Thursday Apr 18

KonchanVirginia Virginia Konchan is the 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 three chapbooks, including Empire of Dirt (above/ground press, 2019). Her poetry has appeared in The New YorkerThe New RepublicBoston Review, and elsewhere.

Ex Oblivione
I have reached the end
of my ability to troubleshoot.
I have reached the end
of my fantasy life, mélange
of magical thinking
and exegesis of sin.
In calligraphy, if a stroke falters,
you must begin the word all over again.
Glory be to Inanna,
ancient Mesopotamian goddess
associated with beauty, love, and war.
It’s true, I am bored stiff.
It’s true, there is a residue
of velum in my mouth.
O sexless being,
desire is god’s fingerprint.
The body does not want to be a spectacle.
The body does not want to be a blood sport.
I am picturing the parts of a camera.
I am picturing momentum,
the periodic table, a one-night stand.
Zero is a real number:
arousal a ululation in the throat.
I am picturing myself caught
in flagrante delicto, unashamed.
Give me a poem without suffering,
Lord. Give me your outstretched hand.

Who cares if beauty is hopeless? Hope is
what a sturdy uterus was built for: sad sack,
floating jellyfish without a means to repel.
People in exile write so many letters.
Voices crying out in the wilderness,
from the dark dungeon of penal servitude.
I define paradise as a place where there
are many places to cry other than dirty bathroom
stalls, my usual go-to. I define holy matrimony
as an exaltation of form, and doves. Good God,
our dying changed everything. Now insolence
rules the day, bookended by the workaday slog,
and desire is a tamed pit bull, lunging at its leash.
What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me.
What is hate? Cocktail of Molotov.
We are an epistle that cannot be read
aloud, as it would bring scandal to our
tribe. Out of dark waters, the end.
Let’s break bread together, then.
Let’s combat, then dissolve.

Please take a moment to participate
in this brief customer satisfaction survey.
Like a lion who forgets its hunger,
all my urges are manufactured urges,
my truest dream a deteriorating fetish.
What has become of the law of reciprocity,
now festering in a muddy ditch?
I have a fiduciary duty to my shareholders.
Begging repels, as does inductive reasoning.
The only difference between then and now
is that now you get to call it art.
Art: something just beyond articulation.
Art: a besmirched hymnal,
cup of bitterness that tastes divine.
Stop arguing with beauty, already.
Stop legislating the body’s wherewithal.
Like any good childhood, I repressed everything.
I think I have been doing this wrong for a while.
Your eyes: bright pennies submerged in a wishing well.
Your mouth: a coo-coo bird singing at the antique mall.
Like when I said Je t’aime and you didn’t,
love the only thing that doesn’t echo back.
Sweet Jesus: nothing remains of your body.
Corrective: these flowers will outlive us all.