Mudlark Poster No. 25 (2000 and 2001)

Alexandra Yurkovsky

Serving Up Cage by the Pound (2000) and Conclusion (2001)

Alexandra Yurkovsky has had poems in CHIRON REVIEW, FISH DRUM, HQ (UK), and MODERN HAIKU among other magazines. Her reviews have appeared in the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW, EAST BAY EXPRESS, and SF BAY GUARDIAN.

Serving Up Cage by the Pound

(aka Homage to John Cage, via Cantos I-LXV, minus Canto XVII)


Then sat we amidships, wind Jamming the tiller

Under black fur-hood, lithe daughter of Ocean;

And the Buccentoro twenty yards off, Howling 'Stretti',

Choros Nympharum, goat-foot, with the pale

    foot alternate;

Ectaban, the Clock ticks and fades out

(Seventh of Poitiers, Ninth of Acquitain).

To Dante's 'ciocco,' brand stuck in the Game

Slanging Each other sous les lauriers:



To the effect: Did he think the campaign was a


And the pOor devils dying of cold, outside Sorano,

And he put us under the cHiefs,

And we sit here uNder the wall,

Kung walked by the dynastiC temple

The stench of wet coAl, politicians

the great scabrous arse-hole, shittinG flies,

And before hEll mouth; dry plain



Must give up their Jewels, and take this money in paper,

And they said: Oh, we can't have it,

The Viel Held close to his side;

As is said in Cosimo's red leather Note book. Di sugello.

ANd he said one thing: As it Costs,

Auto-chenille, destroy All bacteria in the kidney

but when you Get him back in Ferrara find out

1255 bE it enacted;



'And in any case get the Job done.

One man is dead, and another has rotted his end Off

Having made all things He cd

To Nicolo (ainé) Pitigliano

Compleynt, Compleynt I heard upon a day,

'I remember having written you while Congress sat at Annapolis,

le compte du Gouvernement... Monsieur Saint-Libin

and a single Emperor, equally arbitrary, bloody,



'Monsieur Adams,' said the Emperor, 'il ya cent ans que Je vous ai vu.'

So some subaltern gave the Order to fire

That is so proud He hath Love for a name

'Thou shalt Not,' said Martin Van Buren, 'jail 'em for debt.'

His Holiness expressed a polite Curiosity

    as to how His Excellency had chased those

Spring overborne into summer

    late into spring the leafy Autumn

'never Gather together

From the marshes, by Circeo, where no one Else

    would have drained it.



    2 Jan 1622

            Cenzo Grcolini

things, persons et Omnia alia juva


any peasant while He works with the same.

With usura hath No man a house of good stone

    That day there was Cloud over Zoagli

And for three days snow cloud over the sea

The red flame going seaward.

    By this gate Art thou measured.

is rather good at imitating the sergeant

Rain; Empty river; a voyage,



    Leopold cut down the debt interest

and put the Jesuits out

            and put end to the Inquisition

in Our eye.

And I have told you of how tHings were under Duke

            Leopold in Siena

the FIVE grains, said Chin Nang, that are

    wheat, rice millet, gros blé and chic peas

So that Tien-Tan Chose bulls, a thousand

And TCHUN the new Lord was dying

    but Awoke to name Li-Chun his heir

SUNG died of levying taxes

    Gimcracks, SUNG died under HOEI the slider

And Malacca came into our Empire,



Without asking what forces my action

    you are, indeed, subJects of a great realm

De librO CHI-KING sic censeo

So the Jesuits brougHt in astronomy


his fourth soN, to honour his forebears

Acquit of evil intention

    or inClination to perseverance in error

towArds sending of Ellsworth

To John's bro, the sherrif, we lay a kind of word

    in passinG

Jurors refusE to take oath



(aka The Last Pound of Cage, via Cantos LXVI-CIX,
along with Canto XVII previously omitted for lacking the required 'J')


game is not very plentiful. Dined at Amiens

         put up at Abbeville. Dover view. Mr. Johnson

      Whereof memory Of man runneth not to the contrary

How shall the plow be kept in hands of owners not hirelings?

... if the Neutrality, a minister to all neutral courts

                      might be useful

                      Dec. 31 Amsterdam 1780

Countenance only enemies of our constitution.

      set our seamen ashore at St Jago de Cuba

A German ambassador once told me he cdn't bear

                                                                        St Paul

Fear God and the stupidity of the populace,

but not Economic system'



      not fishin', Just watchin' the water,

By the square elm Of Ida

      40 geese are assembled

I Had not loved thee half so well

Ain' committed No federal crime,

               jes a slaight misdemeanour'

Zeus lies in Ceres' bosom

When with his hunting dog I see A cloud

Gemisto stemmed all from Neptune

         hence the Rimini bas reliefs

        Si tuit li dolh El plor



Versus who scatter old records

               ignoring the hsien form


                     and Jump to the winning side

'Dumheit, nicht Bosheit,' said Old Margherita

      (or Elenor? dowager)

      If I Had known more then,

         cd/have asked him,

It was Saturday, the 1st day of April, toward Noon,

And to know Whom to trust,

                              Ching Hao.

                              Animus humanus amor non est,


                        doubling the pine, and to cloud.

and that Every plant hath its seed

      so will the weasel eat rue,

      and the swallows nip celandine



or as above stated 'Jagged'

         l'amor che ti fa bella

... treaties Of commerce only,

      Blue jay, my blue jay

Alexander paid the debts of His soldiery

Aether pluit Numismata

Melik & Edward struck Coins-with-a-sword,

Agada, Ganna, Faasa


Till the blue Grass turn yellow

and the yellow leaves float in air

– and some Habsburg plowed his imperial furrow

                        Eu ZoOn –



(Junipers, south side) M. Talleyrand

               spruce and fir take the North

keines...e Orgei. line 639. Leucothoe

1850: gt objection to any Honesty in the White House

Na Ki talk made out of wind noise,

Is this a divagation:

                     Talleyrand saved Europe for a Century

And was her daughter like that;

The azalea is Grown while we sleep

nurse of industry (25 Edward III)




Pro Veritate...

                  curtilagia teneant,

                              enough land About each of them



      Out of Phlegethon!

out of Phlegethon,


         art thou come forth out of Phlegethon?



One man is dead, and another has rotted his End off

Hints: 1) This poem figuratively does exactly what the title states: it serves up John Cage via THE CANTOS of Ezra Pound.  2) Capital letters within lines, as well as certain initial caps, may be significant in performing this service.

Point of Interest:  JOHN CAGE is an 8-letter name. Using it to create 8 stanzas of 8 lines generates a 64-line poem. The I Ching is built from 8 trigrams. Combining them generates 64 hexagrams. As someone directed to chance operations by D. T. Suzuki's Zen lectures and the I Ching, Cage undoubtedly would have enjoyed this fact.

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