Five Poems

Critical Judgment

Young Wordsworth was an egotistic twit
Who thought the cosmos turned upon his soul.
I’m glad I never met the little git
But still he wrote good poetry, all told.

Alexander Pope Comments On “Beach Blanket Bingo”

There’s not much chance of bedding Gidget
When you are a crippled midget.

To Dorothy Parker, On Behalf Of Men

You’re wrong—we’ll make passes
At girls who wear glasses
As long as they’re lasses
With cute, curvy asses.

Ballade Of Health Food

God save us from the health food freaks,
That enervated pallid crew
Of nerdy little tightassed geeks
Who live on tea and veggie stew.
I wish I even vaguely knew
What drives these dopes to munch dry seeds,
To dine on stuff that tastes like glue,
To live on cornflakes, bran, and weeds.
Just gaze upon their hollow cheeks,
Their skin devoid of glow or hue.
When one of them pipes up and speaks
It sounds like death is overdue.
These morons seem to take their cue
From quack physicians whose dull screeds
Insist that one should only chew
On cornflakes, tasteless bran, and weeds.
The young, the middle-aged, antiques—
All sorts are strict adherents to
A diet of dried beans and leeks,
Of fruit juice, yogurt, sprouts. Now who
The hell would choose that witches’ brew
To satisfy his body’s needs?
No person ever thrived or grew
On cornflakes, withered bran, and weeds.
Prince, advice from me to you:
The state’s endangered by such creeds.
Go after them. String up a few
Who live on cornflakes, bran, and weeds.


Financial Advice To Poets

A poet is a silly sod
If he thinks he’ll earn a wad
Of money from his verse transcendent—
You’d make more as a john attendant.
This has been the decree of Fates
From Homer up to Butler Yeats:
Obscurity and empty purses
Shall dog poor fools who write in verses.
You only turn this trade to bucks
By teaching it to dumber schmucks.

About Joseph S. Salemi

Joseph S. Salemi has published poems, translations, and scholarly articles in over one hundred journals throughout the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. His four collections of poetry are Formal Complaints and Nonsense Couplets, issued by Somers Rocks Press, Masquerade from Pivot Press, and The Lilacs on Good Friday from The New Formalist Press. He has translated poems from a wide range of Greek and Roman authors, including Catullus, Martial, Juvenal, Horace, Propertius, Ausonius, Theognis, and Philodemus. In addition, he has published extensive translations, with scholarly commentary and annotations, from Renaissance texts such as the Faunus poems of Pietro Bembo, the Facetiae of Poggio Bracciolini, and the Latin verse of Castiglione. He is a recipient of a Herbert Musurillo Scholarship, a Lane Cooper Fellowship, an N.E.H. Fellowship, and the 1993 Classical and Modern Literature Award. He is also a four-time finalist for the Howard Nemerov Prize.