I have been a fan of X. J. Kennedy since the late Sixties so imagine my surprise when I was surprised by seeing some of his poems in the July/August issue of Poetry
( I won’t link to it for obvious reasons since I’m about to steal their copyrighted material ( and in a further no- no I’m going to use brackets inside brackets) so there! Xj’s first poem is Blues for Oedipus
a couple of stanzas full of pus and odious. I feel like using the “N” word---nitwit.
His second poem God’s Obsequies
is a very good poem for the first five stanzas. Then the dumb fuck loses the feeling, you know, that gut feeling you get when you know even in your ass that, hey, this is a good poem. He goes to God’s funeral, a ten-Cadillac affair, probably ancient Garden of Eden Cadillacs, the backseat full of the remains of Adam and Eve’s nasty love-making.
Marx was there, Karl not Groucho, preaching that if God had accepted communism he’d still be alive. Nietzsche mourned God’s death almost as much as he mourned his own small dick. Freud sat on his couch, springs only because the material had long ago been breathed into the lungs of neurotic souls. Copernicus was a prick, still insisting that the frigging sun was the center of the solar system. The French midget Jean-Paul Sartre was mumbling about Croissant-In-Itself. Way, way too deep for me.
The last nine stanzas of denouement as Richard Blackmur would say are just rehyrated semen. Not even Erica Jong would put up with that kind of procreation.
Being a two-faced (Janus without the J describes most of us) , back-stabbing asshole which I am, I just emailed Xj telling him how I loved his two poems and crying that Poetry will probably be awarded a Pulitzer or a Nobel because of his poems.
So I went to the funeral of God,
A ten-Cadillac affair,
And sat in a stun. It seemed everyone
Who had helped do Him in was there:
Karl Marx had a wide smirk on his face;
Friedrich Engels, a simpering smile,
And Friedrich Nietzsche, worm-holed and leechy,
Kept tittering all the while.
There was Sigmund Freud whose couch had destroyed
The soul, there was Edward Gibbon,
And that earth-shaking cuss Copernicus
Sent a wreath with a sun-gold ribbon.
There were Bertrand Russell and a noisy bustle
Of founders of homemade churches,
And Jean-Paul Sartre bawling “Down with Montmarte!”
There were prayer cards a dime could purchase,
There were Adam and Eve and the Seven Deadly Sins,
Buxom Pride in her monokini,
(Said Sloth, “Wake me up when the party begins”)
And Lust playing with his weenie.
Declared Martin Luther, ablaze with rancor,
“Why mourn ye, O hypocrites?
May the guilty be gored with Michael’s sword!
It’s the work of Jesuits!”
Mused the Pope on the folding chair next to me
As he mopped his expiring brow,
“Whatever will become of the See of Rome?
Ah, who’ll hire an old man now?”
I had a quick word with Jesus
In Aramaic and Greek.
“Yes,” he said, “ it’s sad. And so sudden---why, Dad
Looked uncommonly well last week.
“But we all must go sometime, I warrant,
No matter how brief our careers.
It’s a comfort to me to reflect that He
Had been getting along in years”
Then we all filed past the coffin
To pay our respects to the corpse
And the first in line gave a gasp---“ He’s done!”
He must have dropped out of the hearse!”
“Good God!” cried the undertaker,
His face like a bucket of ash,
“As sure as I’m born, I could have sworn---
If this gets in the papers I’m trash.”
I stumbled and groped out to open air,
Stared up at a blossoming tree
And the blooming thing still believed in spring,
As smug as a tree could be.
Passed a haystack. A buck-naked farmer
Was treading his doxie. She screamed.
“Not so loud,” I said, “don’t you know God’s dead?”
But they just laughed---“Who’d have dreamed?”
The sun kept pursuing overhead
Its habitual endeavor,
And the bountiful earth rolled on, rolled on,
As though it might last forever.