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Hipsterdom in the late Eighties


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Cristopher Howell - "War of the Worlds"


The creatures from beyond Andromeda

arrive at noon

in little egg-shaped tubs of pink water.

Their blue eyes are also hands

grasping everything in a wink.

Their mouths are sky-sized presumptions

containing all the dictionaries in all the tongues

of all the worlds drifting forever

toward "God" or "Oblivion," the mysterious

final words it is their theology to regard

as a single possibility.


The national debt, the new improved Buick,

Gay marriage, strength of the yen against

the dollar: these, and much else, wake in them


a singular lack of fascination. In fact,

they've barely noticed ourselves, their minds,

having splashed on toward teleology

beyond all substance but the sun.

They love the sun, its perfect placement

and moderation, its heat in which

they evaporate, condense, and are born

falling, soaking us all, sweeping like breath

over the lakes and streets and gardens

where we muse or toil at making the world

that is already here.


Each night the clouds and straight wet streets

enact their perfect form. "All things exist

because they do," they say. But we've had


We call out

the National Guard and make them pay.

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"Homosexual Necrophilia in the Mallard Duck"




On June 5, 1995, Kees Moeliker, the curator of the Natural History Museum of Rotterdam, heard a loud bang just outside of his office. He went over to the window and discovered that a drake mallard had hit one of museum’s windows at full speed and died. Moeliker observed another male mallard came over and start picking at the dead duck’s head. The live mallard then proceeded to mount the corpse and forcefully rape it. This activity went on for a full seventy-five minutes, during which time the perpetrator took only two short breaks. Moeliker documented the entire event by taking notes and photos from safely behind the museum's windows. When the necrophiliac mallard was finished, Moeliker secured the violated corpse and stashed it in a freezer for later examination.

I found this observational study fascinating on multiple levels. Of course, the fact that someone would watch a dead duck being raped for over an hour, not to mention take copious notes while doing so, is interesting in and of itself. But what was even more fascinating to me about this article was finding out that neither necrophilia nor homosexuality is all that rare in mallard ducks. In fact, scientists have previously observed male mallards attempting to mate with deceased females, and researchers estimate that up to 1 in 5 mallard duck pairs consist of homosexual males.2 It turns out that the only unique thing about this case was the combination of mallard necrophilia with homosexuality.

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