Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Tuesday poem #445 : Camille Guthrie : A MAN OF LEGEND



Remember when you were tutor to Nero?
You burned so hot in your linen robes

That soul patch Wayfarers and sarcastic wit
He blamed you for the Great Fire of Rome

Merchant sailors tell tales of your beach body
Sing of the battle you head-banged a Kraken

With its tears, it drowned an atoll populated by Sirens
That was a sad day in Old Oceania

Nine Medieval volumes dedicated to your cheekbones
Ten thousand Latin lines concern your swagger

Three out of four monks sweated over the verbs
Painstakingly transcribing your butt in bike shorts

This 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia relates
Your early training with Imperial masters

Master of kickboxing, archery, Bulgarian raiding
And sixteen arts of seduction, whew! I’m spent

The Seven Sages of Greece prophesized
The Bulge of His Biceps in an 12,000-line poem

12,000 graduate students are decoding it daily
No one will survive or graduate on schedule

Neither fire nor flood nor neglect nor bookworms
Can touch the Legacy of the Moneymaker

Or misinterpret the Epic of Your Bits at this moment
I’m retranslating the original manuscript




Camille Guthrie is the author of four books of poetry: Diamonds (BOA Editions, fall 2021); Articulated Lair: Poems for Louise Bourgeois (2013), In Captivity (2006), and The Master Thief (2000)--published by Subpress. Her poems have appeared in such publications as At Length, Boston Review, Interim, The Iowa Review, On the Seawall, The New Republic, Tin House, as well as in several anthologies including The Best of American Poetry 2019 & 2020. The Director of the Undergraduate Writing Initiatives at Bennington College, she lives in rural Vermont. 

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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