Mushmouf’s Maybe-Crown

Phillip B. Williams

Manacled Man mangled, moreover made
menace-masked, maybe molded moribund,
mostly manipulated. Magnanimously marred,
mired mush-mouthed. Moor moored more.

Manacled Man meanly measured,
man-monkey mixed midst murky mirrors.
’Merica’s Man-Man, minstrel-married
mophead, magnum man, mama’s mine.

Mite-munched, Manacled Man mimics
martyr movements, moshes
minus music, muses: “Murder
made manifestations:

my madness my master.”

My madness my master.
Many mistake my mood manhandling my mode.
Maybe me making minimalist mumblings
means my matriculation—man made monster—

moves merrily, mystifying monogamy.
Mainly me mime monsters, malicing
municipalities. Me make maintainable
moans. Me menu. Me metaphor.

Me madmen’s monitored mission.
Merchants masturbate
midst my mouth. Me might munch,
make men mate ’mongst my molars.

My mausoleum multiplies.

My mausoleum multiplies
immemorial. Me misery, impossible
emperor, am maybe-me mid moonlight’s
improvisations. Me immediate. Might’s

emissary. Mayhem maims my museum.
Me improvise minutes.
Masticate memory. Mortuary
mammal. Mythic, melisma-minded,

memory makes me meet myself
minus mink, mirth, magic.
Myself’s mess makes me
’member muzzle mincing mouth.

Maybe murder make my mouth mine.

Maybe madness make my mouth mine.
Me embellish mercy, mercy mid-morning.

Mourning masquerades mercy, imposter. Mercy mouths
impaled miracles. Miracles midwife my mind.

My mind implies miracles, emancipating me.
Impressive! Me embroider impeccable embellishments.

Maybe madness make my mouth mine?

Me impress embroidered emblems ’mongst my muscles.
Me emaciated emergency, am embargoed myth.

My embargoed myth emaciated imagined emergencies.
Implicated empty embraces. Emotions imitate monsters.

Emotions must make music. Me my monster, am mine
mine, mine. Implosive, me emperor, am imprecise empire.

Maybe madness make my mouths mines.

Phillip B. Williams is from Chicago, and author of Thief in the Interior. A recipient of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, Whiting Award, and Radcliffe Fellowship, he currently teaches at Bennington College and Randolph College. @PBW_Poet
Originally published:
September 1, 2020


From the Editors

Our Most-Read Poems of 2021

You Might Also Like


After Death

Roger Reeves



Armen Davoudian


My Silent Childhood

I didn’t know my name until I went to kindergarten. Then I became a writer.
Maureen Sun


This holiday season, give The Yale Review to someone you love. For a limited time, enjoy 10% off all subscriptions with code HOLIDAY2021 at checkout.