National Poetry Month: April 26th

April 26, 2011

His Future as Attila the Hun by Timothy Donnelly

But when I try to envision what it might be like to live
     detached from the circuitry that suffers me to crave
what I know I’ll never need, or what I need but have
     in abundance already, I feel the cloud of food-court
breakfast loosen its embrace, I feel the shopping center
     drop as its escalator tenders me up to the story
intended for conference space.  I feel my doubt diminish, my debt
     diminish; I feel a snow that falls on public statuary
doesn’t do so sadly because it does so without profit.
     I feel less toxic.  I feel the thought my only prospect
lies under a train for the coverage stop.  Don’t think I never
     thought that way because I have and do, all through
blank October a dollar in my pocket back and forth
     to university.  Let the record not not show.  I have
deserted me for what I lack and am not worth.  All of this
     unfolds through episodes that pale as fast as others
gain from my inertia: I have watched, I’ll keep watching
     out from under blankets as the days trip over the
days before out cold on the gold linoleum behind them
     where we make the others rich with sick persistence.
But when I try to envision what it might be like to change,
     I see three doors in front of me, and by implication
opportunity, rooms full of it as the mind itself is full
     thinking of a time before time was, or of the infinite
couch from which none part, and while the first two doors
     have their appeal, it’s the third I like best, the one
behind which opens a meadow, vast, and in it, grazing
     on buttercups, an errant heifer with a wounded foot,
its bloody hoofprints followed by a curious shepard back
     to something sharp in the grass, the point of a long
sword which, unearthed, the shepard now polishes with
     his rodent-skin tunic, letting the Eurasian sun play
upon it for effect, a gift for me, a task, an instrument to lay
     waste to the empire now placed before me at my feet.

This poem was selected by Russell J. (Reader’s Services)

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