Eugene Ostashevsky

The Unraveller

I met an unraveller from an antic land
his device was a broken ampersand

              his beaver was grand, with him was a band
of bandits in pompadours layered and fanned

Their mouths smoked cigarettes a.k.a. fags
The horses they rode on had several legs

They jumped over bogs, fell into logs
Sometimes they fell on top of their dogs

Where their horses had hopped, there was nothing crescent
Their scimitars were like so many crescents

I said, “Hey unraveller
Digger or Leveler

Abelard, caviler
reveiller, reveler

You got blinds on your eyes like slopes on a parabola
Your middle name is Levolor
Why you be behaving so irregular?”

He said, “Alas, Alas, I am the Prince of Aquitaine
In my chest is a guava, in my nostril a plantain

Those you see in my train, each one is my thane
There’s one that cries choochoo but he is insane

As for the rest of them, they’re just inane
They got a group portrait from the Bros. Le Nain

So we ride up and down valley and lane
Everyone we meet we a) kill b) maim

But I wasn’t always like that
                                            I used to be pretty
My hip was like the Centre Georges Pompidou
                                                                          like SFMoMA my tittie

My hands were like the Iglesia de la Sagrada Familia
With my pelvis everyone was familiar

and when I strolled after dinner I was so happy
All the kids on the block called me, Pappy! Pappy!

At breakfast a wood nymph in furry slippers
rustling my forest of newspapers

I read of amputations, assassinations
castrations, decapitations, defenestrations

depellations, eviscerations, flagellations,
infibulations, strangulations, violations

and other mutilations most favored by nations
as they make orations among carnations

Till once, after I had almost stepped on a turd
I realized there was evil in the world.”

       I’m in debate like the fish in sea
I said, “Hey Tin Man,
                                 you got a psychological deficiency!

You ride around waving your scimitar
knocking down every perimeter

so that you’re everyone’s, to put it in Greek, nemesis
and all this is an act of mimesis?

You’re acting like a character from Theodore Dostoyevsky!
Thus proclaim I, Eugene Ostashevsky!”

But his face was the prisoner of his beaver’s grate
and I could not extrasubstantiate

whether my tirade had made him irate
or whether he thought it was JUST GREAT

The whole situation on my nerves started to grate
To stand there and prate did me denigrate

He valued himself at too high a rate!
Did he think there were no other kumquats in the crate?
I decided to break his pate!

Pushing off with the wishbone around my prostate
above his head in the air became I prostrate

I stomped on him like a jack-booted mosher
until he turned to kasha

whereupon his band drove through my face 50 lances
so that I looked like a cross-eyed man
                                                            casting 1,225 lascivious glances

No, I did not—like devochka Masha
convert him into a dish of kasha

nor did his band drive through my face 50 lances
to make me look like an entomologist
                                                            in reverse circumstances

He just cut off my head
and now I am dead
and writing the poem you just read




"The Unraveller" is reprinted from the collection Iterature (Ugly Duckling Presse).