Poems in the Manner Of
The unexpurgated Catullus is the most bawdy and profane of poets. He hurls insults with brutal candor and makes the reader feel like doing the same.
Two Poems in the Manner of Catullus
1. To a Critic
You made the mistake of praising my pain,
Flavius. This the connoisseurs of cool,
whose approval you seek and shall never gain,
could not condone. You should have known better.
They made you feel like a fool.
You joined in the laughter but it felt bitter.
And ever since you have panned
all work of my hand
with the result that I, too, despise you,
and I do not wish you well.
Yet I took no pleasure when I heard Junius tell
Calista your wife had cuckolded you
with her yoga teacher the same week
you faced a tax audit and ate a steak
with a side of fried poison, missed your train
and lost your job. I feel your pain,
Flavius. Not even a shmuck
like you deserves such lousy luck.
2. To a Rival
More beautiful than daffodils
in February or the face
that is always turned away
from the earth was Diana
a dance major at the High
School of Performing Arts
whose legs were long when
skirts were short, and what
was she doing with you
Junius, lecherous bastard who
tried to fuck every girl he met:
how could she fall for your shit?
Though I was born with a stutter,
Junius, I will denounce you yet
and win awards for my oratory
in a full session of parliament