twoby Andrew Levy
The Particulars Surrendered
Conspiracy theories in the Rose Garden proclaim
The National Day of Prayer. Jesus Christ, what liberating
Good news do you have in mind? The exalted egotism
Of one’s good conscience? Loopholes in rent laws?
Extracting a confession rendered impotent more an act of
Torture gone awry in the rocky casserole of a loose thread?
Hypocrisy and cynicism speak for God. That is why I love
Education. I belong to that history. All the things that stick
To skin: hospitality, tolerance, and respect for others. Friendship.
A language in which every letter of the alphabet has to be
Profoundly human. The charitable tax status denominational
Hierarchy everywhere an arrangement and expression of
Paralysis decisive and tilted in all of its melty autosurveillance.
When will our butler walk on water? Will an indexical
Reversal of supplement never reach the cell tower? When
Will Detroit cut off water for millions after penetrating
Within the human body its repugnance and polemic? Or (aren’t
We already there?) shelter the most dastardly system of
Inequity that ever disgraced a bag of mulch accused of pedo-
Philia in the U.S. Senate. Unhampered void, heart rate,
Respiratory rate, hormonal comportment, sin. Involuntary
Flows through the body. Samaritan's Purse and Liberty
University land surveyor locals pull and push the Marquis
de Sade. Indiana issues travel warnings urging their residents
To get vaccinated for Hepatitis A before traveling to
Unapologetic Michigan. Who are you going to believe?
Billy Strayhorn? Duke Ellington? We enter a mysterious
Principality. Particulars surrender to an eternally
Structural Hint of Conflict
Small ideas cannot express the sorrow. The pistachio ice cream,
After a month, began to ring persistently. Political space
Can now no longer be gauged by a proletarian representation
Of contemplation. Surely, being professional about morality,
With their mouths full of food, poets replete with grammar and spelling
Errors maintain their balance on irregular shards. The population
Has no weapons and are quite helpless. They’re not going to listen
To anything I say. However, sitting on a powder tin keg, a lit
Cigarette in hand dangling dangerously close to the fuse,
I cling to vague promises from well-intentioned but ineffectual
Friends. There is no ashtray in sight. It has taken the wrong
Direction and is now twelve hours’ journey away, and every morning
The powder keg suddenly reappears beneath my ass. A lot of
Systems are designed to serve some central kind of mob scheme
Rather than the person seated on the keg. The old arguments
Endlessly trot in deference to public consensus to die for God and
Country above the dark hollow about to suffocate on the tarmac
You don’t see. My eyes have become disproportionately large.
How to imagine a transparency that leaves so much out it moves in our
Sleep to twitter handles accused of pimping power destroyed
In its proximity to whatever it links to? Such is not the case if
You are attached to the material nature of this world. This world
Is the beginning of a long absence. It follows that the surrounding
Fires have no off-camera existence. Any discrepancy is ultimately
The poem’s fault, and sometimes the words to describe it
Have to catch up. The structural hints of our bodies are more
Discriminating than our minds. What the ingredients want explode
In the middle. In an artificial omniscience the precipitous atmosphere
Of global citizens begins to bark. It isn’t funny.
Andrew Levy is the author most recently of Artifice in the Calm Damages (Chax Press), Don’t Forget to Breathe (Chax Press), and Nothing Is In Here (EOAGH Books). His poems and essays have appeared in numerous American and international anthologies, most recently, An Anthology of 60 Contemporary American Poets (Zasterle, Spain, 2017). Levy’s writing works on the intersections of class & the ecology of commerce, experimental music & media convergence, and the technologizing of freedom.