I gave him a record of Schwarzkopf singing Mozart.
Neither violence nor potatoes equaled art.

He (the beloved) said “Awful voice.”
Without coat hanger I had no choice.

Thus was destroyed my long-thrashing vehicle.
I rented a baroque tricycle,

its punk obbligato somber.
My name was suddenly Cucumber.



Five tiny hairs in his ear.
I sat down on my riesling-sanctioned bier.

Though he’s young, too young for ear hair,
the godchild loved kugel, vengeance, and soccer.

The song (Mignon’s) went on too long for nudnik tastes.
Crucial: cancer hadn’t hit her lung, though das Land laid waste.

I based my unbuttoned shirt on her newfangled malady.
Chipmunk teeth correspond to funk, three steps away from fatality.



Roommate rapes roommate: nostalgia dictates Agent Orange.
Improvisation, if you’re eviscerated, is quasi-strange.

“Value-laden,” the dwarf said, his chin a crapshoot.
Big-boned Monroe Wheeler sucked George Platt Lynes’s manroot.

Too warped, vibrato tarnishes Acheron golfers.
I fucked the son of a Rolfer.

Son and I ate whale; Rolfer remained mum.
I won’t choose a recipe requiring cardamom.

Listen to Wayne Koestenbaum read “Distant Incident on Paper with Square Holes”


Wayne Koestenbaum has published twelve books of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, including Hotel Theory, Cleavage, The Queen’s Throat. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Poet’s Recommendations:

Poems of the Black Object by Ronaldo Wilson.

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