p o e m s

k e v i n  m c f a d d e n 

To be great is to be misunderstood.

I bet it’s true, Emerson. Too bad. God’s

too big to estimate, dress unrobed.

Greatness is to dote, bob, dim out, re-

store, ebb, a too-odd gesture in mist,

to grab onto tidbits (seed, ore, muse)

and gibber. O tides, O meteors, totus

orbis, mein Gott, déesse, art, O doubt,

Tao, dross, bromides, bite tongue! Et

tu, Emerson? So it’s great to be odd, bi-

odegrade into ribs, testtubes. Moo

to be tiger misunderstood, O beast,

O song mistreated. So be it. But doer,

deed are one big orbit. Toss utmost

reason out, it’d better be good. (Miss

most, but so?) A desire to be God inert,

to be soirée absurd, totems doting

in sedate bedroom grottoes. But is

it great to be so misunderstood, be

moot? outside sense? to brag dirt? be

modest bores? to diatribe tongues

tied? Dog mottoes, rabbit neuroses:

sit, be obedient, taste good. Rumors

run aside doom, boost getters, bite

gottens. Bid me adieu. Boots resort

to ties, bodies but to Emerson. Drag

mud in. Obsess. Edit rot. To be great

is not “odd I,” “obstruse me.” To be great

is to resent to be misread, but good.


In God we trust.

Wind gust tore

dirt, new gusto,

wet grit, sound.

Dust grew into

stud, grew into

student. “I grow

rust,” God went. “I

wrote its dung

tune, word gist.”

During set two,

unit two, dregs

went turgid. So

we grind stout.

Twist or nudge,

endow, tug, stir,

now sit, trudge

its rug. We don’t

trust gin, do we?

Trust wine. God,

true swig, don’t

grind us to wet

guts, not weird

strong wit due

west. I do grunt

its grunt. We do.

Worst tune—dig?

We dug. Snort it,

we’d string out.

Strung, we do it.

We trust doing.


Our cares are non-mighty I utter theirs are real.

Our anthems are coy ring trite theirs are a rule.

Our hymns are ocean-grit errata theirs lie true.

Our sutra gem-rare their chants are elite irony.

Our charm attires are tiny are gone theirs lure.

Our terms irritate theirs are Herculean agony.

Our ires are ethnic organs theirs rarely mutate.

Our nothings are eerie tar theirs ultra creamy.

Our tears are thorny urine theirs relate magic.

Our games are corny hint theirs are true retail.

Our canyon a rash rut theirs e’er err legitimate.

Our grins are arch yet no theirs laureate merit.

Our true achings are Troy-men their era is later.

Our chains are grey theirs turn Rome retaliate.

Our canons are grim they lie theirs are true art.

Our myths are ignorance, theirs are literature.


I like drama eaten in.

Lake air. I need a mint.

I like a dinner, a tame

Ariel diet, a.k.a., in men.

I like a dent, a marine

mania. I drink eel tea,

mandarin tea, i.e., like

karate, a lime, dine-in

linen. I take Madeira.

Make it adrenaline. I,

real Medea, I, anti-kin:

alienate me. I drink a

martini. A keen Delia

(I mean Ideal). Ink tear

in a tinker. A made-lie

in a limeade. In a trek,

a dreamlike tie-in, an

entree. I’m Kali. Naiad

(I mean Diana) reel kit.

Like in Ariadne. Mate

like a tread-in (I mean

meat) inner Aïda, like

a like. (I mean trade-in.)

I like a maiden rent, a

Lear kinda matinee. (I

mean real kinda.) I tie

inner kite, I, dame a la

Iliad. Tie an arm, knee.

Tie ankle. I marinade

And I eat men like air.


DANGER: torture-wheel from God

Geometer. DANGER: world of hurt,

of grudge, rant, theorem. Lord, we

err, the twofold garden/morgue.

Deer regret word-of-mouth, lang-

uage of Grendel, rod, term, worth,

the deferred growl or moan, gut-

felt word. DANGER: rogue mother

tongue, the germ-drawl of order,

lewd tome. DANGER: error fought

(wrought) from degenerate lord.

We get our danger from the lord.


Mistletoe. A sinus and nose nag.

Annual toast, send sense. I go (I’m

me) I toast angels and eons in us:

Mais ou sont les neiges d’antan?

Minnesota, I guess. A stolen and

osseous Atlantis. Endgame Inn,

instantaneous end-image, loss

antenna. Sing adieu, Moses. Lost-

soul Dante. Miss Antigone. Sean

and Susie someone. Titan’s lang-

uage. Edison. Samson. Sin-latent

Genesis to sin-stale Adam. Noun-

noise, damnation (see LAST SUNG)

LATIN MASS, sunset gone, Oneida

gone. Santa: issue a Milton, send

Aeneas on, omit guns, send a list-

less Auden again soon. Smitten

Stein. Amos and Longinus. Tease

out a sage, Mann’s sin. Send Eliot

(Ness, I nag). Sad Montale, Suetoni-

us, stem to Galen, Adonis, insane

Mendel’s ingenious oats. Santa:

send Sienna’s saint, a mute logo

to emulate, snag Donne as is, sin-

gle out a Sistine Madonna, sens-

ual Sistine son. Send a montage:

Montaigne, Antaeus’ solidness,

Anansi legends, stem to Ausoni-

us so eminent, lend Asia at song

in T’ang sunset, do see Mona Lisa,

Statius, no-sin Magdalene, nose

Douglass to a saint seen in men,

mingle Issa, Onan, snout-teased

Tantalus, Minos seeing sad eon

alongside eon. Santa: semi-stun

us, send Gaia most salient, neon

sign, Masada’s sentinel, one out-

side time, St. Anne, a saloon-sung

sonata, Eumenides slogan (isn’t

it a silent one?), sun gases, monad

magnitude session. Noel, Santa:

send genuine stamina, toss Lao

Tsu in, Nemesis, steal Onondaga

nation’s dismal tongue, sense a

sentiment, a Delia, Sassoon gun-

stung, Miss Aïda, not seen, alone,

netted Massai, sanguine Solon.

Santa: sling in Dumas, see to one

Degas, note Nin, toss in a Samuel

Adams, Einstein. Stone us, Logan

assassinated line (“Not one”), mug

us at Mingo no less. Santa: I need

Amadeus, Seton, St. Agnes in lion

den, Sousa: glisten a Minnesota

sleet. Santa: I go (I’m us), send Anon

anon, send a testimonial guess,

a suit-design salesman—not one,

nine, I assume—sane, old, tan togs.

Santa: loan sense, I mistongued:

les neiges d’antan is moot, a sun-

melted season, guano stain, sin

in sunglasses, an emotion date

to designate man’s soul insane,

an egotism-laden onus I assent

to, insulted, amen. Sing a season,

Santa: guise me, dissonant, lone,

guise me in stone so natal sand

don’t assuage me, insolent, asin-

ine dementia. Santa: gloss us on

d’antan (angel’s noose, semi-suit)

gloss us on dementia (insane at

a mass dialogue; tennis, no nets)

gloss us on Santa (eminent idea)

gloss us on Satan (main Eden tie).

“It is lonesome,” Santa sang—nude

and insistent, Moses analogue

sans Mount Sinai, a nestled ego—

“‘Tis a delusion, man’s tense agon,

antagonism’s sundial.” See note.

Santa: send someone, a linguist,

menial assistant, endogenous

stooge, send an amanuensis til

a muse nods, intense. Nostalgia

is a tan suit, a lessened gnomon,

man’s odious tangential sense.

Nostalgia is a—no, needn’t mess, u-

nison is an utmost agenda, else

salad sonnets, a genuine moist

intention, sensual massage. Do,

Santa, not send Emanuel (go Isis)

send a missile, Santa, no tongue.

Nostalgia is no Eden. Same nuts

(sound) same senile antagonist

(us). Nostalgia’s a dense mention,

snail message. Toast innuendo,

toast noun amnesia, slid genes.

Santa: use a slim notion, e.g., send

data to lessen insomnia, genus

ingenious, antedate man’s loss

at lingo, denouement. Assassin

saint, send us a neat neologism.


Swing low, o airline ad.

Wow, Iona isle, darling

soil. Wow, an ideal ring,

gloriana isle. Window /

aisle. Inward, I glow on,

aerial. Wow, Innis Gold.

Wow, Innis Idol aglare.

I saw wild onion, large

long rows, awe inlaid. I

own a wild region, sail,

wallow, reign, I, Adonis

alias Lord Ego. Win-win,

win-lose or again wild

Darwinian will. Goose

gander. I sow. I nail. Low,

swing low, o ideal rain.

Wade low, original sin.

IRA island, woolen wig.

Asinine goodwill war.

Wow, a land is religion.

Wow, idle slogan in air.

Wow, Ireland is a lingo.

Wingward, solo, alien, I...

I will arise and go now.


The Child is the Father of the Man.

Hot-hand, hit-fit, fetal schemer, he

hatcheted his mother. Half feint,

half hint-craft, O she teethed him.

Teased. Her fifth month ache: hilt

from inside. Hatchet heft. Health

is detachment. Hah! Flee! Thrift, Ho-

ratio! He fends the hatch, left him-

self. Anthem chief, he that’d hit or

meet his end, he hath filth or fact

on his fire, he that’d fetch Hamlet,

thrash deft men. Hail to the chief.

The fatal hitch? Other men fed his

childish hate often. Harem-theft,

life-shift, he hadn’t a mother. Etch

that on his arm. He’d felt the chief

ache. His men he fed rot, that filth

fathers hid: them that leech info

letch; them that fish info adhere.

He, the off mind, he that cries Halt!

Thief, thief! He hath clad mentors,

hath hitmen, fear-clothes he’d fit.

The Child is a Father then, of Them.




©Kevin McFadden


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