"Lover," "You Will Take a Strange Journey," and "Elegy for the Pig"


Come, tell us your story of romance.

If you only have a bad lover,
then a bad lover it is.

You discover him among
the easy men, stick him away
with memories of evenings and gin.

In the opera of the bad lover,
he sings an aria of fists.

In the rodeo of lousy amour
he’s the bronco that busted you.

When anyone asks,
you say he’s a prince.

Come, tell us your story of infatuation,
the saga of how it collapsed.



You Will Take A Strange Journey.

You will call it “my Life.” It will begin with a brief second your parents call “childhood” that you will misremember ever after.

You will endure an even shorter moment known as adolescence. You will masturbate. You will feel like a stranger even among your friends.

This will be followed by a few years of promiscuous sex and experiments with mind- altering substances.

It will then be time to, as your aunt says, “grow up.”

You will choose a meaningful profession, which as it proceeds becomes painfully boring. Or take a stopgap job, which will turn into a lifetime of labor. Or you will find a way to never work. This will be called being a lawyer.

You will or won’t have children. This will elate or dismay you. Or both.

…at 70 you’ll plant olive trees… *

You will watch TV. You will fall ill. You will wonder about death. You will find out.



Nazim Hikmet



Elegy for the Pig

After we give the painted concrete pig to the dump,
our white headlights scissor the trees at the limb line

while over us leaves rustle like the dresses of prelates.
We do not mimic the clatter of the rock and creek.

We are silent, devout in the landscape but we sink
and sink, silent as schooners, not because of the pig’s death,

which after all hasn’t happened, but because our possessions
peel and crumble and must be tossed out,

because our sell-by date moves with us silently
like the presence of leaf fall and shipwreck                prays over our lives.



Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of four books, Reading Berryman to the Dog, Discount Fireworks and The Mercy of Traffic and On the Way to the Promised Land Zoo, and five chapbooks. See her work on line and in print and in recent anthologies Untold Arkansas, 50/50, Fiolet and Wing: an Anthology of Domestic Fabulist Poetry, Purifying Wind and Poems in the Time of Coronavirus (PITTOC) Vol 2. For more information, check her web site at www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 23:17