Today's poem is by Jennifer Moxley


When fixed into my explanations this phrase
provided ballast—canned goods for a journey
that promised to be long, and that was good.

"Make it new." I said and thought it, held it up
against destruction: how I loved the world
I was denied
. The idea when it seemed to matter.

Uncharted was not our heritage, though well-trod-upon
bravado still pleases the young. Those looking to deny
the efforts. And why not, they come to nothing.

The tacky midlife denouement. It too grows boring.
Not so the figure: the shadow beneath the line
naively cast at outset, the depth and not the distance.

Let me say it: form is always more than a bonded
agreement with vague utterance. It changes
everything, at least at first. But concentrate.

Anyone who falls for a middling story can belong.
The "language of men" after all. I once espoused it
but never spoke it, that is except in artifice. This all matters,

truthfully. I cared, I did. Though the uncharted was not
my heritage, I was new to it, and it to me and it seemed
compelling. Though some said "serious" or "important."

I repeat the phrase: "no ideas but in things" etc.
Others listen. Small gestures to prove I can think.
How different the moment of insight. It seems to be

my mistake. "Poetry makes nothing happen." Though
saying so causes quite the stir. And wasn't it decided
that "nothing" was superior to "something"? The white

prophets of absence. Which bears a stamp some claim
to see and speak for. Ballast, like two stinking whale heads
suspended on either side of the ship, banging against

the hull, the thud of destructive profit. Nobility.
Keep to the path. Come up with something to say.
"Uncharted was not my heritage," things were named

when I got here, and now I can look them up. Pictures
even. I learned that those on a murderous mission
never attend to a leaking ship. But we'll all die! Then

you'd better write this down. So long civilized world.
Orchestrated by the cathedrals of capital your death bequeaths
a moby debt to these dim lands o f peace. Dim indeed.

Copyright © 2009 Jennifer Moxley All rights reserved
from Colorado Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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