Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Samuel Day Wharton, Three Poems

Samuel Day Wharton

Subject: Last Events & Consequences
We’ll save what we can. The world’s best
savants are working on sequences to keep us safe.
Until then, keep your gaudy sequins on & keep

your bloody hands to yourself. The only way to know
it’s over is to see it end, so keep your faculties
about you until this evening at least.

We’ll have a party. We’ll save a hearty laugh
for your appearance on the dais. We’ll smile
with greater frequency. The day will dim as usual.

Until then, heap your plate with chicken & herbs
& have a glass of wine. Light up a cheroot
to chase it all away. Watch the trees burn on the horizon.

Soon we’ll be at the farewell party, with our party-
hats & gloves. Soon we'll have the furled banner hung
between the doorframes, proclaiming. The savants

have been up all day, working on the font,
the colors & the spacing, the drapery & molding,
the timber frame & the drywall, the spackling.

Subject: & the Merchant Could Not Resist

The tissue samples arrived on Friday. The pressure
was overwhelming. The merchant shouldn’t have

to best his own intentions just to make it
to the weekend. A fine condition to be in, banked

in the fog of another morning awakening to strange
deliveries. Out of the fridge & into the freezer.

His issue, not mine, but still I empathize. When
the economy tanked, the merchant had too many houses

to visit & none of them were occupied, so he burned
them down. Thereafter, there was this fissure

running through the middle of town, merchants
on one side, vendors on the other, shouting pitches

back & forth. There was nothing I could do about it,
except fill it in with trees. That shut everyone up.

Subject: Beauty Puts His Mind At Rest Immediately

& immediately he begins to resist. His hands,
inutile, fumble for controls, remote or otherwise.

His duty – to fight the blind interest in beauty
the world over – fails to compel him. Curled over,

bound & veiled, the exact shape of the resisting
lost under an orange afghan, he tells himself

the freedom of the world requires occasional
tears. Occasionally he rises, draws up the blinds,

bares himself like a joke he never remembers
he doesn't remember until the telling.

Then his neighbors call the cops.

Samuel Day Wharton's poems have appeared in journals such as Burner, Spiral Orb, Versal, & New Plains Review.  These poems are from a manuscript titled Subject Lines.
RECONFIGURATIONS: A Journal for Poetics & Poetry / Literature & Culture,, ISSN: 1938-3592, Volume 5 (2011): Disappearance

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