27 poems from


The Qualms of Catullus & K-Mart


Don Cheney




selected by Bill Luoma


cover drawing by Rose Anne Raphael





Before you steal something from your city call it gold.



Passersby! My woman is delicious!

With premium delights to dare my appetite.

I only eat the most insatiable morsels

and my desire has not ended but

my stupid car quit running like a car

and now my only solace is money.

I believe it is gracious to acquiesce to love

and that loving animals cures arthritis.



No one says that my woman is not nubile,

but to me, even if Jupiter himself reads this, she is a petal.

She loves it when I talk about love

and when I rapidly write about liquid openings.



Lesbia is beauty. Is she not? When Lesbia melts,

when she comes, all the men, Catullus too,

become tame men. When she comes her beauty ends,

gentle Catullus, so don't try to repair her notoriety.



If my car is a God letís you and I detour.

If it is fast it is a Super God

that sedans will identify and adore,

looking and listening.

Sweet passenger, which of all my miseries

do you sense will erase me? You can simulate Lesbia

but, alas, you are not my Goddess.

Language is a torpedo and tennis below art.

I demand flames, so if you swapped

ten tin ants to get my Lesbia

the night would light up!

Uncle Catullus, to you this is scandalous.

Oh, exalted Uncle I am gestating!

Opium and kings, princes and beasts,

permit my urges!



Quintia is multi-beautiful.

However, her beauty is negative.

She doesn't own a great hat.†††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††

And her body looks like Formica spotted with salt.

Now, Lesbia is beautiful.

This comes from her total-beauty package.

All of you can be all-beautiful.

Steal some from Venus when she isn't looking.



Don't protest woman or throw a tantrum, bartering for love.

And don't jump at me because Lesbia is my love.

You can't pick the fruit of fidelity in a tan fedora.

When in love do like your ex‑partner and repeat after me.



I condone my life. To me it proposes love.

Your lover is not interested in perpetual foreplay.

Face it, promiscuity wears out possibilities.

And being sincere doesn't stop animal urges.

Your license to produce life has expired.

I turn to the sanctity of love to feed us.



Mention the song "Pipeline" and there is a moment of scandal.

Music can kill us if it doesn't rain.



Varus, my cat is in love with you.

You pig! Let's duke it out!

You little squirt! Repent! You are a pig!

A pig with an upset stomach! You're not sane!

Don't sermonize, don't quibble, just quit it!

And when you profess to me

that you will respond to my pleas

nothing comes of it.

'At a certain time,' you say, 'with luck

'I will cease this bombast

'and go out with people.' All I know is

if it were up to me I would beat your face in.

'No,' you say, 'that would malign my fate

'and I wouldn't be able to pronounce "incestuous"

'or make love to possums or people.'

'Well,' I say, 'to me, I am Catullus and I give

'this command: You're lower than a Serapion,

'brother. Mainly you should inquire about men or women.

'This could stop my habit of duking you out.

'Forget me and my solitude, you rat, and just quit it!'



I love your big, night eyes

Calvus, you big cunt. Money is

missing and the Vatican smells you.

Now quit shitting, I know of some locations

where I keep my dog, my child and my poems.

It is bad to dent a client's savings.

It is tantamount to missing work because you're drunk.

Now, you're not my man, but I think you could benefit from a beating,

which is not as desperate as your labors.

It is magnificent, horrible, sacred and libel!

When you solicit Catullus for advice

you'll miss continuity and die like a rat.

Saturn will turn but you will die!

If luxury and a library

are your interests I'll bite your chin.

I love your big, night eyes Calvus

but you're a pest not a poet.



Aufilena, you are irate, you are contented, you are alone.

Your laudable bedroom is not laudable upon examination.

But it is you who succumbs to the poignant qualms

of the ex-father of your mother's father...



When salt is firm and not false, Prickface dies.

'For sure' is the language of kings,

'oh, cutie‑pie' the language of all geniuses and Pisces.

Language doesn't complain, but Prickface is exasperated.

He concedes to sit with gods (he isn't always dumb).

The gods praise salt and dumb Prickface eggs them on.



If I could put my dick in anyone I'd put it in Victius.

He is quite a verbose speaker and flatulent.

If you used to be (or possessed) a deer his language comes.

Curiosity and creepiness linger on his carpet.

If everyone doesn't see all of your beauty, Victius,

hear this: No one is as cute or as efficient.



Gallus has a quorum of fathers, all continually livid.

Alter us! Leap at us!Fill us!Alter us!

Gallus is a beautiful man: But his beauty ungets love.

Come man, your pretty, pretty woman bags ice.

Gallus is a stupid man and doesn't see that this is marry-time

when a father's father will not condone the monster of adultery.



Those little, melon eyes, Juventius,

are the most bizarre these sinuses have smelled.

Basically I can't sing very well,

but I may, my dear, on some future Saturday

when it isn't dense or arid or artsy,

I may sit and sing to your little, melon eyes.



The worst, Cornificus, your Catullus

is the worst. I'm Herculean and laborious

and a magician's magician every day, every hour.

Then you, who has the most minimal faculties,

you peddle elocution?

You are a rascal! Are you sick of my love?

Your mouth which lubes elocution

aspires to the crimes of the Monkey Gods.



Gellius listens to his fathers, obligingly so.

If his delicacies with dice are ever found out

it would be no accident. Perhaps his fathers' suit fits

like a king and his fathers will do Harpo's crate scene

although you know they'll fake it. Like: I re-met myself.

No, fathers, you can't fake it, you bums!



My very fury is banal,

Father Vibennius, and I'd sin fully

but, Father, my coordination is in July.

Your son is your Cancer.

Dogs aren't exiled in their hour of temptation

are they? Why then, Father, am I rapidly

sent a note from the people and in it are

piles of potatoes as if you intend to sack me?



Pain is insulation, Sirmio, and insulation

is a cell that comes with stagnant water.

And I'll marry you as fast as you marry Neptune,

who is as liberated as they come these days.

With my credentials (I've been to Bithynia)

I could camp near water and totally live.

So quit being solemn and beating dogs

and come to where all men or man

labor and desire and acquiesce,

which is good and is pro-labor.

We salute you, you knucklehead Sirmio

and your gaudy ego. Gaudy it is.

Even Lydia, like us, would unduly

rid you from her home with a cannon.



Furius, who is a serious necker, is an archaic necker.

His necking doesn't climax, his necking ignites.

I am you and father and new wave. We quarrel

about dentists and the mess made by silent possums.

It is pulchritude to me who has two parents.

Two parents who come from a long line of parents.

We don't see the good, the bad, all the valets

parking conquistadors. We don't see timetables,

incidents, or gratuitous Roman Ruins.

This fact isn't implied, nor is the dollar amount.



I command you to be my lover,

Aurelius. You can pet and put it in

but keep your quick, animal hands off Juventius,

who is a casting expert and is intelligent.

Leave the boy to me and play with dice instead.

Even though gambling isn't popular,

when you're attracted to this young boy your patent expires.



You are always studying animals and you're not required to.

Lesbia, isn't it possible that my bat and mitt,

which you loaned to God-knows-who,

have been infested by useless capital?

And you gave my VCR to some frustrated hunk for his labors?

Lesbia, our necking is useless but precious.

Do you sin to satisfy your superego?

I have numerous and great qualms,

enough to make a harem in Libya sigh.

Drop all of your shorts!

You who likes to bet and likes to bite.

You little, pernicious immigrant easily swayed by ads:

Migrate (hic!) or marry me, Lesbia.



If your trembling parents

ask if you are a virgin

you clear out your sinuses

and say that in time new love

will capture the aura of marriage.



Prickface caters to Moe. Caters to Moe? Certainly.

This is what he says: My mother and your mother are both mothers.



There are many humans, Naso

Many humans who don't know how to come

Face it, Naso, so many humans it is pathetic



You are surreptitious, dumb and ludicrous, Juventius.

Save all of your sweet, sweet aphrodisiacs,

the truth is I wouldn't take impunity, not at this hour.

I will suffer insomnia a little. This is crucial

and dumb to me. Purge me of possum,

tantalize me with tales of your demure life.

No fibs, I want facts, the more to dilute the better.

But all of your gutter stories are articulate

and my nose contracts like a miner who has found gold.

Enough gold to make a wolf drool.

My traditional love has been infested by misery

and doesn't always stop being excruciating.

But my ex-aphrodisiac has mutated and I am 'proposing' love.

I was in a hurry but I brought some syrup.



It is men's luck that is your deduction, my culpable Lesbia

and it is your office that permits it so

and I am to be the benefactor if someone ultimately quits or is fired

so I don't have the desire to love, all I can say is fuck you.