South Fork Poetry: ‘Hate Mail’

By Carol Muske-Dukes

You are a whore. You are an old whore.
Everyone hates you. God hates you.
He pretty much has had it with all women.

But, let me tell you, especially you. You like
To think that you can think faster than
The rest of us — hah! We drive the car

In which you’re a crash dummy! So
Why do you defy our Executive Committee
Which will never cede its floor to you? If a pig

Flew out of a tree & rose to become
A blimp — you would write a poem
About it, ignoring the Greater Good,

The hard facts of gravity. You deserve to be
Flattened by the Greater Good — pigs don’t
Fly, yet your arrogance is that of a blimp

Which has long forgotten its place on this earth.
Big arrogance unmoored from its launchpad
Floating free, up with mangy Canadian honkers,

Up with the spy satellites and the ruined
Ozone layer which is, btw, caused by your breath,
Because you were born to ruin everything, hacking

Into the inspiration of the normal human ego.
You are not Queen Tut, honey, you are not
Even a peasant barmaid, you are an aristocrat

Of Trash, land mine of exploding rhinestones,
Crown of thorns, cabal of screech bats!
I am telling you this as an old friend,

Who is offering advice for your own good —
Change now or we will have to Take Measures —
If you know what I mean, which you do —

& now let’s hear one of your fucked-up poems:
let’s hear you refute this truth any way you can.


   “Hate Mail,” from 2012, is included in “The Best of the Best American Poetry,” out earlier this month from Scribner. Carol Muske-Dukes lives part time in Springs and teaches English and creative writing at the University of Southern California.