From Gk. tragos, “goat” + oide, “song”
Like melodious goats: or Leporello listing off a cavalcade
of conquests, or masquerading as
Don Giovanni. Donning goatskins—like Brünnhilde—
breastplates, and Viking caps—
sipping from wineskins, singing in highest keys
of kinfolk, of forefathers, lesser gods, and our own glorious
And the all-caps and shift-keys for
runes of warning. And the emojis for Venetian masks.
And the straw-fields for straw-men avatars. And also, for erection
of straw houses meant to ward off big-bad things.
And we have no regrets—forgetful
as we are of our fears—eating our sandwiches over keyboards like
‘Earls of Card Games’—of Rivers, of Flops. We grow
extra-long mutton chops.
We wear monocles and other affectations. We huff and puff and
no one calls our bluff.
Like school girls or boys we sing: who’s afraid of—
who’s afraid of—And no one will say:
afraid. Of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Or a faun. Or say a satyr with a golden fleece on. But the gold
is a satire and the Minotaur is
daddy issues. No one wants to give up
the goat. And how we get each other’s
goats. Say: I love you—but. Oy vey,
oide. Meaning: ‘what the hell, you goat’. And the Azazel being
the devil’s goat. A neckline—something to tie our loose nooses from,
smack squarely on the ass and watch run away as fast as
The Sirens aren’t goats, after all, but like goats they’ll devour
what’s put in front of them. A steamer ship full of butterscotch candies or
a full grown man. I heard of a goat once who could wolf down
tin cans—adding a bit of
tintinnabulation and synesthesia to the tincture of its
bleating songs—the color, now, of Semillon—sweet, and rotted with botrytis.
James E. Allman, Jr.’s credentials—degrees in biology and business—qualify him for an altogether different trade. However, he easily tires of the dissected and austerely economized. He is a dabbler with an expensive photography-habit and a poetry-dependency. Nominated for three Pushcart Prizes, his work appears, or is forthcoming, in Black Warrior Review, The Literary Review, Nimrod, Phoebe, Prairie Schooner, Sugar House Review, and Third Coast, among others. He’s written reviews for Rattle as well as other journals, blogs and sundries and is the co-founder of an artist community called Continuum. Follow him on facebook and twitter or visit his blog to read more of his work: