Four Poems by


Harrison Fisher





“I Fought Once Again for Dejah Thoris”


                            —Edgar Rice Burroughs, from A Princess of Mars


With my back against a golden throne,

I ascended my declivity

and sang out,


and sang out

with bloodthirsty sword

my undescended canticle.






The Mean of Mean Things



The first first-grade class

that petted a bunny to death

went on

in second grade

to stone some neighborhood dogs,

knock down a crossing guard,

wring the neck of a city park swan,

and thrill-kill

the crabby old dodo

of Main Street

with plastic safety scissors,

Elmer’s Glue, and oilcloth

until they were

rounded up

to face the music,

uncomely grubs all—


and I disavowed

a sunny day

misspent in my youth

carrying caterpillars

to set on a railing

and divide

clean in half

with fine string.






The Human Condition


                                    “I’ll ramble around and describe it all.”

                                                      —Horace, Epistle I, 16


When I started reading poems for real in the late ’60s,

there were a lot of dick and cunt poems in magazines.

Women wrote these as often as men.  The words

sounded harsh, genitally blunt, as if to punch their readers

into seeing that this wasn’t just sex, it was the poet’s

real emotions hanging out there, so hairy you could touch them,

and, by doing so, feel that this was the poet’s love

being so frontally described—original, raw, and instructive.


I never much liked dick and cunt poems, so I

happily report their drying up over the last fifty years.

I never much liked the word “asshole” either, and

I never used it until, finally, around the age of 40,

under the intense pressure of a world

impinging on me from every direction, I let go

of my distaste, pronounced the word aloud with the pleasure

of liberation, and, being a tireless observer of human

behavior, have barely stopped saying it since.






Zero Sum Economy



Years ago, when stores

were closed on Sundays,

there was something

not restful

but inert

at the core of that day.


Not to cause upset, but I think

I accidentally threw out

the entire repository

of human knowledge

yesterday, Sunday,

Black Sunday,

Bloody, Bldy



—Vexing loss, the pronation

and supination of the dawn horse.


Recomposed for the work week,

the sudden death

of my neighbor

tries to diminish me

in our once-ballyhooed


that required ultimately

unlivable buy-in.


A is for A

in the literal world.









Harrison Fisher has published twelve chapbooks, pamphlets, and full-length collections of poems since 1977.  The four full-length volumes are Curtains for You (1980), Blank Like Me (1980), UHFO (1982), and Poematics of the Hyperbloody Real (2000). 



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