a poet should publish
exactly four volumes of poetry,
titled as follows in a display
of oeuvristic continence:
Early Poems, Middle Poems,
Later Poems, and, lastly, Last Poems,
the final volume cobbled together
by a competent executor. The late poet
lies beyond the realization
mortality was always
a titular guessing game.
In the variorum edition
of the publishing life, however,
there are also four collections, though
under different ab homine titles,
so, in my case, for instance:
Juvenilia, The Full Flower of Manhood,
Old Man’s Toys, and Posthumous Poems,
the ones death couldn’t stop
from being written, now in book form
from the Last Publishing House on the Left,
home of publishing as
When world society turned “1984”
(a state of mind) in 1984, I turned 30,
the apocalypse almost touched off by
birthday vibrations between the Common
Era and me, still quavering today.
Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe do
the do-si-do, followed by the dreams
of stupid wonder as threesomes everywhere
get stuck in doorways, flying objects
pummel unalert stuffed shirts, and
now comes the full exploration
of the rude pleasures
of name-calling—“You numbskull!”—
and hair-pulling, hammer-bopping,
eye-gouging, multiple face-slapping.
We don’t fly to heaven after death,
we’re not handed a harp in the clouds,
nor are we remanded to the basement
with a trio of obstreperous plumbers,
incompetence their trade—
we stop in flight a full head off the ground,
arrested in the soft arc of cream pie insult,
frozen for its offense to the entire formal
dining room . . . certainly the life has value.
Certainly no meaning.
Punk Nuns Redux (2015)
Always in twos
or threes, they sit
toward the back
of the bus,
snapping their gum
and yelling out the window.
One of them
drops her rosary
strung with razor blades.
They laugh at God.
They laugh at Man.
They laugh at men
and kick their shins.
When they walk together,
they spread their habits
of the unsaid,
emergent from recesses
of the unsayable,
and take up
the whole block
then take off,
skittery bats drenched
in the shadows
of the twofold
Harrison Fisher received his M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins and held an NEA fellowship in poetry in 1978. He has published twelve collections of poems, four of them book-length: Curtains for You (1980), Blank Like Me (1980), UHFO (1982), and Poematics of the Hyperbloody Real (2000). In 2022, he had new poems appear in Argotist Online, BlazeVOX, e-ratio, Gyroscope Review, Indicia, Oddball Magazine, Otoliths, and TXTOBJX.