Of Course

Martin Arnold

I like the way mutiny rebels against sense
By sounding as elegant as a chorus

Of bodies jumping ship, though of course,
They leap by sword.

Revolt doesn’t have mutiny’s music—it’s coarse,
Like cocking a gun or being seasick.

Mutiny is birdsong, mu-tin-y,
Sound shipmate to another phrase I love

The complication of: ethical anarchy.
Ethical, with its surgically Greek precision,

Anarchy of the ancient & landed, epic & thuggish,
Though in the course

Of ordinary usage both are dangerously ambiguous
Or rather ambiguously dangerous

(like both in the last stanza).
I like how sexy language is, the intercourse

Of grunt & idea, & you don’t have to know
What you’re saying to say something,

Or maybe I like how dangerous that is.
In one hand Prometheus offers fire

& in the other disease, & of course,
We take both.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro
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MARTIN ARNOLD has moved back to his home state of New Mexico after a stint teaching literature at American University. His poetry has appeared in a number of journals, including Crazyhorse, Mississippi Review, and Southern Poetry Review.