The Bells

by Harrison Fisher

The Bells

The Bells

He has powers over animals like darkness itself
poorly understood. “An obscenity, indeed,”
the angular priest sniffed through his ennui.
Look, he whisks her away, the oldest family

un-daughtered across the pocked land.
One of our party was rent; the purple flowed.
A carriage tumbled over a hill and burst into flames.
After basement food, a toast to our mission

burst into flames. Out of sight, a gram sufficed,
aslant just long enough from heaven’s accusatory tilt.
Character creation and destruction as it must occur:
“I beg you to free me.”

The hunt is on to find him, the moon made orange
by the villagers’ profusion of torches, but,
demobbed, the folk are cows in the night again,
the bells round their necks chime damply, and

they lag, damping the search, hoping to find
nothing but lush grasses under their hooves.


Alcohol, Dating, and Evolution

I’ve slipped off the clade
into the evolutionary bush.
Is Homo habilis pretty enough to date?

Are her lovemaking skills a real rush,
or, having her, will I just hope
to get my hands again on Neanderthal’s big tush?

In this hominid free-for-all and public grope,
I see by my action figure I intend
to rise above Homo erectus, that dope

over there with his Australopithecine friend.
They can’t get the girls.
They’re a real dead end.

Suddenly the bush whirls;
think I’ll have to drink through this drunk.
Gigantopithecus rears back and hurls

a bottle. Now I’m elbowed by Piltdown Punk—
dirty, mouthy, baseball-capped simian—
Get outta here, ya little fuck.

See the woman over there with Los Angeles Man?
Think I’ll wander over and lean against her
backwards while watching the band.

Now this bouncy Neanderthaler
jumps up before me and makes a stand,
starting to holler why didn’t I call her?

I don’t know why I didn’t call you,
it’s just . . . I’m so modern, so much taller,
it was just one time, one so-so screw.
Only to myself do I have to be true.

About the author

Harrison Fisher was born in New York City in 1954. He received his M.A. from the Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University in 1976 and held an NEA fellowship in poetry in 1978. He has published twelve collections of poems, four of them book-length: Curtains for You (1980), Blank Like Me (1980), UHFO (1982), and Poematics of the Hyperbloody Real (2000). In 2023, he has had new poems appear in Amsterdam Review, Apocalypse Confidential, Misfitmagazine, Otoliths, #Ranger, and other magazines. He currently lives in upstate New York.

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