POEM FOR VERITY
Looking up to watch the planes ascending, I want
Day to value night, feel the move solidly, and to leave here finally
& also for Britain to explode like a birthday cake to the
Tune of Jerusalem, inane flecks of meringue in your hair
There’s nothing I’m proud of but there are six things
We live among: irritation, agitation, death, dissociation, and
Two good abstractions only “the oppressed” would know.
It’s not like me to know but I do know,
No one told me essays on Marxism and poetry would be hated
But theory really does undermine what they do!
Since no one seems ensconced in art
But we are all enclosed by value—
Even if the value can’t capture what we do and given
That the programme era is a whack puffed up wet balloon,
And that if we are living in a time after Objectivist poets
We are also living in a time after many things now, now
Light years away. The working day is no longer your friend
The friend no longer wants to know your experience
Experience lies to your face then plagiarizes you, supine in
The face of it, the sad marvels we’re indebted to it for.
VALUE AT TWILIGHT
Every feminist man thinks he is a good friend.
He wouldn't hit a woman, nor rape her. Nor kill her,
but maybe he would write something to pause the brain, a
Heraclitean litany or regular love song. Save her a song in the spirit
of universalism that she would comprehend—
All my abstract labour is on the mountain top. So fuck unto yourself.
He wouldn't file a woman down, or forget Ivana Hoffman’s, or
Sappho's scream, that Mary Kelly had a fit was the right way
to set fire to the gravy boat of your dreams. You say get me,
I’ll wash your staircase I won’t touch your guitar, he says here’s the rub:
I love you more when you’re doing taxes but your
visa ran out, my golden ratio garbage-rumour, negation-scrub-
What’s wrong with you, largesse? What’s up. A man’s abstraction
from the vaults always spews hot sauce. Take the case of Putin,
who slapped his wife just as the European Union collapsed.
He threatened to leave the Ukraine gas pipeline to pump
love poison into what became a fear of mouths. Vote. Don’t
vote! For Lyric Poetry and Society and the grace of any god
Because every white woman can think she is out of there, not
eaten inside by the Enlightenment, descendant semantics, a kind
of no-strings accumulation where to destroy men is merely / to dream
with them, and to quell them is to ally with them against
all women who’ve learned: mujeres enfuricidas! Sisters! The crisis is ours
too: abandon any house, explode the base, it was just a vain idea
Amy De’Ath’s most recent poetry publication is On My Love for Gender Abolition (New York: Capricious, 2016). She has written a number of essays on contemporary poetry, gender, and value-form theory and with Fred Wah, is the editor of a poetics anthology, Toward. Some. Air.(Banff Centre Press, 2015).She is Lecturer in Contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory at King’s College London, and is currently working on her first critical book, Unsociable Poetry: Antagonism and Abstraction in Contemporary Feminized Poetics.