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Viscous Verses #137

August 3, 2021

Justin Burnett

The Place of a Skull

The unfortunate


Drives me like a comic Jesus

Making a scene, brandishing

A switch, playfully

Chasing away the other poets,

Cutting up


In a brave New Testament

He shall sell;

A coquet

With so many

Substances in

His beard, hushing rumors

So they spread,

His long hair

Girlish, posturing

His two front teeth upon

His lip as

He’s flagellated

By the hulking

Centurion. Passionately,

I don

His crown, laurel

Stuck into the brier,

Blackened by the fruit.

“Hosanna!” They pick me up

And place me

On the back of the ass,

Fanning me with palm,

And trot me off

To Golgotha,

To watch the fulfillment

Of my career.

Justin Burnett is a house painter from Marblehead, Massachusetts, who now lives in Salem. This month he is featured in 14 International Younger Poets, edited by Philip Nikolayev, a new anthology from Art and Letters.

Viscous Verses is edited by Raquel Balboni and Ben Mazer (

Check out all the art and columns of July's Boston Compass at


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