inauguration day

                              — January 21, 2013


         which is to say celebration

of a decreasingly rose-colored

here & now

that sings of more even as it

shelters less

                         which is to say

a motive more sybarite than survivor

when to live gets parsed as

to be entitled

                           the province

no longer need but

the sweatworn precincts

of hands knotting in faceless precision

the corollaries of our comfort

                                                        at dawn

crows gather as always along

the power lines that mirror

his balcony

                        he hates

their implacable ownership

the way they wrap their claws

around the necessities of his being

as if to suggest

with a casual elongation of wing

how blithely they might

remove it all from

his displeasure

                              sawtooth harmonies

imprinting his sleep

saga of a man spun in gauze

until nothing can attain him but raw

dissonance

                       he wakes to their demand

the way we stagger toward death

at war with what cannot

be amended

                          he rides

the waves of his distortions

with all the grace of the fatally

self-aware

                      he reinvents salvation

judging the woman in the cell-free café

her illicit call to dispute

the bill for premium channels

she believes are her due

but which she will not pay

because she bears no responsibility

for the capriciousness of a cosmos

beyond her control

                                      she

hangs up disgruntled &

gathering herself to leave

accidentally kicks over

a neighbor's computer bag

looks down

                        shrugs

                                      goes

                                                 that

is an actual soul

he makes himself breathe

as though exhalation might revive

the sacred diction

of empathy

                       a soul

goddamn it

                        &

it mirrors his own

as surely as water mirrors

the hand that strikes it

                                            I am

therefore I

                    therefore I

                                           he

parses & parses

until he no longer knows

his own periphery

                                    until

the not-so-simple truth of the self

surrenders to the slipstream

of rage

                until all he can claim

is the shadow of

another's suffering

                                     & suddenly

he senses a response

rising through him from

the emptiness in her wake

                                                  which is

the emptiness in his core

                                                & it says

one thing only

                            fuck it

all

         he gropes for equilibrium

for the man he believes himself to be

for anything that is not virulence

finds only fuck all of it all of her

fuck every single person who is not

me

          cycle complete

commonweal at once created

& corrupted

                         the darkest in us

as sure as the seed of something

greater

                 their taut coexistence our truest

compass

                    which lands us here today

as we augur the arrival of the us

to whom we think we are

entitled

                 parlay

another into our place

                                           reassert

our claim to the chains

of our freedom

                              shrug

                                           go

                                                  if

we must celebrate

then let us choose as though lives

actually depend on

this

          let us seek

the more distressing vein of less

which whispers

like a mantra no one hears

that simplest & most unsettling

of prayers

                     we are

                                     are we

not

          & if so