Need I say more?

Epigrams by Jon Corelis


You start out young and strong and bold

and end up doing as you're told.


It's fine to write a poem a day,

provided you throw them all away.

A meditation

I’m going to die.

God knows why.

The Construction of Sexuality in Classical Antiquity

An ancient Roman bard, or vates,

highly praised his puer's nates.

But since this poet was the doer,

he counts as straight, unlike the puer.

Booby prize

The nice guy’s role

in the scheme of things

is cleaning up

after the flings.


The victor triumphing recounts

(lest pride should mar his fame),

"It's not to win or lose that counts;

it's how you play the game."

But losers, when they drown their shame

in truth-provoking booze,

will groan, "Fuck how you play the game:

it's whether you win or lose."

On the death of an enemy

Unjust, that this will happen to me too,

who am so much a better man than you.

Simonides: Epitaph for the Spartans at Thermopylae

from the Greek

Stranger, report to the Spartans

we lie here, mission accomplished.


I sometimes cannot help but wonder

why God doesn't speak in thunder.

Callimachus: Heracleitus

from the Greek

The news you were gone, Heracleitus, brought me to tears:

I remembered how many twilights we'd worn out together,

talking the sun to his rest. And now, I suppose,

you are nothing but dust, old friend, in your home far away.

But your nightingales are singing, too quick for the touch

even of death who robs us of everything.

Callimachus: Credo

from the Greek

I hate political poems. Not for me,

the human wad that clogs the great high way.

A love that's everyone's business? Forget it. A drink

from the common trough? No, thanks. The public: yuck.

Four for the academy

On a post-structuralist critic

"The author," he proclaims, "is dead." A braver

mind would do the critic the same favor.

On a radical professor

Such championing of the oppressed

seems odd from someone so well dressed.

On academic poets

Their verse is thoughtful, workmanlike, close-knit,

well-crafted, socially aware, and shit.

Contributor note

...whose poetry reveals an inner world that reaches

beyond our socially constructed beings. Teaches.

Assignment: Write a poem containing the word “vole”

If I should fall into some hole,

I probably would find a vole

demanding what I’m doing there:

there’s no place for me anywhere.

Archilochus: The shield

from the Greek

Some Thracian soldier's got my shield;

I tossed it when I ran away.

So fuck the shield. I'll get one new

and fight again another day.

Another version:

I jettisoned my gear

when I ran from the recent strife,

so I'm out the price of a shield:

not much to pay for your life.

The Marquis de Sade

The Marquis de Sade

was decidedly odd.

He provides some diversion

if you share his perversion.

Else better let be

that appalling Marquis.


Tobacco, liquor, and women are bad for you,

so I’ve quit smoking. Someday, liquor too


Born: "Don't WANNA!" Dying: "Don't WANNA!"

A statesman explains

Mistakes were made.

Critics were stilled.

Bribes were paid.

People were killed.

Elegy for the Sixties




Annales Volusi

after the Latin of Catullus

The Volusian “Saga of Rome”

has a place in every home,

since “The Saga of Rome” by Volusius

makes a wonderful wipe for your tooshius.

Desert State

Nevada, despite what some think,

is rather a bore:

there's not much to do there but drink,

gamble and whore.


Freedom isn't what it's cracked up to be:

you find out what you're made of when you're free.

Allotted Span

Three score and ten –

and then?

The rose

from the Greek anthology

The rose blooms only briefly when it’s born,

but when it’s died, you’ll always find the thorn.


from the Greek anthology

Kiss my ass, world, after I’m dead and gone.

No reason I should care what’s going on.

All material on this web site copyright © 2013 by Jon Corelis