Bushnell (Redneck Central)
Winter chaps lips—she tells me, “Merry Sadness!
James—you’re a cast-off pile of approaches, of words.
Maybe one day you’ll manage to stride S.C.I.—
A lost bore in libraries. Steal a book.”
I am, she said,
“The edged weapons that pierce, the bled-out epicures
Of savage heart, jealous of breasts that bud.”
So I take surroundings in,
Dark corners of dorm beds,
Mornings after nights spent alone.
Inhabited, the gloom here, it
Herds inmates to chow—pretends I’m hard,
Pretends I don’t know the makings of her.
(Which I do.)
A cynical outlook, I adopt,
A penchant for sad annotations:
Make no mistake, I give my all to her.
The real shape comes;
I make no promises—a blade from plastic,
A lit toothbrush splits skin—
You didn’t miss your mark—I bled where I stood,
And the inmates babbled; desultorily, while coughing cesspool, then,
Finger-painting a carol on a wall:
…Merry Fucking Sadness.