Marc Alan Di Martino

from Thane Dimatims, a Novel in Verse

“C’est l’Ennui!”

“The problem with long poems is always
That nobody reads them”. Declarations
Of this kind kept Thane searching for new ways
To keep his epic fresh; he had patience
(At times) and felt it better to abstain
From stooping to the public taste. “Against the grain”

Was his motto, and like his hero Des
Essientes (we read about him pages hence)
His mind had become something of a mess
And was incapable of self-defense
Against the demons that assailed it from
All angles: love, alcohol, prostitutes, the sum

Of pleasure fallen into decadence.
Like Cleland’s heroine, he didn’t know
Which way to turn, and so began to dance
On dynamite. He wrote, “The time is now”
In huge black letters over the headboard
Of his unused bed–forcing himself, word by word

To pull his poem up from disrepair
Until it scaled the heights of Pushkin, Blake,
His hero Byron (of whom he made fair
Copies in high school; something of a fake,
Thane loved to play little practical jokes
And fool his professors who weren’t “in their books”)

Not to mention Ariosto, Tasso,
Goethe, Gòngora, Pound (whom he despised
Yet read with curiosity, like so
Many; he thought the Cantos were “outsized”)
The Wasteland, “exactly the kind of thing
I wish to avoid-it’s just so goddamn boring…”

Marc Alan Di Martino is a poet, journalist and translator. He is the editor of American Poets Abroad, a blog/journal of contemporary poetry. He lives and works in Rome, Italy. His work has been published in BigCityLit, The American, Pivot, and Martha’s Version (under the pen name Marc Alan Coen). He is trying to find a publisher for his satiric novel-in-verse. He can be contacted at