for Emily Steiner
You'd think a thousand years of laments would be enough,
but no. Now I have to write one.
First, it seems, you get stuck in these systems,
then you have to explain yourself to them.
I now think my kinsmen had secret plans behind those more or less smiling faces.
Reason is fretted with anger since I've been forced to live it here under an oak tree in a suburban cave.
The streets are gloomy, overgrown with cars,
lit and crosslit by the varnished light of credit card debt.
The cars move or not in their sullen variousness. Some shine, some do not.
You'd think it would be possible
to make macaroni and cheese without having to get in the car,
but no. No cheese: no macaroni and cheese.
Aren't a thousand years of laments enough?
There's a little parmesan, but no cheddar.
There's a little global problem, but no big perspective.
So it's out on the tossing waves to Superfresh.
Fresh tears, fresh words drawn from my own deep sadness,
my sorrowful lot. I can say that.
"Weigh your 'sharp cheddar cheese.'"
"Move your 'sharp cheddar cheese' to the belt."
In this wide world, I am seized with longings.
I have not suffered such hardships as now.
This is not a generic thousand-year-old lament, but fresh every day.
"Weigh your 'broccoli rabe.'"
"Move your 'broccoli rabe' to the belt."
"Weigh your 'pretending, plotting, murderous, smiling face.'"
"Move your 'pretending, plotting, murderous, smiling face' to the belt."
I would now explain the lit and crosslit gloom of the system
that makes us live most wretchedly, far from one another,
but no. Explain to my friendless kinsmen, tossed
with fresh gloomy longings, vigilant to the generic clutch of anguish,
explain to the Superfresh stronghold. "Weigh your
'thousand years of linguistic change.'" "Move your 'thousand years
of linguistic change' to the belt."
You'd think one car would be enough,
one long, wide world that has or hasn't asked me to live here
through this surrounded earth under these tossing systematic dawns.
You'd think, after a thousand years,
I draw these words from my endless list seized with crosslit longings.
'endless list seized with crosslit longings.'"
'endless list seized with crosslit longings'
to the belt."
A thousand years, crossed off, hide their ache under the smiling parking lot,