Ed Shacklee: Really Ugly Ducklings

The really ugly ducklings scud like scum across the ponds;
their spines have wicked barbs, and they are nothing like the swans,
with serpent-slitted eyes and belly feathers made of bronze.

Really ugly ducklings smell like vinegar and vomit.
As thick as bricks, as slick as snot, and quicker than a comet,
their diet is appalling. They have sphincters like a grommet.

Their eerie flight accomplished with an air of growing dread,
they're really, really ugly – they don't beg for crusts of bread,
and never quack but hiss like gas escaping from the dead:

for swans are famed for swanning with their snowy plumes well-tended;
their languor is so languid and their splendor is so splendid
that if I called one ugly I suspect you'd be offended,

but a really ugly duckling's soul is stewed in spite and malice.
Its memory’s a spiderweb, its heart a poisoned chalice.
Its tongue's a dart, each lung is black; the neck’s a poxy phallus.

As meek as prides of lions and as sneaky as the weasels,
they poop on books of poetry and piss on artists’ easels.
They bring bubonic plague and, as a side gig, spread the measles.

Their ugly thoughts repugnant and their smugness off the charts,
they waddle through the graveyard where they have their pick of parts.
Devastating parlors with the squalor of their farts,

they’ve greased the heights of virtue till they’re hardly worth the climb
and forced this thrilling epic to devolve to silly rhyme,
the only kind of bird I know that leaves a trail of slime.