In Ireland, “fuck” is like a comma.” – Adrian Frazier
I say it more now, usually when I’m watching the news.
A poem almost, that lyric condensare,
The whole of speech, not a part, not a verb
For what in a novel might occur at most a few times
In a later chapter, after a long wait, a small
And private part of life, if much anticipated.
And not a noun either, as in Miller, Mailer,
Subject and object conflated, pronounced
After a celebratory inhalation,
Like satisfaction after a long, surly deprivation,
And so preening, ungrateful, the vowel clipped
Short of surprise: mere consonance.
Now, right now, the announcer finishing her story
Of horror, stupidity, it is an explosion
Through the teeth, unwilled, a little death
Of meaning, a little death of hope, hardly
Dulled by repetition, indifference, well-meaning,
The best I can manage, quick and dirty, said and done.
Jordan Smith is the author of seven full-length collections of poems, most recently Clare’s Empire from the Hydroelectric Press and The Light in the Film from the University of Tampa Press; he has also published three chapbooks, including Three Grange Halls, winner of the Swan Scythe Press award. He teaches at Union College.