Selected Legends of Andre the Giant

After the dinosaurs fell
asleep, after those terrible lizards
began their slow decay into mythology,
Andre the Giant was there to cradle
their bodies in his soft hands and weep.
Andre the Giant wrestled the Earth
into a globe, carved his name into the ocean
floor with his pinky to remind the whales
who taught them to sing.
Andre the Giant was a village.
Then he became a dragon.
Then he became an army.
Then he became a king.
Now, he is the wind.
A man can’t bodyslam Andre the Giant
unless he’s worthy of slaying a monster, unless
the giant decides it’s time to lie down.
Andre the Giant stole fire from Heaven,
hid it in his mouth, fed it to monkeys
one lick at a time until they learned
to pronounce his name.
Before there were boys with magic
beanstalks, with slingshots or singing
swords, Andre the Giant brawled
with sooty angels, volcanoes spouting
from where he buried their hearts
Andre the Giant scaled the Empire
State Building with Marilyn Monroe
in one hand, Cleopatra in the other.
They marveled at how small we are.
Andre the Giant once cracked the sky’s ribs.
Then he was thunder churning like trout.
Then he was an avalanche of fists and knees.
Then he was a fire burning through the forest.
Then he was a tidal wave seething offshore.
Now, he will not be a metaphor.
When Andre the Giant pitched a man
over the top rope and out into the crowd,
he aimed at the moon.
A man never tells a lie, always treats a promise
like his mother’s name. Andre the Giant
once threw a silver dollar across the Potomac,
hit a buffalo in the eye and killed it as it grazed.
Andre the Giant drank three bottles of whiskey
and grappled with the Devil in a bingo hall
in Memphis. Then he invented the blues.
On television, Andre the Giant grinned
with a mouthful of shark’s teeth. He devoured
mortal men ten-at-a-time, laughed and spit
their bones into our living rooms.
Andre the Giant was a Frenchman.
Then he became an ogre.
Then he became a movie star.
Now, he is the constellations.
All of them.

About this poem

W. Todd Kaneko, "Selected Legends of Andre the Giant" from The Dead Wrestler Elegies. Copyright © 2014 by W. Todd Kaneko. Reprinted by permission of Curbside Splendor Publishing.

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Submitted by Drone232 on June 18, 2022

Modified on April 21, 2023

2:10 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 2,246
Words 435
Stanzas 13
Stanza Lengths 6, 5, 6, 4, 5, 6, 5, 7, 4, 5, 4, 5, 6

W. Todd Kaneko

W. Todd Kaneko is the author of This is How the Bone Sings (Black Lawrence Press, 2020) and The Dead Wrestler Elegies (Curbside Splendor, 2014). His poems and prose have appeared in Bellingham Review, Los Angeles Review, Barrelhouse, PANK, the Collagist, and many other places. A recipient of fellowships from Kundiman and the Kenyon Review Writer’s Workshop, he is currently coeditor of Waxwing and teaches at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. more…

All W. Todd Kaneko poems | W. Todd Kaneko Books

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