I am going to the mountains
where the alternating universe of autumn
descends over you at an erotic squat. Out of that blank
and meaningless Play-Doh of my psychic flesh
I am moving on. I am a pupil of fading antiquity.
Sprawled across the table, in a lament about healthcare
and the ineptitude of The System.
Nothing burns quite like The System. It comes at you
when you ask for help, displaying its super-talons
around a clutch of arrows, saying No.
“What deeds could man ever have done
if he had not been enveloped in the dust-cloud
of the unhistorical?” Nietzsche asks this morning
from a small pamphlet on my lap, issued in 1949
in New York City, which I am leaving now,
like a wife from her distant husband
who will not stop to ask her why she is weeping
while she slices apart his silk ties on the floor of the closet.
Copyright © 2016 by Bianca Stone. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 28, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“This poem came about after reading Nietzsche’s eloquent rant against the mental cage of the historical. The poem meditates on the indifference your personal history can have to your needs of the present, the future. It is my farewell poem to New York City.”
Bianca Stone is the author of Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014), and is also the illustrator of Antigonick (New Directions, 2012), a collaboration with Anne Carson.
Date Published: 2016-11-28
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/historic-flaws