Here comes a voice. A little didactic,
but nonetheless assuring as though it were
scripted for radio. It’s telling me what
in some ways I don’t want to hear,
what in other ways I’ve heard my whole life
like a monologue I refuse to be the vicar of.
Take the protagonist of a novel, it says,
written in the first person. The lion’s share
of the text consists of build-up-to or
let-down-from the liminal moments,
and by implication, be it explicit or
implicit, carries nothing more than
what can be termed as tangential meaning,
or in the basest case meaninglessness itself.
Are you implying, I reply, that all of this
time I spend dawdling time away on the net,
nourishing anxiety like a scab I scratch
away at when no one else is looking,
eating whole pizzas in my boxers
without irony, unaccompanied by music —
it’s all leading to some sort of denouement?
Of course the voice isn’t real, and suddenly
it seems as if the world I occupy has doubled,
or, as the logic follows, I’m half of what I was —
the endless landscape somehow
more endless. Twice the burnt sand, twice
the bones of past selves and ossified thoughts
fertilizing what will become even more bleakness.
And that’s how it is. No truth to work toward.
No conclusion coming my way. Just another
day spent resisting impulse items
in the checkout aisle as I load up on Listerine.
John Fenlon Hogan lives in Virginia. His poems have appeared or will soon appear in 32 Poems, Boston Review, Colorado Review, and The Open Bar (Tin House), among other journals.