Jody Azzouni



Earlier version published in Barbaric Yawp 4:3, 2000
Added 7/24/2021
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Poem | Jody's Notes


I am no semi-god. Not even thirty, and already

my shoulders ache. Achilles brags

about his descent from Zeus, his mother

the nymph. Meanwhile,

I watch the bastard

trample over scatterbrained heads,

his feet boulders in a bloody flood.


Like a bird dying in a cliff,

I have called down from the walls.

I have tried to settle this thing

in a reasonable way,

while crowds of Greeks taunted me,

yelled up at us that he fucks

twenty sheep in an evening.

“Zeus is good,” the morons at home keep saying.


Meanwhile, I wake half-dead

in my wife’s blue-cold arms,

light already screaming the news

that Achilles is waiting,


the earth groaned apart

by his clam-meat legs, his eyes

rolling in their sockets like animals,

his arms slaying rocks, earth, anything at all,

until our soldiers come, and his companions

can point him in the right direction.


“Zeus’ brat,” I yell in the temple.

The cowardly priests hide

while I poke at Zeus’ statue,

and speculate (at the top of my lungs)

that Achilles is a posthumous birth

conceived by Thetis while she straddled

Zeus’ corpse, pushed his dead meat

up into herself.


“His great-grandson,”

some idiot hisses, crouched behind an altar.

I run him through as a kindness:

no Greek will fuck him now.


This is it. I have been the knot

long enough. I put on my armor

for the last time,

say good bye to my son, my wife, my world,

go down and get it over with.

I am no river,

no brainless avalanche.

I am only a man

snuffed out by something

with all the intelligence

of a finger.