Poem – John Newton

The Assassination of Kenneth Koch


At old St Mark’s, in the bowels of the Bowery, he reads from his
mighty poem for peace, wherein are contained, by his own
all the Pleasures of Peace that there could possibly be.
He jiggles about behind the lectern, he waves his briar
the idea of peace is really catching on
until, with a flourish of car horns, the doors burst open to
grant admission
to the scuzziest hippies in the Northern Hemisphere.
‘Tear down the Terrible Institute,’ shouts Ben Morea.  ‘Death
to irony!’ Listeners squeal at the gun’s report
and Leroi Jones flutters down from the balcony.
The poet, God be praised, is safe: ‘Oh grow up,’ he says,
donnishly, ‘you have the wrong man, I am a lyric poet
from Cincinnati, the child of Keats.  Why, the city is teeming
with calculating and unhappy poets.  Shoot one of those!’


John Newton

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