T.A. Noonan

from The Ep[is]odes: a reformulation of Horace



Your body is a rotten world, whore—your black tooth, wrinkled forehead, cunt gaping like raw cow’s ass. Crumbling, you still inflame me with your fallen horse tits, prone belly, swollen thighs, legs like an afterthought. Be happy. You death will be triumphant. You will never wed, but no branch has ever had rounder berries. Some keep their philosophy books between silk cushions. Illiteracy doesn’t halt the study of wetness, of nerves in the tourniquet. The dick is no less hard when dumb. But to raise the proud voice of my groin, your mouth must team with words.




There is nothing in front of me, [       ]. I need help with my poems. I’m struck by a serious love, by boys and girls soft as porcelain before the fire. This is the third of December. The forests and I have shaken our fevers—theirs for leafy dress, mine for a river-king’s daughter. I was the shameful story of the city, the joke of every party. I pity the friends shoved to the back of my mind—especially you, who listened to my complaints. It must have been those hot tears and all that shameless wine that made a mad god of me:

“All she wants is gold, but there’s no money in genius. If only I could sweat out this black bile. My pride. Throw war to the winds. I’m better than her solicitors.”

How ruthless, this self-praise. You told me to go home, but I was born with aimless feet. Alas, no friendly threshold, just—oh!—a throbbing body, broken loins. Now, I’m gripped by a new love who glories in his girlish charms. No friend or insult will free me. What I need is new heat, the kind only smooth-haired boys and girls can create.



What do you want, you black whore worthy of elephants? Why do you send gifts? For the record, I’m wrinkled but not fat and don’t possess a strong nose. I am, however, savvy to the tang of squid and goat in your hairy pits. It doesn’t take a sharp dog to find a pig. There is nothing but conquest and sweat and stench here. My dick is soft, but you need to fuck me. Little remains of your wet chalk makeup; your crocodile-shit skin is showing. You race toward your sow’s climax, tear the roof off your bed, bitch:

“When you’re with your precious wet princess, you come three times, but not even once with me? What kind of lesbian madam sends me a pussy when I want a bull? If only you were like that other man, the defender, the one whose cock was as hard and steady as a tree clinging to wild hills. Who do you think ran that lush purple fleece to your door? I did—to prove that you’re a prince, my prince. That I’m more than just another escort, another lovestruck tramp. Oh, it breaks me to see you fly from me, like a lamb from sharp wolves, a kid from lions.”


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