The Mad Yak by Gregory Corso
I am watching them churn the last milk they’ll ever get from me.
They are waiting for me to die;
They want to make buttons out of my bones.
Where are my sisters and brothers?
That tall monk there, loading my uncle, he has a new cap.
And that idiot student of his — I never saw that muffler before.
Poor uncle, he lets them load him.
How sad he is, how tired!
I wonder what they’ll do with his bones?
And that beautiful tail!
How many shoelaces will they make of that!
I was an English major in college. One of the last English classes I took was Advanced Poetry Writing which was taught by Charles North. The class was a great combination of poetry reading and writing. The class introduced me to many of my favorite poets and some poets that I’ll probably never appreciate.
I’m not sure where Corso fits into that spectrum but I think I’m a fan. I like the tone he creates in this poem, the tension. And the fact that you never, for one second, question the reality of a yak talking OR being mad. And yes the guy who read the poem aloud in class did raise my opinion of this poem with his dramatic reading of it.
Now that I’ve read We Are Not Eaten by Yaks I think this poem amuses me even more.