Today marks the end of National Poetry Month. Tomorrow, I will begin a short story I have been planning to write since March. For me, this month brought numerous rejections, one after another, including three short stories, several poems, and a complete poetry manuscript. Nevertheless, I have written twenty-two fresh poems, and to make things better, some of them are not too bad. To celebrate the end of April, I will post one more poem I wrote this month, entitled “Carpe Nix.” Enjoy.
There may be no good days to be useless,
but what use is today
when it snows three inches, when professors
grow pale over glasses of wine,
when coffee shops contract like muscles
as students file in one by one
preparing for public execution
sanctioned by professors
with sharp wine on their breath?
What good is today
over any other day
when we can’t make snow angels together
because there are convoluted superstructures
to deconstruct into postmodernity?
But I insist on today’s uselessness. I lean in
and whisper to you that you need not
sever your ear and mail it to the Dean
of Arts and Letters for inspection.
That can wait, but
snow angels dance only for so long
before curling up in blankets of mud,
just as you and I will curl up beneath six feet
of fattened worms and swollen soil.
Today it snows voraciously
and you spend three hours conducting surgery
on Albert Camus’s footnotes.
Let them soak for a while in Chardonnay.
The snow angels are calling to us,
announcing a need for dance partners
atop their moistened deathbeds.
Today is a fine day to be useless,
even though coffee-stained idols
must be composed for wine-drunk priests
holding the keys to our future.
But what good is a field of grass
beneath three inches of snow,
or a poet beneath a tombstone?
No more useful than warm fingers,
smooth hands, or sloping shoulders
if they freeze holding a pen
tucked indignantly over the nail-solid logic
of how useless it is to be useful for so long.