Published at
Cover Library Poetry A Hot January

Truffles and other poems

Duane Locke
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink
The stones in his mouth did not interfere with speech.
It was a Grecian method for improved oratory.
He spoke in the agora among bins of squash and live snails.
The squash was wilted, the snails crawled toward wet forests.
The prophets were discussing the sweet honeysuckle smell of heaven,
The professors, semiotics, discussing how all speech was futile.
A fat man, a baritone, listened to the high notes of small birds,
Aphrodite appeared by the lettuce bin as a girl of fourteen,
Anchises looked at Aphrodite, yelled out the name “Aeneas.”
Everyone was drinking Chianti, chanting about the birth of Italy.
A sage said, “Before all those tenors DeLucia, Bonci
and the rest are born, Rome must fall, Lavinia must be born.”
Rimbaud, one legged, was hopping around, looking for leeks
To bang against his head, derange his senses once again.
Apsyrtos, still in tact, not yet chopped apart, observed
“Time is out of joint,” he wondered if the phrase would be repeated.
A Slavic Teutonic blonde wearing a bishop’s hat
Kissed the ashes of the not yet born G. Bruno carried in her hands.
A prognosticator, sitting at a table next to curled iron railing.
Predicated that the odds were 250 to 1 that all in this outdoor café
Among the potted geraniums, drinking wine and laughing
Would be blown apart before the sleeping owls woke up.
She discussing the tortures of the old sinners,
Tantalos, Tityous, and Sispyhus, became perturbed,
Said to her lover that they should have gone to the art museum.
“The art museum was always a safe place.”
“No,” her lover said, “The art museum was blown up last week.
Works of Soutine, Modigliani, Chagall, and Dufy were destroyed.”
“Orphism, the Eleusinian mysteries said a happier life would be found
In an afterlife when we are dead. No one throws bombs in the Underworld.”
“But there is reincarnation, and we have to return to this world.
I am going to study the Orphic writings, for these writings give
Instructions what the dead should say and do to avoid reincarnation.”
“Let us both go to the Temple of Delphi and seek Apollo’s answer.”
“Pythia is stern and arrogant, speaks in riddles like postmodern poets.
I wish we could stay here in the open air, watch the sparrow peck
In the dirt around the sidewalk trees, continuing our laughter,
Drinking our wine, although this Shiraz is not very good.”
No one had noticed that the dirt around the date palm was loose.
Some one had buried a bomb. At five o’clock, the bomb went off.
This room in Eos house without windows,
The door tightly secured from the outside.
The food no longer shoved in through the trap in door,
For old Tithonos is immortal, not eating will not cause him to die.
When immortal Tithonos grew old and ugly,
Eos, a goddess eternally young, shut him from her sight.
Eos spends her time at the corner bar sipping Campari,
Waiting to find a young man as beautiful as the young Tithonos.
Tithonos is now 2,000 years. He is so old his wrinkled flesh
Has disappeared, even his aged bones have disappeared.
All that is left of Tithonos is his voice. With his voice he sings
A Lehar song from Paganini, “Girls are made to love and kiss.”
“You are a different woman after this midnight.”
“You were only five foot, two when you jerked back
The top of the two egg-yellow sheets
covering this eider-down mattress.”
“I have said you looked like a goddess, and I named several,
You know Artemis, Athena, etc.; but then I was only using
A trope, speaking figuratively as if from a rhetoric book,
But now, I believe when I use such endearments now
The endearments are literal.”
“Now you are as large as a Swede that Felleni exaggerated
In a poster placed in the middle of a city.”
“Your blonde hair brushes off the cobwebs on the ceiling.”
“It is proverbial wisdom that when a mortal such
As a Trojan army officer as I am has sex with a goddess,
The consequence upsets the Greek myth moral sytem.
The role of dominance had been reversed,
And I will suffer for upsetting a pre-established order.
I don’t want to suffer,
Be a cripple the rest of my life,
Or in the future with a mortal wife have children
That are born blind.
Aphrodite, have mercy,
Have mercy,
Let me live a normal life to a normal old age.
But let me not suffer all my life, let my offsprings have to suffer
Because I had this one short moment of supreme happiness.
I beg you, Aphrodite, have mercy.”
Aphrodite said nothing, but became five feet, two again
And left the room, laughing.
Out with the pigs, she had discovered
The pig’s snouts had scraped away the concealment.
The truffles in the wild looked different than truffles
In a trompe l’oeil,
Although lacking in architectonic elegance and textural
Exquisiteness and a fastidiousness, the wild truffles prevailed,
Although the earth had tarnished their surface brilliance
And social finese, these wild truffles would elicit
The praise of a robust aesthetician for their psychological
And philosophical depth rendered in a style mystic and apocalyptic.
The girl, disheveled from the excitement, left the truffles
As the pigs had discovered, left the truffles for the pigs to eat.
Table of related information
Copyright ©Duane Locke, 2003
By the same author RSS
Date of publicationMarch 2004
Collection RSSA Hot January
Readers' Opinions RSS
Your opinion
How to add an image to this work

Besides sending your opinion about this work, you can add a photo (or more than one) to this page in three simple steps:

  1. Find a photo related with this text at Flickr and, there, add the following tag: (machine tag)

    To tag photos you must be a member of Flickr (don’t worry, the basic service is free).

    Choose photos taken by yourself or from The Commons. You may need special privileges to tag photos if they are not your own. If the photo wasn’t taken by you and it is not from The Commons, please ask permission to the author or check that the license authorizes this use.

  2. Once tagged, check that the new tag is publicly available (it may take some minutes) clicking the following link till your photo is shown: show photos ...

  3. Once your photo is shown, you can add it to this page:

Even though does not display the identity of the person who added a photo, this action is not anonymous (tags are linked to the user who added them at Flickr). reserves the right to remove inappropriate photos. If you find a photo that does not really illustrate the work or whose license does not allow its use, let us know.

If you added a photo (for example, testing this service) that is not really related with this work, you can remove it deleting the machine tag at Flickr (step 1). Verify that the removal is already public (step 2) and then press the button at step 3 to update this page. shows 10 photos per work maximum. Idea, design & development: Xavier Badosa (1995–2018)