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.
Politics of Elegy
like anyone i can make a list of the dead
i can make them my dead by making the list
i can write my name then name names below it
i can craft & obfuscate & collapse
i can publish it
i can ask ‘who of us is left to tell their story?’
this land of plentitude & pens
this land is my land, the song says, this land is mine
how long have humans buried each other in the earth
how long have we sung names into their absence
how long have we been paid for that singing
every architect expects people to inhabit their buildings
every poet pretends their poems to outlive them
every piece of furniture in my room is shaking its head
what’s the difference between weeping alone & on camera
what’s the gulf between an epitaph & an epic
what’s a eulogy but a coin rising in the throat
eulogy from the greek means praise
praise from the latin means price
every public dirge is burning capital
every shirtless picture of him i keep is a small virgil
every hell i’ve traveled through is an expensive bird in my mouth
i was paid a thousand dollars for writing a poem about a dead man who hated me
i was paid & each dollar is a ghost haunting my wallet
i was paid & i am trading his body for bags of food
i am never more dangerous than inside
the arms of a man
who will die