Some Cruel Epigrams in the Roman Style

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I wrote these poems inspired by Catullus and Martial as a freshman at Harvard. Their wit is mean-spirited but sharp, like the Roman originals, and the collection as a whole is meant to be taken light-heartedly. I apologize if anyone finds these vulgar or offensive; the poems are juvenile, but there’s something about them which makes me smile.

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Dear Neighbors

This school being Harvard, why do you still need this warning?

Turn your fucking music off at night and in the morning!

We’ve begged and we have pleaded, but our efforts are discarded.

You’re either quite forgetful or you’re either quite retarded.

NB I would never use this language now, and apologize for the offensiveness. It’s from 2001 and in the tradition of vulgar Latin epigrams which were very crude. I actually wrote this on the whiteboard outside my neighbors’ room, just as I wrote the subsequent poem outside the bathroom.

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On Jason

Jason is a sportsman boasting muscles taut with power

and recently has taken up cavorting in the shower.

I couldn’t help but notice that you recently smell clean,

But humping girls in common baths is dirty, low and mean.

We do not want, oh Hercules, to bathe ourselves in sperm,

So find another puddle when your pants begin to squirm.

With any luck you’ll meet a partner worthy of your class,

An inchworm longer than your dick who’ll crawl right up your ass.

***

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On Jonathan

You creep in rooms, dear Jonathan, and vanish into air,

but tragically, you lanky sneak, your stench proves that you’re there.

They say that you are part giraffe, but I say that it’s foolish,

for while they only sport black tongues, the whole of you is ghoulish.

***

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On Trisha

I hear that you sport hairy legs, just one of many fibs.

Your legs are smooth, but not the slime that clings against your ribs.

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On Patrick

Patrick hasn’t got a chin, but when it comes to farts

that fellow’s stench has all the power of a pygmy’s darts.

His new girlfriend, Evangeline, is always where he goes,

for while he hasn’t got a chin, she hasn’t got a nose.

***

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On Erica

Erica is fetching as she paints her luscious lips,

fetching as a dog with hairy jowls and giant hips.

Why spend so much time applying makeup to your face?

It’s all to no avail, since your buck teeth smell of mace.

***

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On Robert

You’re always late to section and your questions waste our time.

In my eyes you’re nothing more than pock marks greased with slime.

***

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To the Dancing Woman at the Club

Dancing to the rhythm of the music is an art,

but not when you’re a floozy over sixty and a tart

whose partner is a pumpkin who can only move his back.

Your dancing isn’t dancing, but a rhythmic heart attack.

 

 

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All Consuming Fire (Or, Gagging)

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Dude, do you remember when we two went out for food,

we’d both run out of things to say and to repair the mood,

between texts on your telephone, betraying you were bored,

you said, “Eat that wasabi,” thinking that you’d be ignored.

But I wanted to prove to you that I was macho too,

and yearning to seem interesting, knew what I had to do.

Hesitation conquered, I devoured a heaping glob

then forced myself to grin and cover up my hidden sobs .

I stared at you impassively, although I was a liar.

Inside my heart was blazing with an all consuming fire.

I started seeing double and my jaws began to gnash,

internal flames infernal torched my boiling guts to ash.

Repressing every instinct, I behaved like all was normal.

I flashed a friendly smile at you and kept the night informal.

Despite such piercing flames I thought my soul itself would melt,

desperate to impress you, I concealed what I felt.

Your eyes brightened like summer skies, impressed that I was strong,

but when we paid the check and left you found that you were wrong.

I stumbled down the sidewalk spraying vomit left and right.

Anyone around would think that I was drunk that night.

We staggered to your room and I collapsed onto your bed.

I wondered if the hole in me would make me wake up dead.

But then you stood beside me and you even squeezed my hand.

All in all, the evening turned out better than I planned.

I didn’t know it at the time but soon our time would end.

But I would always have with me the memory of a friend.