Clemonce Heard

is what French militants dubbed
the fish head mélange, but we say
Coubion, because the fewer syllables
the less bourgeois. This is no tartare.
This is the muculent skull of an arrow,
stirred into a stock with the butts
of scallions & celery, jealousy & snot.
Like Goliath’s lot, this too is prepared
for the sovereign, along with its guts
dangling from where the severance
took place. If a scalp is clutched
by its locks there is a face, if clasped
by its beard, a squid. Crustacean
shells & grey shallots may be heaved
in to give the stew more of a zing.
To ready the king’s palette, intestines
snipped from beneath the pectoral fin
are waved before his anointed brow,
in a hypnotic baiting, blood clotted
grapes. Here, he must bite down
& strain every drop before hawking
the putrid skins across the raw slate.

Clemonce Heard, from the well seasoned city of New Orleans, is cofounder of Brainy Acts Poetry Society (BAPS), a spoken word student organization established in 2010 at Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Heard is also the Poetry Editor at A Door is Ajar Online Literary Magazine. Heard is currently working on his MFA in Poetry at Oklahoma State University.


  1. Linda Stevenson says:

    Brilliant poem, wonderful to listen to its reading. Intriguing how the soup’s content speak to the machinations of the court.

  2. Matt Dennison says:

    Brilliant indeed.

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