Monday, 27 March 2017

High-Intensity Lamp

by Judy Swann


This is the point in my life where I want
a fancy, high-intensity lamp
and not because I need to know more about the world
(here’s where Plato starts to make sense)
but because we no longer have a public
used to getting its information in rhymed texts;
site-driven ad-choices, down to the actual
corner of a state, that’s what we have now.

If the point is not to be a better person
there is no point; and you don’t get to start
back where it wasn’t already a mess, living in
Notsobadistan with your lover and your son,
where the obscure, train-wail sound of the pheasant
meets the empty point of universality in
the Liberation News Service’s block print
book about stones on the second-hand rack.

An older girl skips a stone on the lake, where
a woman tenderly washes her lover’s hair,
where Baptists wash each others’ feet with
a different tenderness but the same abandonment
by God, and still the devotional literature consoles. It
weaves itself around you like bees at the end
of strawberry season, not interested in you, but the smell
of honeysuckle hedge, a whiff of motorcycle.

Throw away the husk and grasp the succulent
death-seed, no prudent warm blanket at hand.
Wrap ourselves as best we can in lignum
vitae, and draw the monitoring gaze of the blazing
world, no swans in ice, thank you. And nothing
for sale. We moved everything out into the bright
sunlight of the yard and cordoned off the plastic.
No captions, no links, no tags. It was good.
Oh my god I am so alone.

* * * * *


Judy Swann is a poet, essayist, editor, and bicycle commuter, whose work has been published in many venues both in print and online. Her book, We Are All Well: The Letters of Nora Hall has given her great joy. She loves. She lives in Ithaca, NY.