Today's poem is by Marc McKee

Jubilee Rotation
        for JR

Let's face it: the gods we chase into the decay of dusk
            & the quick of next light

are gods with their navigation systems cut
                        & cut again

so they press their rascal nerves
            against the teeming air. Sometimes

            I have never been inside a house.

Tonight brakelights flood the alley
                        & slick the waning night

with the blood-colored glare
                                    of a crash site. Tonight

your voice cuts against the kaleidoscopic real
                        & topographies leap up—quick flowers

            lacing the faces of the city's cliffs! tough & wise,

light pouring from the breaks we have been conditioned
            to overlook. I bare never been inside a house

like now really. Our tribe has no village
                        let's face it: restive only

in places meant to be passed through
            & in this way a stoop is a train station

            & four years is a crowded cotillion on a fire escape

where everyone is ruled by hunger.
                        This world: what a phone booth! This world:

what a cellophane salad! This world: what can we say about it
                                    that hasn't already been whispered

by kindling that can't stay asleep so close
                        to so many matches? Breathing: how isn't it

a paring knife that doesn't fit the block

& a tongue? I don't have to tell you
                        Avoid the shallows. Impossible

to act like a fountain always. Sometimes a bottle of scotch
                        longing to scorch, more often

a hand scored
                        simply by pawing at reflections—

            I have always been a child, you have always been

well-dressed lightning & its thinking shadow,
                        you make keys of the air with your edges.

It is inaccurate to call our gods human
                        but they are not more than,

flowering in the tenuous hitches
                        between then & now; the balancing act

            of every desperate historiography.

These places where we have lived, these seizures
                        of thought and eyesight,

we make them home:
                                    Our gods cannot glance

quickly across an intersection
                        without our own endangered breath

            & the breath you give the gods

as your hands gild the daguerrotypes,
                        the endlessly coursed meal of memory:

it is enough to confound a sound sleep,
                        to set a dozen little worlds spinning faster,

each like a reel owned by a hooked marlin
                        who will never stop running into the deep blue water

            though the world disappoints it so

& though the world disappoints us so
                        it can also glint upwards through miles of dark sea—

Come on: now our gods
                                    are cold masks laid in piles at the Party Store,

we are always at a threshold,
                        we will never be the same, come on:

            now, now
it is time for us to be them.

Copyright © 2011 Marc McKee All rights reserved
from New South
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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