Thursday, January 10, 2013

"August Elegy"

You write that you are tired,
That even language has failed you,
That each sentence doubts itself halfway through.
I start to type, "This rage
For order..." but run out of words,
And the letters fall to pieces on the page.

Monday arrives wordless,
Sun-struck, August wind in the chimes
As birds flit past, elusive as their names.
Last week a black guy bigger
Than me, and much to my surprise,
Pronounced me to be an "artificial nigger."

Otherwise, there's no sound
Of anyone else's voice for days
On end, save yours through the splice and fray
Long distance. I watch, I
Wait for the mail to come around,
Then stand there disappointed under the sky.

This living alone is
Endless language left unmeasured,
And the slow coming of sleep a pleasure
Sadder than being young.
I wake to speak, and the word was
Breaks sweeter than any berry on my tongue.

-Joe Bolton, from "The Last Nostalgia"

(Originally posted on December 03, 2009)

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