We go bad
forth and back,
alone and good
Given that, and I’m sorry,
but grief’s not
from eating an egg.
My un-renameable compatriots,
they no doubt know everything
we’ve said with these machines,
so any infiltration, if called for
on my part, will require a great
faking of new mind and heart,
thus making me one of them, save,
I should hope, for our part.
Three weeks maybe, or say a month or so ago, a friend told a story of another friend. He, the telling friend, said the other friend wouldn’t, or didn’t, want the story told, and so he, the telling friend, didn’t mention the other friend’s name, though I was sure I knew whom he, the telling friend, was talking about. And then, the other day, I was in a prison (just visiting!) and all at once I knew his story, the telling friend’s, was not about—and could not have been about—the person about whom I’d thought it had been. In fact, or in what then felt like fact, the story then brought to mind a very different person, a person who had no connection whatsoever to the person of whom I’d thought earlier, but who, for whatever reasons—reasons I don’t remember, and can’t—was friend to both the telling friend (our margin thus reducing me to mood) and you.
Oh. I lead off with loss again, the present
tense behaving the back way into the past,
that grand scheme of blooms and their moving too fast,
among which, unlikely, I lived and I don’t,
my vantage points only the coast of myself,
an endlessly-drawn-out sarcastic-ish kiss
at water making new pictures possible
and less, the days it rains and days it doesn’t
falling smack into the record, the future
then ruining music for once and again.
Maybe hell is in fact
very quiet, is a hell
you can tell the value of.
Maybe animals come
to forgive one another,
and that’s what’s called time.
Today though, today
lets a cloud go
empty, and long
a look at what
could come about
To tell friend from foe in a novel
situation was the gods’ job once.
(When faith won’t heal, it lacerates.
What love can’t want it breaks.)
And since we’ve been left to just
those mountains, that branch
hung with trash, them battle apples,
hives of ovens, a couple turns
of sun, and one solid shoved into
another—since, that is, we’ve gone
all the way ape—it’s like having come
back to a bad main idea, but also
to’ve sloped off home to have to think
of what our bones, bones mediocre
as anything else’s—as everything else’s—
would look like unattended to in mud.
Right back at all this now not enough for me,
back to out of music into up against the empty,
today’s shame’s gawking over dead grass at traffic.
(Is remorse whatever the clean brain says it is?)
Born in Tennessee and raised in Wisconsin, Graham Foust is the author of six books of poems, including To Anacreon in Heaven and Other Poems (Flood Editions, 2013), a finalist for the Believer Poetry Award, and Time Down to Mind (Flood Editions, 2015). With Samuel Frederick, he has also translated three books by the late German poet Ernst Meister, including Wallless Space (Wave Books, 2014). He is Director of Undergraduate Studies in English at the University of Denver.