The Quick & The Dead


by Vassilis Zambaras


“The Quick and The Dead”

From out of nowhere,

Smart lizard darts

Onto hot deadly stretch
Of killer asphalt,

Grabs stupid grass-
Hopper’s ass before

Coolly high-
Tailing it back

To nowhere.


“Cat on a Killer Stretch of Asphalt”

Believe me, what looks like
A flattened weather-

Beaten chamois de-
Composed on

The asphalt isn’t shamming.

MELIGALAS GREECE—(Weekly Hubris) 3//14/11—I hit the 8,000 km mark on my bicycle’s odometer sometime last week—all this mileage chalked up over the last two-and-a-half years—not bad at all, I should venture to say; however, I should also say that venturing onto asphalt roads on my bike is something I avoid like cats shunning water or most poets renouncing a lifetime of churning out immortal doggerel. Why make life more hazardous than it already is? Not having nine lives, I prefer to stick to country roads, where there’s little danger of crazed car drivers mistaking you for a transmogrified giant cockroach out for a bike ride. The times I have pedaled out into “the asphalt jungle” have been greeted with the gory sight of countless smashed-to-pulp bodies of poor creatures such as (arranged approximately according to size) grasshoppers, sparrows, toads, weasels, lizards, marmots, snakes, turtles, hedgehogs, chickens, cats, skunks, dogs, foxes, and sheep. (I have even seen a donkey carcass on the side of a road, but this was before I started riding my bicycle, so it doesn’t really count.)

You’ll You will have noticed there aren’t any crows on the list—(how do you think they live so long?—not by jaywalking, that’s for sure); they are usually the first to appear on the scene of the carnage to get rid of the evidence. Nor are there any jack rabbits—these four-footed delicacies are either run over at night by unsuspecting but lucky drivers who take them home and later cook them with lots of onions, or they are literally stopped in their tracks by shotgun-toting  poachers using powerful searchlights which blind the poor beasts long enough for the “hunters” to kill them.

So Ss . . . all the above leading us back to the poems and their rather pedestrian message, which may be summed up as follows: “When any kind of moving vehicle approaches—with the exception of bicycles—it’s better to be quick on your treads than slow in your head.”

Vassilis Zambaras According to such reliable inside sources as The Weekly Hubris’s Publishing-Editor, VazamBam aka Vassilis Zambaras is all of the following, and more, in an order no one can vouchsafe as definitive: a publishing poet who writes every day of his life; a hugely successful father (and a not-so-very-successful local political candidate); a professor of English as a Foreign Language, with portfolio; a Renaissance Man of many skills, useful and not-so; a fount of information about his particular corner of his birth country; an unstable and utterly unique mix of Greek and American, American and Greek; and the man fortunate and wily enough to have made off with Messenia’s loveliest and most talented local daughter as his child bride. Besides being all the aforementioned, other more dubious sources have also reported seeing him hanging out at the corner of—in the guise of a “new old kid on the blog, with an occasional old or new poem written off the old writer’s block.” Author Photo: Pericles Boutos