These offences of comfort, soft offices
of officialdom, we flailed off to Byzantium
our plastic bags full of aluminum cans
and other recyclables, until the shopping cart
broke down outside The Great City.
Gentle Pedestrian, thy tastes are nothing
if not noble, thy savagery a modest distance
from which I view thy ruffles
of cupcakes, contrivances—overhead, the dirigibles
of solemn factoids, the providence of my cultural
acumen. Spring is acumen in, I said
to my fellow pilgrims, and the parlance of Vatican
pigeons is messy messy messy. How I squandered
my simpletons out there in the Public Baths,
how we supposed upon The Symposium
one afternoon before The Centurions arrived.
I’m not one inclined to fury,
but the silliness of my century flutters my heart
and I flatter out here on The Intermediary Avenues
as the immensity just gets bigger and bigger
and more and more meaningless. I’m positively
pregnant with meaning, Gestalt-ish, my whole
is inconceivable, even to me—the mites
in my eyebrows, the microbes in my colon,
I was conceived in the alchemical slimes of a wetlands
now filled with industrial slag and lighted walkways.
And O, I have slogged upon them (my inner recesses)
until I was apprehended by The Enforcement
that arrived just as I was really getting somewhere
with the loons and the geese and the puppies and such.
Byzantium is a lie. I am a lie.
The Enforcement is a lie. I have destroyed The Evidence
and perceive these cyclists with newfound curiosity.
Whirr, whirr, whirr—
O, bittersweetly lickable planet!
This fraudulent search engine! The mechanics
inside my heart are all informants
and they know it and I know it and I am superlatively
sick to death here in this loving totality
that presses upon me like a roomful of pillows—
O brief candle and so forth,
they snuffed me out by the Drive Thru Window
and those bracy teenagers hollered unintelligible things
over the intercom, and the heat lamps persevered,
and the convertibles just honked and honked.
Matt Shears is the author of Where a road had been (BlazeVOX 2010) and the chapbook 10,000 Wallpapers: Alter(n)ations #30-40 (Brooklyn Arts Press). He lives in Oakland, California.