Stupendous Mechanisms

Leopold Friedman
  1. Ode to Victor Frankenstein

Pay attention. Lightning strikes.
O eternal student, how you doff your hat
to the bubbling muck, the snapping synapse,
the swiveling eye in its socket!

Admirable passion. I could almost love you,
but your body language betrays
a madman. Your voice is a swarm of black beetles.
Great God, how many times have you been told

not to duel with the dead? Pick apart
lizards if you must. You’re no Darwinist.
(Not even in the hot rank hell
of the charnel house.)

Galvanize me, O rebel, O you who light fires on Shabbos
& dissect fruit flies after dark.


  1. Teach Her, Creature

Teach her how it feels to be reviled.
Explain the ragtag philosophy of a 5¢ romance novel.
Interpret the reasoning of white mountain crags, bridal gowns,
swaddling linens, funeral shrouds.

Invent a catechism on the wisdom of amphibians.
You’re no scientist – you can’t, won’t
sterilize the night into submission. Stars fall for you, plunging
into the emptiness of your eyes.

Teach her your rough mother-tongue.
Provide an excuse for your evildoing hands.
Count her neck-bones: each one
is a metaphor of woman-in-fiction.

(Put that in your pipe
& puff on it, Herr Freud).



Leopold Friedman is a writer of poetry and prose, a student of history, and a devotee of the Gothic and the Shakespearean. He lives in New England and can be reached by howling into the void – or, more reliably, at