the time for nuance is over
i argue over breakfast
explaining how it’s oft used
to confuse dissent—knife
through my poached egg.
politicized work made all yolky,
easy to consume & forget.
i dab with the toasted bread
agitation & propaganda i rant
is the only just path for artists
gesturing with my utensils
heavenward. i’ve said a lot
of things which in retrospect
would’ve been better
had i kept my mouth shut.
i once said something to a friend
i won’t repeat here
& now she’s no longer my friend.
i'll never forget what her eyes did
as i finished speaking
stones in a bucket.
words have consequences
they’re both material & reveal
the spirit that speaks them.
what i meant over breakfast
is the time’s too urgent for work
that doesn’t have blood in it.
what i meant is insurgency
is our birthright, that nuance
comes from the french meaning
to shade—why another painting
of a lake when there’s so much
rage boiling outside the canvas?
what does it mean i don’t mean
what i say when i say it? i don’t know
what i mean. silence is golden
& gold’s the standard measurement
for capital. the golden rule is do
unto others as you would have them
do unto you. but what when they do
you ugly first as they always
seem to? i finish my coffee &
it’s political whether i want it
to be or not.
i’m interested in death rituals.
maybe that’s a weird thing to say.
when i say interested i mean,
i’ve compiled a list.
on it are mourning practices
gathered across time & continents
it’s long & oddly comforting
how no one knows a damn thing
about what follows. i wont
share it with you, only say,
evidence suggests neanderthals
were the first hominids to bury
their dead. also, i’ll say they
didn’t possess a written language,
which points toward internment
as a form of document. the body
is ink in the earth. the grave marker,
a gathering together of text.
the first written languages were
pictorial & marked the movement
of goods between peoples.
i don’t know what to do with that
but pretend death’s a similar kind
of commerce: face stamped
into a coin, what’s left of the body
in the belly of a bird, two lines
that meet to make a man
alive again on paper. i know i know,
ashes to ashes & all that dust
to irreverent dust. i know everyone
i love who’s dead didn’t actually
become the poem i wrote about them.
their breath a caught fathered
object thrashing in the white space
between letters. contrary to popular
belief elephants don’t actually bury
their dead lacking the necessary
shovels & opposable thumbs rather
they are known to throw leaves
& dirt upon the deceased & this
is a kind of language. often the tusks
from dead elephants are scrivened
into the shapes of smaller elephants
& sold to travelers who might display
this tragic simulacrum upon
their mantel as a symbol of power
& of passage. when i’m gone, make me again
from my hair. carry me with you
a small book in your pocket.