Spit you have to spit in the face of every writer who knocks on the door with his
teacup says I’m sorry sir may I have your permission to write sir you have to spit.
My oath is I’ll die with my hand on the oxford bible
My president’s name on my tongue like the last town I sacked
I’ll fall on my sword so well I’ll put rome to shame
I’ll wait for your donkeys to crazy and trample me home
Your men will tattoo my face on their feet when they wardance
Your women will stitch my name in their linens and soil them
Each town you name in my honor you’ll name smithereens
Each elm you plant me will wilt me a portrait of leaves
And when it’s your turn to kiss the rings of the bone thief
And when manhattan is dross and piled with grave goods
I’ll death so well they’ll say dying is ripping me off
I’ll finger my name on your tongue like it was your first born
Danniel Schoonebeek was born in the Catskills. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House, Fence, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review, The Awl, Publishers Weekly, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. He hosts the Hatchet Job reading series in Brooklyn and is associate editor at PEN America.
Author’s note: “His Induction” comes from a collaboration with poet Osip Mandelstam, who died in 1938.