But today Sputnik over London says too-too-too
Over Paris ditto
Over Washington hah! hah! hah!
And Polaris says Whoobsk:
Dear whilom friend champing with the bad teeth of Rudaki
His laugh for the terns and the gulls fogdog
On The Hoe, Plymouth, England mimicked
The seadog with the two-year old –
“Tommy, what does Mr. Brown say?”
“Mr. Brown he says, Boogar.”
“And Tommy what does Mr. Ferris say?”
“Mr. Ferris he says, Fook.”
– Louis Zukofsky (from A, Berkeley: University of California Press 1978)
At over 800 printed pages, Zukofsky’s A is, to my knowledge, the longest American poem ever. It is probably also the most widely unread long American poem. Those needing and/or wanting elucidation of this excerpt may refer to the comments at Z-Site: A Companion to the Work of Louis Zukofsky.
Other specialties of A are pages and pages of musical notation (Bach) and a facsimile of William Carlos Williams’ signature.