LIT 101

The dawn, drawing itself up

the brick wall, begins conjuring

graffiti out of the dark that bore it.


A blocky weave of leaning letters,

bursting with blood orange arrows,

shock red spikes,  and vampire violet


stars,  it explodes outwards in 3-D,

like an organ ripped from a feverish body

and smashed against these grimy bricks.


A memorial, perhaps, for an urban crime,

bubblegum pink petalled flowers

are springing up in and around


the drippy gold and copper tags

thrown there by Lil Dash’s crew :

“I wuz here. I wuz here. I wuz here.”






My roommate’s for her Classics professor,

Sam Miller. After class, they discuss the orgy.

Lynn leans over coffee-stained desks,

sylphlike sway of her blond shoulder-

lengths of hair,


as they analyze Aristophanes’ belching

and farting sequences. Sam’s research interest:

imagining the caress of an indolent slave.

Lynn’s the tickle of an ostrich feather


at the back of her throat. Gag reflex.

She drags me along, virginal companion,

to his East Village flat, to meet

his wife who hovers, a suspicious Hera,


pinching out our candles, as waxy drops

slide down each slippery stick.


Beneath the last, flickering halo,

I feign sleep, stowed away on a folding cot,

amid toppling piles of Greek tragedies.

Lynn tokes grass. Conspicuously


choking as if on a small bone,

she solo dances, smoothing her limpid,

silk negligee to cling like second skin.

Making small, reassuring adjustments,


she pats down raw panels of futuristic blue

over breastbone, erect nipples.


Fingered by moonlight, fat-bellied Sam

comes creeping past a hallway poster

of Janis Joplin who screams, “Come On, Come On”

like a Fury blossoming from a humid wall.


In the blare of a naked light bulb,

the lovers’ shadows sweep over my tingling skin,

merging to form a hermaphroditic giant

who vanishes into the psychotropics of  a Nile green



bathroom with a sink in a low-lying counter

and a sliding dead-bolt to secure the door.


I splay open books, some pristine,

some dog-eared, some bandaged with tape,

lazing about me on their demotic backs.

Grabbing the sewn spine of one that flops shut,


my fingertips, trembling like an initiate’s,

begin to stroke the grainy hide

of a slaughtered calf, tooled with golden tattoos

like the flanks of  a Nubian concubine,


that bears this stamp: Songs of Innocence

and of Experience: Shewing the Two

Contrary States of the Human Soul

that I will dream of, in cursive fits and starts,


etching hieratic scripts

on the Empire State Building all night long.



Charlotte Hussey is a well--known English-language poet in Montreal who has published before in Montreal Serai. Her latest book of poems is Glossing the Spoils (Awen, 2012).