Daily Archives: November 28, 2020

I Cannot Write Those Poems

I cannot write those beloved poems,
poems of nature and love, poems on how light
takes its time on surfaces

like a beloved’s hand in leisure
stroking with pleasure over a perfect
arm or shoulder,

although I have nothing
against such poems and read them
like food, nourishment for

long days and nights without that beauty,
without what some consider
the enduring truth of the world

that exists beyond us, beyond the works
of humans, as if we are not a part of that world
when we war and kill and mourn,

as if to visit beauty is to release oneself
from seeing oneself in the pain of human life,
to absolve oneself from facing it all —

I cannot write those poems as my hand
is tethered to something else — not better
but not that, a coin-side away from that,

poems people would rather set aside
than read, poems some consider too immediate
or too enraging or worst of all too ugly

to be thought of as poems — and yet
for someone they are as good as hard bread
that can be broken open to reveal

delight within and then after being consumed
will offer strength to get to the next sunset,
the next perfect sunset, the cocked angle

of song bird on branch preparing to sing
as if the world could be created just by that although
someone had to dig the dirt to plant that tree.


“To Speak” In French

Isn’t it nice to end up in a place
where the scent of your own disaster
is hidden by the local atmosphere?
Isn’t it justified and good to be breathing in
the same staleness for which you’ve always lived?
All you past loves hate you, all your past wars
were lost causes, all your big mistakes were
ongoing, and yet here you can be free to call them
romances, victories, and corrected. Perpetually now
you can be a boy with a gun and clear enemies;
perpetually you can now be wronged and small;
you are perpetually heroic now, in that dinged up
tinfoil armor. Breathe it in, suck it up.
If you start to choke it’s got to be the fault
of the world outside where shifting and changing
are sins of the weak.
Isn’t it nice to be able to call that out then breathe deep
and call this stench perfume?