Words cheapen most things
and so all along I’d said nothing,
careering through life on silence,
musician of gestures and tics.
I was becoming a catastrophe,
one of many in my office,
beautiful, and interesting, and modern,
shaded well by the dim noir
of fading juvenescence;
full of fuck and thunder
on the cherry eve of atrophy.
Well, I yet worried about being drab
and struck by nothing, that
no inbound collision could have force enough
to punch a hole through this world—
it seemed that we, for instance,
would never again not be ourselves.
Je ne crois que ce que je vois:
the days parading about,
memos in the yawning waste
or letters addressed to unseen addresses.
No more bohème splendor.
No more naked and be angry.
The building we worked in
grew smaller each morning,
I listened to cellos sobbing Debussy
on my little plastic radio.
A stroke of cement, a calendar year,
I dreamt of urgent self-destruction
worthy of Latin America
and made little trails in the carpet.
I arrived seven days late
and two years older,
but I finally wrote on the dream,
gilding it with only the good words
during a hurried August lunch hour
at the sandwich counter where
they might feed me pastramis forever.
I showed the cocktail napkin to no one.
My delusions I keep at a separate mailbox
so I don’t have to sleep with them,
since people still read, after all,
still carry newspapers once in a while,
still write lovesongs
on oceans of light.
I went back to work a bespoke articulation
flickering in the syllabic shadows
of the high-rises above the El.
The paycheck would come as always,
but I’d inaugurated that summer
the season of whim’s content,
when against the hull of my generation I shattered
the last remaining vintage
of a rhetoric.