Queynte by John Repp

Larry Bronson & Norman Jennings, in memory

Teaching the Canterbury Tales,
Larry made queynte clear

without grunting cunt.
Larry & Norman loved opera.

They bade me welcome
over martinis, settled

the stylus on Tosca & sipped.
The gin helped me like it,

a little. Their love was quaint,
decorous, a bit silly, at least

with the tiny public of me.
Ambiguous where it is so

& the one just word when not,
queynte doesn’t translate—

palpable Chaucer’s delight,
that voiced final “e” enriching

“t” as our cunt can’t. Try it
& you’ll taste & see.

I read every word of Chaucer
in the scrumptious Middle English.

I couldn’t believe I did it
even as I was doing it,

my love operatic. I made no
progress with Verdi or the Great

Chain of Being that November,
Larry & Norman settling me

in their house while they did
the San Francisco Marlowe seminar

& bussed over to the Castro
after Dan White killed Harvey Milk.

Over Christmas eggnog, they raved
about the wild dress & undress.

Of course, nothing translates.
My Prioress paper made clear

things Larry had never seen.
People kill for bikes, heroin,

& that old stand-by: nothing,
which equals what no one

can do to further funkify Alys,
the Wyf of Bathe, swich a lusty oon

these six hundred years—nineteen
billion seconds during each of which

a single, witless word could get you dead.

John Repp has just discovered The Modern Lovers though they haven’t existed (apart from Jonathan Richman’s occasional labeling of pick-up bands “The Modern Lovers”) since 1976. What cultured human could resist a lyric such as “Pablo Picasso wasn’t an asshole/not like me”? He has also just discovered Eva Hesse, whose fierce artistic conscience and consciousness he wished he emulated more frequently. He writes poems and really short stories and regrets having given up the trumpet when he was seventeen. A nightstand anarchist in his younger years, he considers himself a nightstand Buddhist now.

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