1,240 Readings

The Present

It’s good practice. It keeps the flies off,
the phoenixes down. It keeps the butter
soft, the cocksure cock hard. It’s a
strengthening agent, toughens you up. It makes
you brittle and/or suffer. It makes you a
man but not in that way. It forces you
to accept a number of contradictory propositions.
Its logic unfolds from invisible axioms.
It produces color, but only as a secondary
quality grounded in texture. It takes up
space but only as a secondary quality grounded
in color. It folds, unfolds, sags. It
hates you. That’s what it does. It folds
you up like a blintz, an origami balloon,
a fortune teller. It plays wastrel to you,
minstrel to you. It puts a head on your
shoulders, knocks it off. It puts hair on your
back, waxes it. It takes your fingerprint
and runs off with it. It takes forever
to get anything done around here. It
takes a lot out of you. It gives you a
headache, a heartache, a hernia. It takes
a village to raise your child, a gurney to
raise your body, courage to raise your
voice. It’s a membrane between all
that there is and nothing. It cost me
a fortune so I hope you like it.

Posted 09/10/11
"The Present" first appeared in Best New Poets 2008.
Books by Brian Christian
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