Mudlark Poster No. 25 (2000)

Alexandra Yurkovsky

Serving Up Cage by the Pound

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

Serving Up Cage by the Pound

(aka 'Homage to John Cage, via EP's 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

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