Putting The I Back Into Irish

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The Captive Butt
after Czeslaw Milosz

When an approved committee of three PhDs in
Creative Writing, English and Political Science
have spent the required laboratory weeks
ensconced with your every thought, word, deed –
and found nothing of consequence –
your buttocks will be authorised
for a Literature Foundation supported
tour of the bigger bits of the United States.

Sometimes both cheeks together,
on discussion panels:
Can Poets Be Bought?
And who’d want one anyway?
co-Chaired by the cadavers
of five Professors of Comparative Literature
at Johns Hopkins or Stanford.

Other times each going their separate way –
gluteus maximus number one
whimpering out
its latest free verse tribute to itself
to rapt dozens
up and down the eastern seaboard –
part town crier, part infant in need of winding –

while its equal and opposite,
if slightly more pimpled, twin
talks its way in and out of the Celtic
Studies Departments of every University
from Vancouver to Caltech
on the topic How contemporary Irish
literature is putting the I back into Irish,
to the orgasmic applause of students
named Erin and Megan
forced to attend for credit.

Kevin Higgins

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