New Poetry with Audio!
McKee lives in
Houston. His poems have appeared recently in Elixir, Salt Hill,
Conduit and The Journal.
If the lies we told got any more honest
we would not be believed, thus
when I say I was staring at you,
tall, mop-haired and looking through
the dismembered Times
because you look like an acquaintance
I haven’t seen in a while, it is
important that you be a foot shorter
and without the great girth of head
that led him to front a band called APE
and get arrested anonymously
in the capital, living only on orange juice
for five days. For some it is no struggle
to see the familiar in the strange—maybe
it comes of imagining the refrigerator
as a rocket if we could only fit! but no—
there are too many supplies. Now
you are gone. What would the sky
feel like, anyway, if we could just
ride a refrigerator toward where
we saw a lamp fall from high in the west?
Can a toaster grow back the bagger’s
missing hand and so double his bag-packing
productivity or sprout from her scored knees
new legs on the woman at the bus stop?
She’s sitting alone at the bus stop! With no
helpful appliances! and I’m applying
my foot to the gas pedal as if late
for a wedding. Then you changed
into a smallish red-haired girl
wearing a football jersey and a fedora
sitting down at my table as if I hadn’t heard
many times already about 13 year olds
diving into a pool of substance abuse
after compelled fellatio for the creepy
next-door neighbor—it is a familiar awfulness,
but there is no strange registry annotating
devices suitable for rendering savaged tugboats
into sagacious dolphins—perhaps
if I concentrated long enough, if I looked
into each with supreme focus, I would turn into
a washing machine, air conditioning, a waffle iron,
the as-yet uninvented finally applied,
of some use when you wish to ascend.
I do not recall water.
Now one tree becomes a thousand matches
and one match can unbecome a thousand trees.
This begets a certain feeling about languor.
What the TV news promises:
Ability to cope with persistent dangers in the home.
Keys to surviving exotic animals loose in your neighborhood.
How not to die
but still the ways to die outnumber the ways
to not die. Which beget lyric and lyrical begetting;
Even in the tessitura of moans and panting: music.
Hunger can only be mollified,
the mouth at the center of an hourglass—
We may be only thirst quenched.
But our post-script is unavailable to the mortal eye
boarding the train, the funeral veil smeared with rain.
Something late held too close.
Newspapers or museum guards follow us,
as if we meant the art harm
or to attend our inevitable wounding.
There’s a sword and blanket in my heart
and I know not my coat of arms but
things could be worse. The more sadness
is jettisoned toward the sun the more
the field of post-flight junk accumulates
around the earth. For instance feeling
as though you have one gleaming side
to a story while the rest of the world asserts
an opposite. Was I dream-listening again?
or did someone say There’s three sides
to every story which seemed to appear in
the careering heat of a mathematical moment.
Is it a law or a theory or a flippant conjecture
that any body nearing the speed of light
increases sharply in mass toward
really fucking big and how did that turn
into anybody? What weighs on me is
how much I cosmically do not know
but this can act like a sword or a blanket
and meanwhile I like to proceed as if
setting the bottle on the table gently
can avert nuclear disaster, like the sundrillion
things we say and do each day crane
toward a speeding assemblage bent on
a stunning re-calibration so yes! keep
washing that dish, come up with exact
change, straighten the stack of papers,
shave, say aloud if you must I nouned
the verb or I will sleep tonight the sleep
of fretting kings and so on but if comets
or meteors or asteroids could be said to think,
for instance one we might come to know
and fear in, say, 2019, then is that assemblage
not thinking Absolutely this is what I was born
to do and I will asbolutely do this absolutely
or terribly, silently focused
or thinking This is good—Good?
This will change everything.