Somewhere in the flood
lies the substance of our striving.
I never rested content
in driving it home. Getting
to the meat of the poem,
one finds it just a bit spoiled.
Too accurate. I too
have toiled among torpid tongues.
This may be the last time
I assume this vivisectionist’s
cloak and dagger. I’ve paid
too greatly for this swagger you see.
Only now does my heart unfold
to reveal its truer nature,
the one the tavern clatter
confirms. From his mirror,
my polar opposite affirms
his commitment to keeping
the game rigged in his favor.
The flavor of the week is burnt retinas.
Too much else. You stroke
kindly the wavering within
and adorn the air in crimson smoke,
though the cold absorbs completely.
This matters later, during those hours
where the recurring dream of you
wounds my waking
until waking is disagreeable,
and the ticking of my watch
becomes an illness which
I must surely perish of.
No truth is plainer than this.
Certainly, a show of spectacular
oracle forgery flowing stealthily
into plain debauchery as a moment dislocates
its content, is least of all
what one would call “simplicity.”
Behind these plastic walls
hide a host of sleazy eccentricities
I’m ill-disposed to ignore, but
that’s just what I’m doing, presuming instead
to pick apart my glue-encrusted thesis
piece by piece until the underlying nothing
is revealed at last and swells
to a proportion monstrous and disconcerting.
What I do with my own hurting
is my own business, thanks, and if the cranking
of its desperate gears is grating or offensive
to more delicate constitutions,
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
To drift in lazily upon
a refusal dressed in calico
would be the last great testament
to an age so thoroughly
in decline. Oh! Whatever else
I choose to undermine
is hardly worth the trouble,
but since I have no other option
than to expend myself quite utterly,
I must admit it’s the trouble that has worth.
The poets are preening,
having weaned themselves off
the milk of modest hysteria
they’d so long nursed on
and grew to dislike intensely.
Epiphanies and elegies take to the skies
only to burn up midflight.
Par for the course.
The poets huddle close
beneath the hoarse whispers
issued from the cold.
To think these once emboldened prophets
who spat feral stanzas at the moon
now merely croon listless lullabies
to pacify the pinioned beast
whose gnarled fangs are Truth.