Yeats reads to me from a page.
Warm voice cloaking the subtle trespasses of his age
Slanted lilts creeping into the corners of lips
Thin with the incense of patriotic quips
He tells me Ireland is in trouble,
But I am standing in line for 5 dollar noodles
The latest Korean craze, extended expiry date
Would Fenians appreciate monosodium glutamate?
I am roused to fight, to scream Republic
Though it is not in the slightest my conflict
Is it treason to feel patriotism for an isle of green?
Is it Shakespearean to live in a world of machines?
Are all oppressors reincarnations of mad kings,
Do all soldiers wield the heroism of Henry the Fifth?
A happy breed of men in their little whirl,
We few, we happy few, a band of brothers scratching spiritual on paper cut from trees in the New World
Fashion me Oriental, fashion me a boy dressed as a girl
Addicted to your Californian supermarket infiltrating the Pacific
The best minds of my generation are developing software, they don’t care for poetics.
Can we discuss terminal anguish as a beautiful complex
Find erotic shapes in the pink smoke of sarin gas
Can Bruegel make prose out of black rock, out of black smog hazing over the sidewalk
Icarus can make legends out of suffering, but I can’t make words out of feeling.
You too, were on a quest for adjectives. I am an uncertain bisexual with thick thighs and fragile ankles and I don’t know if I can be conscious of Time’s sagging breasts and flaky foreskin and still call myself a hot-blooded youth with passion boiling.
Teach me fertility in infidelity
Teach me how to be poetically queer that I can walk the streets with wild-coloured hair and rolled-up sleeves and still be me when they whistle at me.
God has a simpler solution:
Absolute chastity, absolute misery.
But I don’t want to think about Sunday mornings parched with the touch-starved celibacy of degeneracy, about holy irrelevancy redeemed only by the sanctity of sanctioned pederasty
How about I just fall asleep?
For maybe — two nights – staggered nervousness with hyphens like Emily Dickinson’s — laments stutter sleep patterns like the stunted sexuality of a spinster
I too write poems about the moon being a loner
There’s so much of her in me
Though I’m disturbed by your attachment to virginity
I can’t sleep for thinking who I might sleep with
Certainly not –Emily–
Chauvinism always had a way of enchanting me
Keats, you should give me tips
How do I weave romanticism with eroticism on a Grecian vase and still have him think I’m not stuck in that space where young girls live in eternal want but never leave to hold a man in the fist of her hand
How do I talk about love – grovelling on granite, bored astride the funeral of a grandmother whose only familial purpose was to serve?
How do I talk about fantasy and make it real
How do I write what I feel —
How do I show him I think his wind-tousled hair and chain-smoking flair and far-off dreaming are prose so pretty, free verse muttered freely, wordless beauty and nothing but poetry I can’t write but has already been written?
How about I just retreat into complacency with the simplicity of a Happy Meal shared between we happy few over the soundtrack of a whining pop star invoking Byron on an electric guitar
Yeats reads to me from a page
Through the distortion of a recorder thus speaks the sage,
“To argue with oneself is to arrive at truth.”
I tell him that there is nothing truer to me than a disturbed sleep plagued by dreams of ghost ships docking
Awaiting at virgin ports and breaking the next day for nothing
I tell him I dream of the sea because it is romantic.
He invites me to retreat to Innisfree, I ask if there is wireless connectivity
You know, Wordsworth had a sister just like me
She too, was preoccupied with Facebook
They scoff and tell me to write poetry
But to write poetry is to suspend yourself from dying, and I am through with this Happy Meal and waiting to head out to sea.