— Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor (1979)
I realize that you think I need
to stop running from my problems,
but doctor maybe some context
might be helpful here.
some days momma use to make
dad two waffles in the morning
and leave the room.
she’d return after he’d eaten one
and whisper in his ear,
one of them was poisoned,
don’t know which one, though,
sorry, wasn’t watching,
— Michel Foucault, “On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress”
you are the mean, blanched presence
of a glass diaspora beneath the oven,
a cup displaced by careless fingers
that I can probably just clean up later.
you are the cool, milky silence
upon the arrival of food in a diner, because
I definitely told them no ketchup but,
I mean like whatever, I’ll just eat it.
you are the moment of pause and contemplation
upon sitting down to urinate, before thinking
well, I guess since I’m already here
I may as well stick around to take a shit too
goons is goons, commie, I see
acclaim in poolhall agitprop, lauding
judo room pamphleteering, & I feel ya!
you’re fishing for green cops, sifting
for strong arms, building an army.
but goons is goons, commie,
and flags is flags;
where stepping stones are whirlpools
we chess some hegelia interruptus,
we statecraft an undying liminal.
goons is goons because red tape
is red, ‘cause nooses is
thread, ‘cause trotskies
all knotted in textbooks and systems and math,
we spoke of our minds but not of devotion,
keep yourself calm in the shade of a curve,
three months a mansion if you dare to clock it
feed the grubs some consonants
& transcribe the pulitzers,
what punch in young babylon!
what juice in the spoken wrong!
I rode the sloop of degenerative grammar,
now aphasia’s my sole sense of meter,
don’t go there,
but those twizzletots, they’ve got the
butt butter fer yer baby blubber,
watchem squeal at my at my
doan need 2 biya frayed
gazin pon bold books
with the larval mes:
he’s so asighted
to run & write a pome
like an apricot peach or plum.
those teenaged shepherds, hearts of valley,
their swiss blades in saguaro pulp,
did they fear their love forgotten?
Your minds did meet in arborglyphs,
bibliographies of xylem,
cause snitching to trees ain’t snitching.
When our worlds were rich and igneous
we’d etch five-oh in granite pines,
their mangled halls spoke freedom songs.
I’m still an optimist, you know,
I’m no jeremiad for lisping
this too shall rot, this bark regrown,
this sawtooth gnaw, this timber scorch;
there’s triumph in buying time,
in pilfered moments wrenched from
the jealous fathers and the cavalries.