Today's poem is by Anthony Frame
Everything I Know I Learned from Rachel Maddow
If truth really is relative, then power
is defined by the size of your voice.
I've studied enough semiotics to know my body
is a sign and every word is significant.
Like my beard, which has nothing to do
with my wife. My cover-ails are a costume
worn to ward off customers who say,
It's none of my business, but are you ...
I don't know how to keep smiling, how to be
comfortable in my confused DNA. Mostly,
I want arms that don't surprise when they
lift a ladder. I want hair that is the twin
of wind gusts, and I want it nowhere near
my ass. It's the crisis I see in trees just
before fall. I know this is a zero-sum game,
but my voice needs more than a blow horn,
especially when editors encourage me to kill
my I. So, don't ask me, I'm too busy
blowing smoke out of my truck's window.
Blame my molester for his definition of love.
Blame my uncle who trimmed my girly eyelashes.
Blame the 1990s, when every window was
cracked but none were shattered. My problem
is I've never been good at self-
analysis. My expertise is in incomplete
metamorphosis. So, go ahead, blame me.
Have you seen the box elder bug?
Its little body, black and curling
along the earth. Its sharp red lines
defining its segments the same way
our veins define our segments.
I've seen it, so close it seemed
I could hear it sing. It seemed
I could almost see it think.
There's an old joke here, about a fly,
a window, and the dying thoughts
of an order of insects that only
knows to feed, to breed, to move
toward the heat of the rising sun.
The beetle flies to the brightness,
then it marches through the grass,
up your aluminum siding, searching
for morning moisture, for silent solitude
among the many. The box elder bug
doesn't sweat though it looks so,
thanks to the dew that compels it
to crawl up the east side of anything
vertical, anything away from shade.
There's a pun here, about ghosts,
about the soft darkness of hearts,
we who have hearts that aren't
thin slivers surrounded by steel skin.
Watch its eyes, too small to be seen
as they compound me into thousands
of pieces. No, the box elder bug won't
damage the trees and seeds it lives on
but when you see it you'll call me,
you'll call it the devil's heart as it
scrambles away from my shadow.
I know I'll kill it and the poison will work
slowly. Still, the dormant Buddhist in me
thinks my mind will be lucky if it returns
as a beetle or a fly. I've seen box elder bugs
up close. I've seen them burst among
the grass like stars. I watched one die
in the hardened palm of my hand,
the black shell curling in on itself,
the beetle squirming as if it could
consider its next life, the red veins,
the blood pounding our bodies,
our hearts, the eternal eclipse.
Copyright © 2013 Anthony Frame All rights reserved
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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