we would] to the bad decision point.
Mass up Agamemnon’s in memoriam.
Make right sacrifice. Start [if we could] again.


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