Dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages

The Iowa Review - - CAMILLE GUTHRIE -

O God I am so fat I cry all the time A kit­ten scrubbed with a tooth­brush on­line makes me sob I’m so heart­less seven species of bees Are now en­dan­gered and I didn’t do a thing Didn’t even send any money To any­body do­ing any good And I can’t lose any weight I skipped yoga I’m so hot all the time so broke So pa­thetic no wise in­vest­ments Should’ve bought a 7-Eleven on a busy cor­ner When I was seven or eleven No­body wants to lick my neck No­body wants to hold my hand at the doc­tor’s of­fice No­body to grow old with me I’m so crabby To pluck my beard feed the cat I don’t have And read me end­less Rus­sian nov­els at night All the ones I still haven’t got to so greatly de­press­ing Where are you hand­some? Are you Driv­ing in your car to come visit me Bring­ing a bot­tle of wine and a present so gal­lant? A new trans­la­tion of Akhma­tova? I love it! No? Well, I guess it’s bet­ter than liv­ing In the real Mid­dle Ages when Some shit­head priest threat­ens you with hell To pocket your last coin and there’s no Tylenol So you have to suck on some skull­cap seeds And knights race around knock­ing you down To take your maid­en­hood with pointy lances And you have to work as a midwife with no birthing tub No­body washes their hands or votes No­body knows about DNA or PMS or NASA There’s noth­ing to read even if you can read Ex­cept bor­ing doc­trines or Spir­i­tual Ex­er­cises By Gertrude the Great, I’m not even kid­ding Yes, there’s Dante Chaucer and some sagas But it’s not like you’d get near those books You’d be lucky to have some jerk re­cite

The lat­est by Wulf­s­tan the Can­tor by camp­fire Just be­fore he be­heads your un­cles And forces you to rub salve on his abs You know you’d be sweat­ing in a field at twenty-two Dy­ing from your tenth preg­nancy by the bailiff Courtly love? Not a lot of it I bet Some doc­tor would drill a hole in my head To let the demons out be­cause I’d be full Of Black bile as I am to­day It would be a very hard time When the sun re­volves around the earth And kings are just un­be­liev­ably self­ish And it’ll be a re­ally long time be­fore Pop Art And meerkat videos and cot­ton candy And sex­ting and fish tacos and girl bands Ev­ery­thing’s just so bad and you have buboes Hope­fully I’d get shoved into a nun­nery To have some ec­static ex­pe­ri­ence with mys­ti­cal Je­sus Or bet­ter I could be a hard­core sa­mu­rai Lay­ing down jus­tice on the heads of cor­rupt lords But that was tough work, dirty work You’re work­ing for no­bil­ity who at any pe­riod In his­tory are the worst peo­ple in the world And to be an un­em­ployed ronin had to bite Sun­day af­ter­noons no mom around to make you soup Even if all the brothel ladies want to scrub your back Some­times you just want a nice nap And some Neosporin on your wounds, ah If only I could be like the di­vine Sei Shonagon ¯ Re­s­plen­dent in silks with seven-lay­ered sleeves Writ­ing in my room about pol­i­tics and my lovers I wish, okay, I could be her ser­vant Tidy­ing her pa­pers and fluff­ing her pil­low But even she found many hate­ful things About liv­ing in the mid­dle ages Like cry­ing ba­bies messy guests and mansplain­ers So ir­ri­tat­ing even way back then You bet­ter shut up and take your medicine

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