Rerun Vulgarium Fragmenta
For Shalaka


After finishing fragmenting
The Canzoniere, P.
Was secretly sure
Nobody is Unhappy
Against their Will.

WB, foreseeing deaths,
Amongst the wild beat of Wings,
Was certain Wisdom’s
Not a pallid Kestrel.

Or praying Angel
Free falling,
Till the catch-up
End. Splat!
Against the flat
Edge of Round Earth,
Fallen apart.

That tinnitus was
Fucking uncommon
Old Uncle Tom
Noise-making in the chimneys,
Roughly playing S. Claus?

And Ezra, Master Secretary
To a middle-aged Monument,
Fiercely resisted learning Anything
About becoming one.

Rooted out of his country’s history,
After 13 years as an impacted wisdom Tooth
From a Perpetually Swollen Lower Jaw,
He finally won a prize
But wanted only Ice
For that suffering-puffed face:

Black Shirts!
Revolutionary Brothers
Around the World!
So sweet it is to
Escape the Lonesome
Asylum of the Skull.



Capito sees the Trees
Recede from his

Birds reduce to flickers
Of Neon. Shadows
In the Unguent Haze.

Urgent Bellows
Of the Herds,
The metallic Squeal
Of Nerves
From Packed Buses,
High-stacked Trucks,
These are the Music Makers
At work, turning the wheel
Of the Aging Cheese.

Rancid with Blue Veins,
The brush-stroked
Stain spreads
A Stench of Great Beauty
For the Visiting Epicure.



Capito reprises Hans
Who would have been almost
Four Hundred and Seventy
If only he had just forgotten to die,
Retraces the trajectory
Of his Life
From High Cheese
To High Cheese.
From Dancing Death
To the Black Frontispiece
Of the Protestor’s Common
Book of Hours.
To the sudden color
Of  the women with Dead
Eyes cowering under
The gaze of the Great Pig,
His eyes rolling
In a Royal Trough:
Always ready to be
Unhappy in or out
Of Love,
Ever ready to be Unwise.
Rock Continents
With an uncertain Cock.
Change the chameleon
Shades of his gazingstock God.
And add up, add up
The treasure troves of His
Chosen Vicars on Earth.



Capito Cocks
His Gun.
Aims it at the
Clown in the Mirror.
Hey Brother,
I’ve got you covered!
Just give me the Word,
Any Word,
When you get to
Where Enough is Enough.

And Hans rallies to
The Awk Wards of Middle Earth.
Their cries of:
Painter, Painter,
As a portrait Emerges
Of Absences in the Pictures
That are finally beginning to burn Now:
… et del mio vaneggiar vergogna Ë 'l frutto…

And Shame is the Fruit of Our Vanities
In our Vernacular,
So what if I didn’t say it first?


Scuola della Magia
for Adil

You know old Pliny’s pretty sure
Achilles’ hometown girls
Knew the magic words
To bring the moon down.
And that lost Menander
Was the Magus
For that trick.
So you think
Giacomo’s mind was on
Thessaly as he listened
To Sylvia’s laughter?

Old Pliny’s also certain
Magic originated with
One Zoroaster,
Though he is unsure if the poet
Who wrote 2 million verses
Playing I-Spy with
Was really

Man! The old-timer lists a
Second Zoroaster
(And the first Osthanes)
Who travelled with Xerxes
In his War train to Greece,
As The One, probably!

Wait, there’s more:
There was a second Osthanes
Who Followed Alexander to India
With his own bag of tricks—
Though the second Menander
Who became Milinda
Without abracadabra
Did not record any of his
Thoughts about Magicians.

O anima mia! Ecce Homo Crofardi!
All this Disputa before
Magical remedies for toothache:
Grains of sand from snail horns
Dog’s eye tooth
Dragon vertebrae

And all this Disputa
Though the old ipocrita himself advises
Any fuss is unwarranted because
Magic is such pauvre philosophie  
Even Nero abandoned it.

And never mind that first Nero’s hang-ups
About Incitatus and the
Linia cesarzy – centaurów
Or why Rzym runął
That old P. would call
The magic of a Polish Zoroaster
If he could speak now.

Though you think Zbigniew
Could have made his lines rock
Even more than they do
If he had imagined
The magic in her eyes
As Caesonia eyeballed
That horse’s giant cock?

So we are at the third Z, already,
Fine but guys? ZZZ? Really??
Taliban Redux buddies!
Good times!

Why is there no magic
In this Trojan war?
Why just the pitiless
Sword of Dsykolos
Agamemnon turned inside out—
Laying waste?

The great fire at Balkh
Was no magic trick
Though it is gone now
(It disappeared under the
Shade of swords).

One poet born in Balkh
Sacrificed his “angel-soul”
To please a God who’s still saying
Not enough, not enough
Though he did not
Know which One He was,
Or His number.

No walls
Of that
Stanza della Segnatura
Still stand now,
But the uncontained light
Of the philosophers
Shines on the iced mountains
With a sprezzatura that
Rivals R. and all his Friends—
Sanzio da Urbino and his
Urbane Courtiers
And Capito can see
The correspondence
Between two scenes.

That scruffy old man firmly
In the centre
Needs a bath tub
That will reflect the glow
From the jeweled globe
In the hands of
Balkh’s Old Master
And that Drone
Readying to fire
On the unwilling bather
From above
Has all the firepower
Of One but can go again
A second time.



[Max Ghiara began writing poetry when he was 12 and had a book out before he left High School. After reading mathematics and economics at university, he obtained an MBA and a PMP from Ivy League universities and went walkabout in the cold, for Mammon, all over the world. These poems represent his return to Sulis Minerva.]

Copyright © 2012 by Max Ghiara, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.