Issue #50

Spring 2014

New Donald Moffit Prose Poem (inc. footnotes) 2

by Patrick Cosgrove

Peruvian Wasp Nest [1]
In memoriam Karl Woodmansterne [2]
Donald Moffit

Curtain up. Dull light from single light-bulb hanging stage right. Very large papier-mâché model of dead wasp lying stage centre. No other props. The sound of a guitarist – preferably female – tuning a guitar is heard. The guitarist must not be visible to the audience. She [3] should be given, for example, 20 loosely strung guitars to tune. The exact number is decided by the Director, what he personally thinks an audience will tolerate. The guitarist takes her time. She is oblivious to everything. The stage and the audience don't exist. Her attention is completely absorbed in tuning the guitars. All the while a fine grey ash is falling. Ash motes float in the light-bulb's sallow light/ settle on the giant dead wasp. When every guitar is tuned to the guitarist's satisfaction the poem ends. Curtain down.


[1] Whereas the nests of many species of wasp are made of a 'chewed-up' paper-like material, the nest of the Peruvian wasp is made of the 'chewed-up' bodies of other indigenous wasp species. Frequently the nests produced are formed into the shape of an anatomically exact replica of a dead Peruvian wasp. It is believed such 'shaped' nests serve as some kind of territorial warning to rival Peruvian wasp colonies. Nest sizes vary greatly: one recently discovered specimen (V. Bernard, Natural history of Neotropical wasps: Nest sites, Feeding patterns and Diet, Journal of Insect Science, February 2014) measured 3.12 meters from 'head' to 'sting'.

[2] Early Donald Moffit 'personograph' and Professor of Entomology (University of Utrecht, 1981 – 1994). Woodmansterne was reported missing during a specimen collecting trip to the southern Amazonian Basin (May 1994). Whilst searching an abandoned Nanti tribal settlement, local guides discovered his corpse inside a hollowed-out Peruvian wasp nest.

[3] Transitional construct and present Moffit 'personograph' (see P. Cosgrove, New Donald Moffit Prose Poem (inc. footnotes), footnote 1, Café Irreal, Issue 44, Fall 2012).

Author Bio


Patrick Cosgrove lives and works in London and writes poetry and short fiction. He's been published previously on the Ghazal Page, Sein und Werden, and in Issues 39, 42, and 44 of The Cafe Irreal.