The Madness of Michael Mitsakis

A hummingbird entered your throat,
and you went mad. So much for 1896 and swollen

toes. For the flaking of skin you had been
convinced was your insides trying to cry.

If I was asked to kiss you, I would immediately
defrost bees from the freezer and lovingly send

them swarming to Algeria where you might have
crossed the sea to cultivate sanity. The forgotten

remain forgotten. Especially a journalist like you
whose associative poems crowded the owls

from their resinous midnight release. What word,
what fracture of color, did you see

those last twenty years when you were institutionalized
and babbled moon to moon? Some said it was just another

poem. The wind knew better, bringing
the clockflower into your mouth so you could

tell time by the seasons. You were a Surrealist
before the wing-beat of Java sparrows pulsed blood

into the mouths of André Breton.
Michael Mitsakis, lost to us.

The way wolves eat history when history eats its young.

*This poem first appeared in George Kalamaras’s book, To Sleep in the Horse’s Belly: My Greek Poets and the Aegean Inside Me

George Kalamaras is former Poet Laureate of Indiana (2014–2016). He is the author of twenty-three collections of poetry—fourteen full-length books and nine chapbooks—as well as a critical study on language theory. He is Professor Emeritus of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he taught for thirty-two years. George and his wife, writer Mary Ann Cain, have nurtured beagles in their home for nearly thirty years, first Barney, then Bootsie, and now Blaisie. George, Mary Ann, and Blaisie live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and spend a portion of each year in Livermore, Colorado, in the mountains north of Fort Collins.

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