CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
|The Right to Be Forgotten
Sun in, out, flirtatious, in tandem
with whatever Empire wants
with each brain’s files,
the women in trenches stroll, the men in tailored trousers power up.
Philanthropists’ thirty-odd gasses in the guts
to light the towers. Mail lessens to soil,
phones fall out and melt a bit on their corners—
My charger, old age comes into the room to see the mice
masticating the underworld’s
slang, core and pith. Sunken house, black silk, suck and sob.
I figured if I ever wanted to wear a petticoat again,
I’d better do it now.
One anthologist said to another, it’s time for a new genre.
Against the rosy prose era
I grow higher and higher in the heel.
Fahrenheit of the paperback
under glass, pointed wind
in clock’s white, stare there.
Finally Virtue comes in. I don’t trust her!
Whether from the body of the stream
or from the surface of the stream
comes the spoken tongue.
I take it too far.
One panel of a double church door, unhinged from its portal,
leans sideways on the barn’s
salvaged side. I’m off message, Father, forgive me,
the piece I ate of Sweet Jesus was spat low
as up I flew into unpredictable currents
beneath carrion, turkey, and vulture.
I was somewhere else, I remember the slow forms.
What was, dead. What becomes.
Sam Cooke’s self-command of the human back,
head tilted up to release such vocables.
Play of Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse
through Death’s gross parties,
attention without subject the highest form
How to cease to be
and still have dominion. One ear bud always falls out.
Could be a humanism, could be a nihilism,
we laugh to see ourselves
so at ease in this mirror.
Come eve, all vape, makeshift. A darker plate glass
across from a darker plate glass.
Consciousness a gathering, floating kimono in space
we stand in to thread, disassemble, and fuzz.
Where the infernal conjures its musicians,
The mouse takes to her wheel
but the wheel flees
down the path, gathering dirt upon dirt
to make its own orbit, where we read
what we read
the world over,
with our half-closed eyes.
Over the bridge the people walk.
The people who were told not to walk over that bridge.
Do not think of the bridge, we are waiting for you.
The people who had been forewarned.
The present murders their sons.
as though a defunct
vice vice president
follows not far behind
like someone whispering
“drought drought drought”
in the theatrical rain
falling all over
from the overgrown topiary, the red dwarf star
Between the weed fields, cattle’s breath smelling of chamomile to make the sweet cheese.
They removed the guardrail,
we are like a family here, and everyone ran.
Gillian Conoley’s seventh and most recent book, Peace, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and named one of Academy of American Poets Stand-Out Books of 2014. Her translation of three books by Henri Michaux, Thousand Times Broken, (City Lights), excerpts from which were first published in Conjunctions:61, A Menagerie, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s top-ten fall 2014 poetry releases. Her work has appeared previously in the Conjunctions online magazine, as well as in Conjunctions:42, Cinema Lingua, Conjunctions:60, In Absentia, and Conjunctions:62, Exile.