Technical Notes

by James Laughlin

James Laughlin

Catullus is my master and I mix
a little acid and a bit of honey
in his bowl love

is my subject & the lack of love
which lack is what makes evil a
poet must strike

Catullus could rub words so hard
together their friction burned a
heat that warms

us now 2000 years away I roll the
words around my mouth & count the
letters in each

line thus eye and ear contend in-
side the poem and draw its move-
ment tight Milton

thought rhyme was vulgar I agree
yet sometimes if it’s hidden in
the line a rhyme

will richen tone the thing I most
despise is quote poetic unquote
diction I prefer

to build with plain brown bricks
of common talk American talk then
set 1 Roman stone

among them for a key I know Ca-
tullus knew a poem is like a blow
an impact strik-

ing where you least expect this I
believe and yet with me a poem
is finally just
a natural thing.

Last updated November 02, 2022