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December 6, 2016 | Poetry

Maybe Rome Grew Tired

Tyler Atwood

Maybe Rome Grew Tired photo

maybe Rome grew tired

I want you to think about being a city & then I want you to
think about being a barbarian hoard that wants to take that city
there aren't enough firewalls between my brain & what I read
so many watch the news fear the terrorists & their attacks & if
they're here already I figure Maslow would say our cognitive
[dissonance/discomfort] small potatoes to those clinging to the
lowest rung & anyway maybe Rome grew tired of warring too
maybe we deserve what's coming next maybe I just wrote that
hoping the NSA would notice maybe I think that the likeliest
scenario to increase readership hashtag-thanks-metadata-collection
that sounds mechanical & unhappy my gears are so fucked up
I should probably register to vote the mercies of public transit
are inconsistent at best I'm unclear as to the stakes but I know
which side I want to be on b/c compromise the bastard invention
of poor planning & I'll be back up any time now cash out for more
than I bought in never look back I thought we were talking politics
you say but we both know the house always wins I might agree but
I can't in good conscience watch a sixteenth season of Big Brother
the Internet is our finger on the trigger of a bullhorn but we speak
mostly clickbait they will put a bullet in Edward Snowden when
no one is looking & we will forget the next day when 4chan
releases new hacked naked celeb photos b/c who doesn't dream
of being on set the extra in a plastic Centurion uniform sexting w/
the lead between takes today I am tired of staring at a screen for
a living I bought this coyote pelt on eBay from a guy in MT for $9
it was a deal I think he advertised w/ a pic of his wife in a US flag
bikini the fur draped between her breasts & holding the shotgun
he used I don't know what the reason for this is & you can laugh
or whatever but when I bury it I'm hoping to end our civilization 

 

friday night existential crisis

don't want to go watch the new McDonagh flick
Calvary at the Mayan or read the anthology of
surveillance poetics I sent off for the news provides
enough anxiety or eat the x-tra firm grilled teriyaki tofu
w/ soba noodles she & I cooked b/c nothing I like
is good for me & the chemical bath in my brain is still
[half-life undiminished/toxic] so when I walk down
10th ave to the park on a sunny day & the lightning storm
in the back of my skull (they say LSD collects
in the spinal column) don't want to write a poem
even though I told her we would together &
this quiet/[ ]/processing could be better w/
the right music I suppose but I listen to the same albums
on repeat even when I want something different I think
Jack White is talking about himself when he says he drinks
gasoline I [understand/want] [burning/light/blindness] too
I don't want to smoke or not smoke it reminds me
of the sex I should be having b/c ephemeral youth
& hashtag-something-clever but let's be honest
my teeth are rotting I looked in the mirror today I said 
this morning there is more gray in my beard than yesterday 
though my tolerance for linear time seems to be increasing
don't want to meet my coworkers at William's Tavern for
cheap well shots of whiskey & wonder what my parents think
about the [relevance/or not] of poetry or whether anyone will
read me—ha! how narcissistic—on a cellular level
she & I are not the same people we were when we met
& when I told my father I was moving in w/ her
he said you put the cart in front of the horse again
but I don't want the horse it's a metaphor for
marriage & who's driving the cart? the people
I grew up with are making children & have nothing
but photos & photos & photos I was lying earlier
about my tolerance for linear time b/c I don't want
all the minutes scrolling a newsfeed seeking—this is
a kind of despair the [changing/gaining] speed (please someone
remind me if it takes more than 140 characters will anyone
read it?) & is it not vanity creating a 'private' sphere
for others to consume? don't want the solitude
or the putting-myself-out-there but I wonder if 
this writing is 'work' & doesn't seem as meaningless
she says you don't realize what you're asking—I agree
b/c all the universe might be extinct light anyway
but I [understand/want] her silhouette against mine
in the [maybe/maybe not] of stars b/c this might be
enough I don't know

image: Carabella Sands


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