Daily Archives: February 28, 2017

Definition

The best words in the right order.
The perfect ghosts to animate them. 
A rhythm, and the struggle to understand
how words slide over the crests
of those waves. Sound upside
of downbeat, and the opposite
as well. A trumpet in it,
a drum, a monster’s sharp and plaintive cry
as it realizes it’s the last of its kind.
A child’s scalp tingling — you can measure
the height of that raised hair in 
dactyls. You can explain the creation 
of the world in the precision of 
enjambements. Justice
made metrical, pain
made sibilant, war
made alliterative: slice of sword
and swoosh of bullet bringing back 
pull of projectile into purpled flesh.
Best words in best order and
a world fashioned in its enunciation:
and now what?  What spell
are you under?  What
happens now as a result of 
such a thing? How are the ghosts
faring now that it’s ended?


57

A number only, 
say the happy-go-lucky.

A milestone, say the ones
who love to make marks.

A privilege, say those
who see how hard it is to reach it.

A failure flag, say those
in love with smaller numbers.

For me, it’s a wall
I never thought I’d have to climb.

Two more digits
in the phone number of farewell.

Another reminder
of what I have and haven’t done.

A mingling of relief and dread.
Another beat on an inexorable drum.


All New

All new, all new,
everyone saying it’s
all new. 

All new, all new,
except for those 
who already knew

that this everything new
is not quite nothing new,
just close enough: old ghoul

in a new outfit, old gun
in a new hand. Some see
that face and say, we’ve never

seen that before; those
who know every line of it
find it hard not to laugh,

voices somewhere between
choked croak and open scream,
eyes closed in memory of those

who didn’t survive it
when it burned through town
last century, or yesterday, or

five minutes ago. All knew
someone, all know
it’s nothing new at all.

If what little is new here brings others
to the front, all well and good — 
if they stay. If when they’re safe

they go away? Nothing new
there, nothing new. When they go
those they leave turn and say,

nothing new there, nothing new –
and as always, we knew.
We all knew.