January 24, 2009


First, thrust a Quill into his brain from above, or else
slit his throat, as is done in Jerusalem. Cut his skin

neatly from his Tongue unto his Rump and pull it off.
Then sever his Head with the skin and legs

and keep it. Roast the Poet on a spit. His body
may be stuffed with sweet Herbs, his breast stuck

with Cloves, and his neck wrapped in a white linen
cloth. Baste him vigorously until he crackles.

When the Poet is almost cooked, take him down
and redress him in his skin, whose inside

you have coated with spices, salt and cinnamon.
Then, when you have put his skin back on

get an apparatus of Iron and shove this through
his spine and legs so it cannot be seen; in this way

the Poet will stand so that he will seem to be living.
Take the neck of your Poet and bind it at one end

and load it with quicksilver and ground sulfur,
pressing until it is roughly half full; then bind

the other end, but do not seal. When it is quite hot,
and the mixture bubbles, Air that is trying to escape

will make the Poet sing. If he doesn't cry
loudly enough, tie the two ends more tightly.

—Rachel Loden
forthcoming in Dick of the Dead (Ahsahta Press)

Posted by dwaber at January 24, 2009 05:09 PM