Poem #3: Prose poetry chain

Johnny Horton


As if regression undid neuroses, or backwards was the new black, a buzz
bewitching all the trendiest night spots, revolution altered your personality.

Caesar took liberties with so many ladies he forgot about the past—a box
defining the space in which Brutus would act. Like Oedipus with a vow
enucleated his eyes, the latter ran off, carrying nothing but a suicide shiv.

Fetching Mark Anthony's dogs, Octavian came to power, like a son you
got on with, like Octavian this; Octavian that; Octavian occupied Egypt,
hell-bent for Cleopatra. After that, everybody settled down like statues,
invested in the Forum, putting their names in stone. Every other senator
jabberwocked around the rostrum like hickory dickory dock with an IQ.
Kinesics could kill. Nero killed his mother, never having known his pop.

Litigation was another way to chase away the blues, another way to go
murderous, frighten off your sunny weather pals. Pretty soon, the nation
needed heroes who weren't so easily confused. You couldn't get a room
over the Rein—the barbarians didn't fool around when it came to sexual
politics, populating the Schwartzwald like rabbits, pushing to the brink,
quixotically plotting Latin's improvement, as if they'd invented the J.

R.I.P. crossed everybody's lips like recipes. Darkness fell like confetti.

Spaghetti was in the distance, beyond the Magna Charta, beyond math
that used a zero. You were better off watching water wheels spinning,
underwriting windmills, propagating feudal systems. The average serf
ventured less than a mile from home for fear of getting lost. Romance
wasn't heard of yet. Your typical knight-errant usually meant the end,
X's where your eyes had been. If you used a simple woodsmen's logic,
yawning tempted demons, as if puberty was lycanthropic, as if a dumb
zoomorphic chicanery discontinued dreams, woke dreamers like apnea.

Read poem #4

Johnny Horton

Johnny Horton spends every summer poking around the ruins of Etruria and ancient Rome. He's published poems in, or recently had poems accepted by, Notre Dame Review, The Indiana Review, Willow Springs, The Evansville Review, RE:AL and The Laurel Review. Recently, he's been the recipient of residency fellowships from The Espy Foundation, Casa Libre and The Ragdale Foundation.