Virginia Konchan

Post-pastoral 

 

Every philosophy was in its genesis a long tragedy.

Weeding the carnations, I cry.

The problem with awe:

it’s not immutable.

The problem with prayer:

our pleading with the world

is not enough to undo a history of facts.

What’s harder to define, love or hate?  

Is art’s ambition to be perfect in a way 

mere mortals can never be?

Thus, the twilight of the human.

Thus, the anointing of the daemon,

tutelary deity lower than the gods.

Do we rue the sun its rising?

Window shoppers, their

parsimonious smiles?

I cannot find a symbol adequate to our predicament:

my inner nature, a hodgepodge of twine and glue.

I think of how many people there are 

I will never know:  billions,

like those by McDonalds served.

Curious, I want to know them.

Selfless, I want to be them.

But I don’t have any income for travel,

let alone the discretionary kind.

The garden I referenced is an hologram;

I don’t even have a window ledge.

But I did spend my lunch money

on topsoil, with the hope of more:

shimmering, like Valhalla, around the bend.

I failed to actualize my potential.

I have been cheated of my destiny.

I rip the imagined flowers to shreds,

cry again.





Fugue

Doom is almost always ghastly.

But can’t it be, at least sometimes, fun?

In order for there to be self-determinism

there must be a self.  In order for there to be

trespassing, there must be boundary lines.

What is that fake votive candle doing there?

Flickering as if fragile, like flame.

It’s easy to forget water is a weapon.

I want to be honest, but I see the wires.

Where does an auto-immune disorder fall

in the vast catalog of harm?  To begin

you must believe in a future.  You must

have a membrane, to keep out the world.

I am not a lily in the field:  I toil and I spin.

Jellyfish have no brain, heart, nor eyes,

yet God loves them, in God’s munificence:

a holiness so devastating it has to be ironic.

All I wanted was a modest life:  silo of grain;

a creature to cradle; eyes powering down 

late at night.  But this feels less wrong than

doing nothing.  The body is but cannot speak, 

like a dog.  Childhood will never again recur—

water pistol fights, costuming in drag, 

slamming or breaking body parts 

on the driveway or lawn.   

What is the etymology of etymology?

How in your opinion are we to prevent war?

Tomorrow, I’ll ascend to the managerial class;

being finished, or dead, gives a thing value.

Tomorrow, I’ll do exactly what I did today,

except calendrically, and in different clothes.

I’ll sit down at my computer and type prodigiously,

wondering, no, beseeching, for whom the world is for.

 

 


 

The Death of Futurism

I find myself, in recent days, staring at trash longingly:
wishing it had value, knowing it was my home.
You’re waiting patiently, in flattering clothes.
Gone are the days of lounging and puttering
in a straitjacket, smoking Pall Malls in my
isolation cell, gossiping with frenemies
on the web.  Your engine is sputtering.
Your heart is racing.  Tolstoy was right:
boredom is the desire for desire.  What now,
now that desire has exploded like a booby trap,
disturbing migration patterns of egrets and doves?
Wherefore art art, when bliss threatens to cleave,
then sever, our tongues?  Yes, I am dumb as an ox.
Yes, I have uttered nothing worth re-uttering:
such is the plague of a clime with constant sun.
Thus, I’ll fetch my beach towel, my wide-brimmed
hat:  therefore I’ll cede to something bigger, like a
fetus in my womb.  How strange, the monocle
worn by the all-knowing:  even it’s askew.
My god, you came like a thief at night.
Like god, you fill my empty spaces,
when all I’d ever thought to want
was broken, fissure between
what is and what’s to come. 

 
 

Author of two poetry collections, Any God Will Do (Carnegie Mellon, 2020) and The End of Spectacle (Carnegie Mellon, 2018); a collection of short stories, Anatomical Gift (Noctuary Press, 2017); and four chapbooks, as well as co-editor (with Sarah Giragosian) of Marbles on the Floor:  How to Assemble a Book of Poems (University of Akron Press, 2022), Virginia Konchan's creative and critical work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Believer, Boston Review and elsewhere.

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