First Narrowly Averted Apocalypse
Once upon a time I knew
that whales had ears.
That in them were bones,
and by them the tight spiral of time
could be gauged. I knew
the names of many stars
and the myths in which they glowed
like cold, dead fire. Once,
I trembled before love like fire.
Once. O sad heart, what to say
of this cold air, this darkness,
this will to credulous harm,
and the suspicion that California
is another world entire?
That there is in this poem a world,
a mostly empty train, darkness
and mountains and, sure, danger,
is fitting. That there is a fat guy
named Steven Seagal who
doubtlessly, breathlessly, knows
many ways to visit martial death
upon evildoers, well, this, too,
is fitting. Some nights, so
very late my bones seem to weep
with hard pain, I stare up
at the ceiling, in the direction
of God and the angels and all
objects which in their orbits are decaying.
I don’t exactly pray for anything
or anyone and now
you know my selfish secret,
dear reader. Look,
snow on the ground and toxic
despair and a nuclear bomb,
somewhere, and a villain
who looks a lot like Eric Bogosian
in a justly maligned role
and the wind which is lousy
“First Narrowly Averted Apocalypse” is from Because Everything is Terrible (Diode Editions, 2018).