Homage to the Memory of Donald Justice

by Will Schmitz

1.

Iowa City is a pit, with or without your absence.
The undergraduates, film students and dull lesbians
Make the idea of art here, impossible to imagine.

The workshop kiddies are looking more
Like they’re onto the latest 5th rate writer
And the best in deviant sex.

The halls you once walked so unpeacefully,
The halls so successfully haunted by
The insane Spenser professor,
Are now the antechambers of more aggressive, less classy
“Professionals.”

Topsy-turvy land did not come
Titan missiles did not leave their silos
And there’s been a backlash of order.

Faltering guises and sloppy lives
Still compete to line up
Before Jack’s door.

The creatures refuse to give up control
So I think I’s better get out, too–
I’ve no talent for turning screws.

2.

The Bijou has a lousy calendar. There is
Some young, strong, peachy pussy in town
But I have no money. Who’s around to offer
An accurate history of Keaton’s voice problems now?
Will the screenplay about the aged D.W. Griffith
Ever get written?

3.

The old poets are finished,
Those holding out
Against the horse pushing through.
The kids refuse to hear
The frogs and birds cracking jokes about them
As they happily negotiate the English Department halls.
Back before their stereos, they nod approval
As Coltrane attempts to leap, screech, and bleed.
“Can you do that?” they could ask.

The old poets are finished–
They were pretty good
But didn’t hold on:
Baudelaire, Kavanagh, Rimbaud
Are too tired
To shout the bourgeois pranksters down.
Who’ll carry it on. Schmitz has retired.
Who will save us from
40 more years of muck.

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