The Devil by Christopher Iacono

The mouth contracted to an arrow-like point,
a ghastly smile played, eyes flickered
like the eyes of a snake, shrill laughter,
a thunderclap crashed, a lightning bolt
flashed through the night, fire blazed
up the wall, the rafters, through the roof—
horrific unendurable smell of sulfur—
winds striking up roundelays for a grisly dance,
every peak, every crevasse howled and roared
mingled with the tortured moans of the suffering.

 

Source: Jeremias Gotthelf, The Black Spider, translated by Susan Bernofsky, NYRB Classics, 2013, pages 30–62.

Method: I wrote down all of the phrases in the book that contained strong imagery and re-arranged them to tell a story. Since this was a poem, though, I wanted to create a certain rhythm, so I trimmed some of the phrases or combined two or more that originally didn’t belong together. I also played with enjambment.

Christopher Iacono lives with his wife and son in Massachusetts. You can learn more about him at cuckoobirds.org.

Eleven Questions By Christopher Iacono

Know that you are in my heart, but what even is this shirt?
Soak in the sweetness.

Are eReaders really green?
So much winter white it feels like a fake hospital.

Big game?
German expressionist epic.

How will he spin it?
Language must be played with.

Feeling social?
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.

Can you solve the puzzles?
The wind is a fickle mistress.

How do you pick your “favorite” books?
Draw from a deep well.

Isn’t this the best sign?
“Eyes on stalks” and “ice shifts at the poles” are my fave lines.

Love Vegas?
Some things make your eyes sparkle.

Broken dragon?
At Lincoln’s waffle shop.

Don’t you remember how we embraced his virile sensuality?
She says she doesn’t want to fuckin’ talk to you.

 

Source: Various tweets posted January 19-20, 2017.

Method: To craft this poem, I took questions from tweets and then answered them using text from other tweets.

Christopher Iacono lives with his wife and son in Massachusetts. You can learn more about him at cuckoobirds.org.