from “. . . Again”

We walked toward the zenith not expecting a new rising sun, but satisfied with the Cheese Whiz, Zebra Cakes, and Zingers at the end of the aisle at Family Dollar. Maybe eat them with Prozac or Zoloft. Later, take in the pine trees rising behind the cinderblock walls of the Dollar Tree. The American alphabet ends like every American factory ends. Zombies wandering around on Zoom. The new zoology. In the Ocean State Job Lot parking lot, I put the words “cheap America lot” into Business Name Generator and got these results: Balaclava America, Zip Cheap, Burb Lot. Nothing much more needs to be said. Maybe there will be more zebras someday. More songs by a reconfigured ZZ Top (you will or will not listen to them on Amazon music). But for now, there are intermezzos, piazzas, and paparazzi for the elites on their mega-yachts, on their spaceship trips into outer space. Meanwhile, the working class orders a pizza delivered by the working class. Zero tolerance for everything and everyone else. Let the Dominoes fall.


Copyright © 2023 by Mark Nowak. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 21, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

About this Poem

“This is the final poem in the opening abecedarian sequence (titled ‘Fall’) in my book . . . Again. ‘Fall’ documents, with accompanying whitewashed photographs, the rural, post-industrial landscapes of upstate New York, western Massachusetts, and southeastern Vermont in the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election. Abecedarian poems allow me to dig at the very roots of the English language. It’s why I love books like the Oxford English Dictionary, Raymond Williams’s Keywords, and similar collections that allow me to more deeply discover and use the materialist history of the English language in my writing.”
—Mark Nowak