Friday, February 19, 2016

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Duck

          Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Duck
          By Nathaniel Hellerstein
After Wallace Stevens

Among sixteen stinky swamps
The only quacking thing
Was the beak of the duck.

I had three opinions,
Like a pond
With three ducks upended.

The duck flew through the spring sky.
It was a small part of the parody.

A man and a woman
Are two.
A man and a woman and a duck
Are three.

I do not know which is worse,
The humor of inflictions
Or the humor of innuendoes,
The duck quacking
Or just after.

Zephyrs riffled the river
With civilized silk.
The beak of the duck
Bobbed it, up and down.
The mood
Drew from the ducking
An explicit effect.

O fat bears of Frisco,
Why do you imagine black birds?
Do you not see how the duck
Waddles around the feet
Of the gays about you?

I know bogus antics
And crazy, incredible timing;
But I know, too,
That the duck is involved
In what I know.

When the duck plummeted to the ground,
It marked the edge
Of one of many squares.

At the sight of ducks
Flying through strobe light,
Even the bards of dissonance
Would giggle giddily.

He drove around Kankakee
In a rusty rental.
Once, a laugh gaffed him,
In that he mistook
The reflection of his ride
For ducks.

The wind is blowing.
The duck must be diving.

It was dawn all day.
It was raining
And it was going to rain.
The duck paddled
In the lily-pond.

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