Poetry Issue 12:3

   Issue # 12:3 : January-June 2010

Mark Anthony Cayanan

On Involvement

      In another town, people are being transformed

      into statistics by bullets. A minute past, and there are enough:

      an Important Issue.
                                    Meanwhile, you are

      hunched over your desk: A coincidence possible

      only by virtue of this poem. How shall the heart be reconciled

      to its feast of losses, a dilemma already said, yet you want it

      asked by yourself, the throat from which it issues

      an available difference. Meanwhile,

      you hover like a ghost whose repetitious message

      is frustration.
                          Always there are no words:
                                                                     A statement that makes this poem

      a contrivance, though not in the way all poems are unnatural,

      also not in the way all poems wish

      to call attention to themselves.
                                                    People are dying. People are

                In time this would get to you, the mind choked

      by diatribes, most of them sincere. By the time this gets to you

      some other source of trouble would have
                                                                     pressed its barrel
                                                                                                 against your head,
                                                         an unwarranted metaphor

      because it is metaphor. Not that you don’t deserve it, but that

      you do deserve it. A kind of guilt that lets you fall

      asleep: From where you’re not, yours is a why or a yes that goes unheard,

      which is
                   how it should be: this judgment that implies an ethical imperative:

      you must accede. The consequence

      a button pried off a shirt by neglect,
                                                             which is to say constant

      use, loosened from a world where you are bent

      over your desk in a manner that’s not

      even salacious, and you are thus convinced something

      has to take place if it hasn’t just yet.
                                                            How to end this poem without
      remorse, an easy echo
                                         of its didactic overtones? With a question,

      I suppose: notice how the phrase divorces utterance
                                                                                     and complicity,
      a disavowal worth another poem, without it.