Daily Postings
Literature : Word Choice


Scott Hazard, Exhaust Escaping, sculpture/photograph, 5.25 × 8 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

 

Caterpillar

When I’m waiting in the examination room
at the dermatology clinic for Dr. Fine to arrive
and undo the six stitches knitted into my jawline,
it’s superfluous to ruminate on beauty
and the marvelous human machine. The city
doesn’t need another treatise on healing,
another ode to pulchritude. It needs more lidocaine,
compression wraps, 0.9% bacteriostatic solution,
and more diamond-edged cutting blades
for the road workers incising Halsted Street
four stories below the window, more gauzy cirrus
bandaging the jawbreaker-blue dome
of early afternoon, more of the scaffolding
that gives the skyline the appearance of a patient
in traction so the whole of Chicago feels always
unfinished. Beauty is too easy. The serene
brown bottle and its white block font plainly
stating ALCOHOL is beautiful in its honesty,
and the glittery diode in the catastrophic red
of the fire alarm on the wall is beautiful for its pent-up
vigilance, and the cover of People magazine there
on the rack is flat-out ravishing with its vivid photographs,
its brash pronouncements. It says ELIN NORDEGREN
IS DATING AGAIN. What a relief! Elin Nordegren
is too gorgeous to go alone, and though I’m uncertain
who she is or on what reef she’s been lacerated
after what wreckage of marriage to emerge again
into romance as if a deity from the sea, I’m concerned
for her well-being same as the motorists who pull
to the curb to permit the anonymous, wailing ambulance
to pass, a gesture that serves as proof humble acts
of astonishing beauty are possible even in the rancor
of traffic. And it’s true Dr. Fine, first name Lauren,
possesses a confidence that begets elegance
which begets grace, so she’s awful beautiful too,
more so than Elin Nordegren, and more so
for the ring on her finger which makes her
utterly unavailable for dating, but I wait for her still
on the butcher paper of the exam bed with sutures
in my face that give me the appearance of being
more rugged and vulnerable than I am, more beautiful
and true, but honestly I’ve had my fill of truth and beauty.
I need to know the uncertain and the scarred also
so I don’t mistake this for a place I’m welcome
to linger in ever expecting an exquisite other to enter
and mend me. No, don’t dally a minute, doctor.
Open the door and bring me some terrible news.

Practicum

no theory in my bellyache no theory in the parking citation
no theory in a keen thorn come slicing my animal shin
no Wittgenstein in my carburetor no Heidegger in our foreplay
no theorists in the hot dog stand or theory to refurbish
the famished I want a hot dog not theory I want the heft
of alms not the tear-jerk of the homily no theory to console
the fervent as when I’m fervent blathering and fearful
the beloved will think me a lunatic for proffering illuminated
parchments whole bales of cotton candy every ruble in Eurasia
what I want is to give what’s nearly not possible to give
what I want is to not demand so much more for myself
as when too eagerly I adorn the beloved in extravagant kaftans
of such intricate grandeur no body could inhabit them still
I adore the facile logic of the infatuated to the tortured
ruminations of the jilted I prefer our anatomies mingled
in the sweat-making apparatus of the heat wave to the self
fraught and pensive in bleak abstractions of a cold front in April
when the whole city is yearning for the shriek of bluebells
which will in theory bloom though no theory is there
in the pang of our longing for instance when a body longs for
a medic no theory in the concussions that body’s cussing makes
as no theory in the obscenity of the wire reports of April
in Tripoli in Dara’a mortar rounds are practice not theory
as in no theory in what the orphan sees when she’s being orphaned
people shriek not bluebells not the banshees of theory who would
abstract and decipher this world its caution tape and shards
in hopes of mending it for which I also adore theory
how it wants to give what’s almost not possible to give
one day it might schematize the function of our suffering
one day it might answer our eschatology and one day render
a unified field between a theory of the self and the theory
of the Other but today we can ride out early with wineskins
slung over our shoulders today we can drink sangria in the desert
in its exorbitant ruin and you might kiss me hard on the mouth

Jaswinder Bolina is the author of Carrier Wave, winner of the 2006 Colorado Prize for Poetry. His new collection, Phantom Camera, was awarded the 2012 Green Rose Prize in Poetry by New Issues Press. He lives and teaches in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a member of the Humanities faculty at Lesley University.

Scott Hazard is an artist based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has exhibited his work at venues including the Second Street Gallery, Roanoke College, Goucher College, the Appleton Museum, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Artspace in Raleigh, NC. For more by Scott Hazard, visit his website.

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