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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, August 24, 2018.
About this Poem 

“When Terrance Hayes was in Washington, D.C. recently reading from American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, I was talking with him about how American poets—or even just any/many of us here—are using repetition (refrain, anaphora, epistrophe) as a means of coping with (or penetrating) the chaos and media assault of our times. I think this poem may reflect that aesthetically. Conceptually, the poem is an artistic byproduct of my current pining for an actual anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist existence (the title and refrain here being adapted from the closing of the Communist Manifesto). Figuratively and literally, how different, disorienting, or necessarily painful would that life be compared to my now? (Or not?) No answers here—not that I write poems to ‘answer’—but challenges to some popular and personal assumptions.”
—Kyle Dargan

But My Chains

But my loyalty
   	points—my purchasing
   	power. Nothing.

But my economies
   	of scale, my digital
   	compression :: companionship.

But my all-
   	loneliness, my rail-
   	rapid integration.

But my market-
   	driven love
   	handles, my accrued

But my taste
   	in artisanal

But my choice
   	of protein, of pit-baked
   	avarice, of indulgences.
   	[CHURCH collects
   	as does CAESAR.]

But my supply
   	side floods, my O’
   	so buoyant home
   	staked and sandbagged
   	on striving’s pebbly shore.

But my internal
   	combustion, my miles,
   	my carcinogenic
   	Kingdom Come. Nothing.

But my fast casual
   	history—every morsel
   	wrapped in a bank
   	notes’ blood-sketched

But my user-friendly
   	righteousness, my Gross
   	Domestic Amnesia.
   	[In place of the old wants …
   	we finds new wants.]

But my comfort,
   	my tariffed aches,
   	my engorged
   	prerogatives. [I made
   	this money,
   	you didn’t. Right, Ted?]

But my ability to believe
   	that what I’ve paid for,
   	I have made. Nothing

   	to lose, except ownership
   	of this wallet-sized tomb—
   	these six crisp walls.

Copyright © 2018 by Kyle Dargan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 24, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Kyle Dargan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 24, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Kyle Dargan

Kyle Dargan

Kyle Dargan is the author of Anagnorisis (Northwestern University Press, 2018).

by this poet


On a railroad car in your America,
I made the acquaintance of a man
who sang a life-song with these lyrics:
"Do whatever you can/ to avoid
becoming a roofing man."
I think maybe you'd deem his tenor
elitist, or you'd hear him as falling
off working-class key. He sang
not from


“We can no longer afford that particular romance.”
—James Baldwin

Brother Rickey halts me before I cross East
Capitol. He trumpets that we are at war.

I want to admit that I don’t believe in “white”
—in the manner that Baldwin did not—but Brother

Rickey would


after Lorde

Your body is not my pommel horse
nor my Olympic pool or diving board.
Your body is not my personal Internet
channel nor my timeline,
nor my warm Apollo spotlight.
Your body is not my award
gala. Your body is not my game—
preseason or playoffs.