J. Paul Dutterer

The Tsar is Triste

Put your monocle in mothballs
Sell your 200 % madness half-price on
The blackened market
Wear the jewelry of stability
Stock your family album with images of
Robust offspring—yours
Kiss every relative good night
But do not be sad, dear kaiser
Even modernism dies sometimes



Baudelaire at Graceland #1
(Zombie Flick)

One palsied hand clutched to his chest
A Napoleon of syphilis
(though other dandyish diseases trailed in his wake)
His henchmen distributing spores to the passersby
And there’s nothing else new in Memphis.

Arriving 35 years too late
Baudelaire finds no king
Only a carnival embalmed in amber
Fossils of a magnificent explosion

The proposed merger flounders upon
These simple facts
Epic of endless loss

O ether and bile, popcorn and brass
The opiate taste of golden death
Is already presiding here


Baudelaire at Graceland #3

Have swagger still? Then vanish somehow.
Don’t be great forever.
Platinum and polyester: the very soul
or earthly nothingness.
Forsake the butterfly who
lives in headlines, or not at all.
Give your name to the corpse
and your legend to the moss
creeping yellow in the
purgatorial afternoons.
Eternity, open the cash box
Of 8-track notoriety and
number these
brownish bananas
among the stars.


Graybeard Physics


40 years of bodily fluids imperious
40 years I’m a slapdash titan
+ X # of seconds glimmering ahead=
I can’t do the math anymore

Mudslides never go north
Gnats cannot scoff at snow
And all the while chromosomes are
Power-walking in the
Direction of the grave.
But immortality? It’s funny—
The debris on my eyelashes is
older than the
frothy white volcanoes
of Jupiter



Maples wandering as
Nightfall hesitates
Stuck in the crevasse,
All the travelers are me.
Of the down slope
Chasing pinprick suns,
We can still constellate
With godly dignity







J. Paul Dutterer is a poet and short story writer with an unused guitar in his closet and heaping piles of collages in his basement. His stories have most recently appeared in the anthologies Of Burgers and Barrooms and In Medias Res. An employee of the book and music industry, he lives safely outside the Baltimore area.