If it’s meaning you’re beating
about by betting your mug
will look handsome on camera,
gumming up, if not hammered
by blurring by murmuring loops:
not birdbrained not mammal’d
not memo’d nor mannered not
rationed as breast-milk or gruel’d
as some lumpenprol sipping cold
soup: remember, the pain only stops
for a-linger, a zinger, then one finger’s
bummed as a thumb from a nail hit
askew of its head, and you’re a-wonk
as any working stiff, why—one step,
you can look up any iffish word, hot-
stuff, or try looking up a skirt, not much
to stoop to, up to my asshole in piles
of scratch-off lotto litter, on a canned
sightseer’s tour, or—or or—I can’t
give it. Jesus, give it up. Hurry by
or learn it by heart, nothing if rote
even over if hurt into blows
of the truth, a twang of back-porch.
We’re each of us breakable as china,
whole colonies of us all gone to bull
markets then broke: you buying it yet?
So here’s a few knotty boards,
some used naughty old broad
circular saws. Oh, and the screws
are top shelf, but who’s telling who’s
a soft touch, bridgework or torch,
the bolts from the blues, we’re all cut
from the same, a tragical ruse for what
holds it together but all its spare parts?
Now go—and make it yourself.
Will Cordeiro is currently a Ph.D. candidate completing his dissertation on 18th century British literature at Cornell University. Recent creative work appears in Copper Nickel, Crab Orchard Review, Fourteen Hills, Harpur Palate, Memoir Journal, Sentence, Verse (online), and elsewhere. He is grateful for residencies from Risley Residential College, Provincetown Community Compact, Ora Lerman Trust, ART 342, Blue Mountain Center, and Petrified Forest National Park. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.