After MacLeish

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Poem is not just thudding, mute medallion;
not just dumb, a token. It’s also the big
CAN’T SORRY to a world of worry that this
isn’t enough this, that I’m that, I’m all,
all. Poem is the no to your yes. Ford Escape
hatch from big marketing. It’s a Juul break
when all you wanted was 10,000 spoons. Nothing cat-
chy, poem is death to all catchy. It’s the garbage
to your carefully cleaned & jerked syntax.

                         Cleaned and shanked.
Filleted. Stripped and hissing on a brazier.

Poems get ya. They know what ya think about.
Know ya secretly hate you, and maybe
not so secretly. Be this thing for a moment.
The tawdry DEAR GOD PLEASE NO when everyone
else nods in unison, “Hey yes, take our photo.
We are in love here. We do nice things now.”
I hate it all, Archibald. This WHAT WE’VE BECOME
when what we had been was cold, a heavy
medal pressed twixt forefinger and thumb.

• • •

An Italian Breeze

Thursday, November 1, 2018

People ask me, So Aaron,
how did you become the world’s
most beautiful man?

I have trouble finding words
to respond: You? Want ME?
To speak on behalf of this or that group?

No, comes the answer, sounding
like a song on an Italian breeze.
No, we just want to know

how you were named #1 man
in the globe when it comes to looks.
Ah, I reply. So this isn’t a spokesperson

request. Mostly what I’m getting now
is requests to be a spokesmodel
for this or that group.

It’s so humbling.
Almost as humbling as the enormous
amount of money I make these days.

• • •

Four Jarheads

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Four jarheads
decided to forge ahead
with some of their crackpot
ideas, and you won’t
believe what happened next
but not because what happened
is so hard to believe
but because you’re cynical.
Just as every nickel
of cigarette and alcohol tax
is a “sin nickel” so also, my
brothers, do you preen
and wince while you disobey
the same God who instilled
in you a sense of wonder
you continue to defy,
and these four marines
stranded in a cave play out
out their oddball drama
on its walls as though, well,
it were okay to deify
the meta meta meta. As though
the Creator-creature relationship
were entirely wily, not
at all smiley. Smileless, that is,
though not at all simile-less.

• • •

Sonnet 35,234

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sometimes it begins this way:
Me, sitting in my old leather chair.
You, lying on the floor nearby,
banked in a shaft of pale sunlight,
appearing as a sleeping angel —
yet dead. Napping, rather.
Napping and you are not human,
love, but alien: green-skinned
with elongated head and shimmering,
towering, jet black eyes. When
you speak it sounds like a hundred
women whispering “Bimi, dimi,
bimi, dimi, wimi! Squimi bimi!”
I don’t know what you’re saying,
but I love it and love you though
right now I guess you might be dead.

• • •

Vote Now

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Democratic participation, per se,
is a panacea for demagoguery?

Not really. “Well, both yes and no,”
adds The Council for the Right to Vote;

“The thing is,” they editorialize,
“It shows we’re in the same boat.”

Shows? More like indicates.
And often, I would wager, lies

about the status of X or Y “voter”
who shows up in a sack suit

and straw boater. These Xs and Ys
might roil the numbers under

Candidate So-and-So’s projected
tally plunder, but what they do not do,

for all this city’s butchery and hoggery,
for its piles of blood-seeping offal—

is cure demagoguery.
So, at the diminishing edge

of the homebound post-game crowd
where there are fewer souls,

enjoin yourself, or your neighbor
at least, to vote. That much, at least.

• • •

Your Child’s Photo

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Your child’s photo on the internet
looks like a photo of a small
wildebeest in the gloaming.

Not to be mean, but your child’s
pate, bald in the backyard sun,
gleams like a frisbee,

and that’s not all: Your children,
in a group shot, look haggard
and unfed. Unified but feckless

the way Cold War Russkies
used to look. In their own semi-
formal way—reckless.

When your daughter was a baby
you posted a shot that said
“Meet Anna Grace!”

The thing I noticed most
was that infant’s face.
She has grown up, however,

in the intervening years.
Her head is now (how’s this
possible?) 30 percent ears.

It’s not you, it’s not
your spouse: Nor even is it
your child. It’s your tendency,

old acquaintance, to post
photographs you should have,
IMHO, just filed.

• • •


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

At the risk of stating the obvious
I am very beautiful, and sometimes
it gets in the way of real friendship,
because I’m not sure what people want.
Sometimes I just have to say, back off.

But other times I let the other person
or people fall into the dream of light
their own tearful eyes have created
based on the ineffable glory
of my physical appearance.

It is on those occasions I’m reminded
of something Sir Elton John once said:
It seems to me you lived your life

like a candle in the wind, never knowing
who to cling to when the rain set in.

Of course, in my head I change it to,
to whom to cling when the rain set in.

• • •

My Soul Has Been Dragged Down

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

My soul has been dragged down into the depths
by endless texts on Sunday afternoons—
by things half-said, half-meant, not understood.

I wish I’d stopped in 2007. I remember walks
back then, around the grove, the park—like heaven.
We’d walk to the convenience store.

But in the past 10 years how text has harrowed,
or half-harrowed by its vague suck, my heart
and head into non-meaningfulness.

How the overabundance or rather abundance
has half sharpened me. My wit was two bowling balls
back then, and now it’s a thousand bearings cut loose.

My heart’s become ten anthills of disaffection
where once it was a single, earnest dog.
Once it nipped and played in the night, but now

it merely is, in its many fractured desires,
a heart without heartness, without real gravitas!
Let’s just say there are too many hearts in me

just as I suspect there are the same in you,
a candy heart assortment, and this by ceaseless
text, endless interaction—a sickness of the mind.

• • •


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

If your god never disagrees with you
it might be an idealized version of yourself
or one of any number of other things
that never disagree with you—
a bench, a certain twist of foam in the surf
off the Cape of Good Hope. A cape
hanging in a costume shop.
A shopkeeper hanging around
a costume convention. Consider –
a universe in which nothing not only
disagrees with you but is even aware of you.
Humbling. Or should I say Kellerian,
all creatures of our God and King?

• • •

Delivery Attempted

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Secretly, and without telling anyone,
he had an effective game plan
for everything he did. This quiet
intentionality rubbed off on
his colleagues without them noticing.
What a time to work here, they thought,
not knowing why they thought it.
For, prior to that time, they’d grumbled,
groused, or merely moped, albeit
practically imperceptibly — like vapor
vanishing as the sun comes up.

Arrived today: A long awaited paperweight.
Arrivés aujourd’hui: Le voulu papier-pierre.

Marcus Greely, Corporate Recruiter: Epicore Software.
View Marcus Greely’s profile on LinkedIn.

• • •