It was the heyday of vermin:
weasel for Police Chief, mouse for Mayor.
Pestilence reigned, and frenzy.
Then came the administration of cats,
followed by the rule of dogs.
By the time of monkeys, an afternoon dolor
gripped the city. Its denizens
lay about, picking lice off their genitals.
This was remedied by the advent
of humans. Now streets were cleaned,
feces piled up and dumped
beyond the city; all hair swept clean
from neglected streets.
It was the dawning of a new age!
Then came the reign of the lowly virus.
Kurt Brown’s first full-length collection of poems, Return of the Prodigals, was published by Four Way Books in 1999. He lives with his wife, the poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (2000)
Kurt Brown is founding director of the Aspen Writers’ Conference, now in its thirtieth year, and of Writers’ Conferences & Centers, a national association of directors now in its sixteenth year. His poems have appeared in many literary periodicals. He is the editor of several anthologies of poetry and critical prose, including the forthcoming Conversation Pieces: Poems that Talk to Other Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, 2007), co-edited with Harold Schechter. His poetry collections are Return of the Prodigals (Four Way Books, 1999), More Things in Heaven and Earth (Four Way Books, 2002), Fables from the Ark (WordTech, 2003), which won the Custom Words Prize, and Future Ship (Story Line Press, forthcoming in 2006). (updated 4/2006)