a famous teetotaler
hincty fingertips
a certain aim


he inclines to resent
ignorance of another’s meaning


the emergence of the Beatles and the Vietnam War
sad human electricity
no buzz of any wheel


fastened to the saddle
exceedingly drunk 


chopping her row
at the bottom of the mind


the thing is…
slaves of their own vaunts
bawl it out


Well, that’s all right, but this is Tuesday
the most fatiguing of occupations


the wingspan…
the ugly center…


Ah, for a neck!
— “Goodness!”


Sandrico, lonely as Prometheus on a rock,
condescended upon the water at Falconer’s

A poem comprised, respectively, of twenty-five words and phrases from the authors and works listed below:

      •  Sir Thomas Browne, “Christian Morals”

      •  James Thurber, Fables for Our Time, “The Bear Who Let It Alone”

      •  Jack Kerouac, On the Road

      •  Edward Lear, “The Two Old Bachelors”

      •  Simeon Potter, Our Language

      •  William Hazlitt, “On the Disadvantages of Intellectual Superiority”

      •  Nora Ephron, “The Assassination Papers”

      •  Wyndham Lewis, "Enemy of the Stars"

      •  Logan Pearsall Smith, More Trivia, “The Springs of Action”

      •  Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

      •  Charles Dickens, Sketches by "Boz"

      •  Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery

      •  Ben Hecht, In the Midst of Death

      •  F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night

      •  Francis Bacon, “Of Vain-Glory”

      •  Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

      •  Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding, “Martin LeSoeur, Raconteur”

      •  Delmore Schwartz, “Baudelaire”

      •  James Tate, “The Eagle Exterminating Company”

      •  Fulke Greville “Down in the Depth of Mine Iniquity”

      •  Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable

      •  D. H. Lawrence, “The Blue Moccasins”

      •  Alexander Hart, The Tragi-Comical History of Alexto and Angelica

      •  Rudyard Kipling, “The Courting of Dinah Shadd”

      •  Samuel Pepys, The Diary of Samuel Pepys (4 June 1664)


The clause "Make not thy head a grave" comes for Sir Thomas Browne's essay "Christian Morals." The full sentence it is taken from is "Make not thy head a grave, but a repository of God's mercies." I took the clause out of context and used it ironically because a found poem (and, in particular, this found poem) does make graves out of our heads as we (well, at least, poets) fill them with disembodied quotations and pilfered snippets of diction. The poem is quite aleatory, occasioned by skimming twenty-five books (quite eclectic!) that happened to be on my office bookshelf one tired afternoon between classes. I chanced upon phrases I liked and copied them out. I approached the poem as an exercise, seeing whether or not I could assemble them into a meaningful whole. Whether I was successful in making the parts cohere and accrue sense, I leave up to the readers of the poem.



                                                                                                         ~Bill Yarrow