I said I would write this if three people at a party came to my reading tomorrow. If they do not, pretend I never wrote this.
Thomas Gray generally amenable
to any and all objects limping
sideways with great rejoicing
from one end of the vista to another.
A beast with an antler is just a friend
with prongs. A tusk could be
a benison. Just try it out once.
Home examining the obscure and the known.
His amazing register of unlisted men
serving well through spiritual havok, good grist
for the ol’ mill, ska is back, he whispers,
ska is back.
He said the language of the age is never language,
never recurs, is a heavy heavy monster sound.
His vestments hurled into a bog at the behest
of friendly creatures.
O his landscape contracts. His citation
of the top ten common birds. Whipoorwill,
helicopter, other thing.
The last of the great pre-romantics
sharpening his recorder on the mean part
of a meteorite. O my gosh—
all his charming pastoral clerihews
soaked to death by magical ichor.
Thomas Gray in the forest feels his age
clicking a button on the side of an apparatus,
and so on, hurling his vest into the fraught
bog of the symbol of a beast.
He’s, like, what’s a poem of place?
He’s existing simultaneously in and out of it,
his fun pilgrim boots are flashing.
He’s a problem of temporality.
Thomas Gray, still young to fuck,
bellows, bellows, he claims,
he insists on. His moustache,
the element of fantasy.
Gray feasts on small rocks
he calls “snake bread,”
sated on chocolate milk coaxed
from a side hatch.
In the night, woodland karaoke
and making every mute animal
clap at the end.
Beloved by everyone.
Washing a tin plate
in the creek, I uncover
a photo of him
in the mud
and go steady with it.
Guess what? I’m also
a professor at Cambridge University,
in England, curiously elaborate,
paid my weight in antique graveyards,
hoary-headed swain, little field of tyrant fruit,
bunch of scraps.