In anger, we say, “Fuck it.”
That’s a kind of poem. One kind of poem, the memory of a moment of utter disgust digested, compressed into a singular phrase. Cliches are fossil poems; pat phrases are living, wriggling fragments of attempted poems — and who among us doesn’t have a pat, pet phrase…?
These are attempted poems.
All around us a murder of attempted poems, their wings barely raising them from the ground.
All of us are poets. All of us are suspect to the art police. — daring us, goading us to say something at once superfluous and necessary.
When we say “Fuck it,” we decide how the scale tips.
I’ve tried fifty-eight times
to explain the modern world as
a game show,
started and crumpled sixty-two drafts
about sexual love as
and made two hundred
and thirty attempts at an epic
on the sonic characteristics of each
key on a piano as compared to
the landscapes of nations
along the Mediterranean coasts.
All I have to show for all that work is
one sad brain, garish as a TV soundstage;
self-loathing slumped under an apple tree
that’s been split from age and rot;
a postcard from Tunisia that reads,
“having a decent time, wish you were here;”
this song of three hundred
and fifty failures
that I might yet turn into something
of worth if
I can stop chewing on it long enough
to give myself time to search
every inch of it
for meat to live on.