Issue 101, Winter 1986
Somehow the days take care of themselves.
Desire that feels as if it will scorch
The skin of wanting doesn’t get fulfilled
And somehow we don’t die—though we want to.
We have learned to dwell on the world condition,
To have consciousness even as we rape the child
Of any decent future — and this isn’t just pessimism talking.
These are long, hard days we spend breathing
With an unnatural knowledge of what is meant by the word
Aloneness. The collective we is friends obsessed
With busy routines, the electing body, family unseen
For years, identities broken, the chain broken‚
Words breaking our hearts, but then we straighten up
And go on pretending it never happened, we are so strong.
Irony, cynicism, gossip are appropriate, they fit
Our times—the spread out page of a newspaper
Telling us what we are better than a real God,
Who can’t talk, ever could. We find
Ourselves over Sunday brunch bad mouthing
Our very sadness so that even the sun loses validity,
Proof of our days is invalid, but we talk on as though
Some answer were kicking under the dining room table.
If not a meal, then a party where drunks can let down their hair,
Be natural with pain that comes up like vomit,
No longer thinking control; the desire to be loved,
So unnatural for our world, dances like a whore
Before our eyes, in us, ashamed we go home
Alone, naked for the stars only.
The only way to survive is to act—so,
Days fly by with their demands and only a few moments
Of desire and despair slip past the censors
And they don’t kill us—yet.
We are ok, we are concerned, we reassure one another.