Stephen Vincent – Elegy for The Present

Stephen Vincent

Elegy for The Present

I am trying hard to be relaxed, organized, productive

I am trying hard to forget, immortalize and realize

I am trying hard to be present, attentive and lovely

I am trying to be aggressive, focused, totally on track

I am trying to read, not read, read again

I am trying to examine desire, be desire, love desire

I am trying to pinch, push, pulverize

I am not doing very good

I am doing very bad

I like the anxious feel of guilt

I like the feel of failure

I like paralysis

I like to dumb it way down

I like to turn on the television

I like newscasters that don’t blink

I like punishment

I like to hear the count of the war dead

I like the long lines waiting for gas in Iraq

I like the boys and girls that are shot by mistake

I like Presidential, Pentagon and Home Security News Conferences

I am not doing very well

I am afraid they are winning

I am afraid I cannot rise to the table

I cannot speak

I cannot praise, celebrate or charm anyone

I like surveillance, video monitors in the hallway, in my bedroom

I like Jesus, the Father, the Holy Ghost

I like Ronald Reagan, Jerry Ford and both Bushes

I still cannot seem to like Nixon

I am having a terrible day. The windows won’t open. I can hardly breathe

I like old faded 1950’s Marilyn Monroe Calendars

I like stories of the early, late and most recent plague

I like bridge movies where the train falls off the edge

I am getting too nostalgic

I am not doing too well

I am reading and not reading and then trying to read poetry

I am sick and tired of Elvis. I want to see Clint smile

I am tired of Lyn Cheney, Laura Bush and the Secretary of the Interior

I am tired of seeing the same street bombed in Baghdad

I want to live inside Google and count my PDFs

I want to be a search engine without a task

I want to pick up my life and put it in a compartment.

I want to sell the compartment to science

I want winter to be dark as can be and let it all be over

I want to be an ocean without breakers, without waves, without salt

I want to be one of the one thousand golf courses in Palm Springs

I want the gray sky to slit its throat.

I want this abuse – international, national and domestic – to absolutely stop

I want to wake up without a war, without a threat, without their dumb terror

I want the army, the navy and the marines to dissolve instantly

I want real sweat to come out of my body

I want real demons to come out of my body

I want to stop writing this poem. I want to get back to work

I want to stop being anxious

I want the private blood to celebrate the public

I am tired of public blood, the endless thirst for public blood

I wanted a complicated, simple life with plenty of roses

I want to feel great putting my shoulder to the wheel

I want your love and my love and everybody’s love

I want to hate on the most intimate level

I want to dispel hate on the most intimate level

I want the full circus everyday: lights, camera, action

I want to dissolve the solitary poem into the grandest of actions

I want to stop saying ‘want’ instantly

I want the lack of want

I don’t want the lack

I don’t want anything

I want to slow down

I want to slow

I want to

I want



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