The National Interest
We are interested in long criminal histories because we've never bedded down in a cellblock. With the sibilance of wind through the swaying spires of skyscrapers as my witness. When I say cover your grenades I mean it's going to rain I mean there is mischief in every filibuster of sun. We are interested in rigorously arranging emotions by color as we've never been fully divested of blues. With drinking till my fingernails hurt as my witness, with hurt as my witness. When I say be demanding I mean be fully individual while dissolving in the crowd. We are interested in characters who murder because we've never committed it or to it. With an origami frog in a vellum crown spinning on a fishing line from the ceiling as my witness. When I say please kneel with me I mean between every shadow and sad lack falls a word. We are interested in ceaselessly setting floor joists because we've never pulled a pole barn spike from a foot. With bowing to soap your ankles in the shower as my witness, lather as my witness. When I say did you see the freckle in her iris I mean the poem must reclaim the nature of surveillance. We are interested in possessing others who possess that which we possess but fear losing in the future. With a fork as my witness. A dollop of ketchup, hash brown, motion, with teeth as my witness. When I say you I don't mean me I don't mean an exact you I mean a composite you I mean God. We are interested in God because we can't possess God, because we can't possess you. With a scrum of meatheads in IZOD ogling iPods as my witness, technological progress as my witness. When I say no such thing as progress in art I mean "These fragments I have shored against my ruins" We are interested in ambivalence as ribcages resist being down when down, up when up. With the swell of the argument and the moment before forgiveness as my witness. When I say power is exclusion I mean a box of rocks we don't desire to deduce I mean knowing is never enough.
From The Spoils by Ted Mathys. Copyright © 2009 by Ted Mathys. Used by permission of Coffee House Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.