V—In Case of Emergency Break Poem

     -for r.a.washington

These are-
granite days,
they demand-
hard men,
fortifications
of strange shapes
watchwords-
must blend in

We split
the rift
wider-
brother gives
grift- but my
words are
foreign currency
in his hands.

The songbirds
The long words
spill into our
ears- “from
whence came ye,
wanderer? to
loiter in the eaves
of spring.”

     “I cannot fiddle,
     but I can make
     a great state
     from a little city.”1
     Local anomalies
     in the second law
     of thermodynamics.2
     -raw vocalized.

Watch
the candle’s wick.
The times change
and light multiplies
but men remain
the same. Their
tongues estranged
by taxonomy.

I hit you
because I am
small.
And you are not
like me.
I am small, but
territorial.

Any truce
segregates our
speech, as war is
two cheaper
than peace.

How do I solve
for x in a language
that has no letters?

these riddles of
arranging adjectives.

—-
1 cf. Themistocles
2 cf. James Blish


I’ve been working on this for a few weeks now and I think it is finally sounding good enough to appear here. I’m still trying to tighten up some of the words and images, and smooth out some of the rhyme. Any suggestions or questions or workshopping would be appreciated.