for John Naglick
What is it to have time—
to think about the things that bother you?
inaugural as noun, the quality of orange juice
the white things you shame yourself of
O beauteous gyre of flotsam!
Lo this graveyard of Styrofoam!
I get drunk night after night & cross out the stars
& you know this. This flesh fetid, our fathers orgulous
an image of smoke-filled firmament or fallow earth
or some plash of commentary on justice
or something within your ken—
that which burnishes, brandishes
I had a dream where I couldn’t see my father’s face
& I ran after him & what does that mean?
what does it mean to stand in the lobby under
lolling pendalogue, blood seeping through your teeth?
what does it mean to be bathed in the politics of opinion
to be pinioned by convention & circumstance
to ask of yourself what is required to be human
& not to wait for an answer?
I’ve been offered apologia & notional morality
the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing
or vice versa or six of one, half dozen of the other
or pendulum or hourglass or something about a
broken clock. Choose your metaphor, tools.
The song continues, this soughing for
self loudens, dogwhistles, fulgurates
into night again
So what if I get drunk on mignonette while we make loin
chuck & rib? wondering aloud about the differences
between tumid & turgid, caporali & guillemets
how we might become a small fire when we die
or a star, or nothing at all. I still dream of being
ecru or taupe, poly or paramour or more
than rooked millennial—armed with awl
All this and you still don’t know what I mean. I was trying to say something
about the master’s tools, something about being more than my father’s skin—a
spectacle of difference. I wanted to say that anger comes from pain, that forgiveness
is just a way to be hurt endlessly. Say: humans are the only animals that kill at a distance.
I want to be more than language, more than languid, more than stanzaed, left-justified. I want
normalcy to be OK to be like John, to be on the ⓃⓇⓌ—gringolandia bound, when singing
Languid is a good word, like when singing
"Languidly her arm floated
out of the backseat of the station wagon
releasing small bits of paper
into the summer air."