In Want of an Image
I am trying to reconcile my want of an image
with my insistence on only that
which is immaterial and wind up oscillating
between it’s time for breakfast and the world
is coming apart at the seams. Yes,
the asparagus stalks still shoot up every spring
but all that remains of them is their taste
and their magnificent green. I think
my real fear is that the brain is not a tool
for obtaining knowledge but for actively
misunderstanding it as in the cartoon
where Wile E walks off the edge of a cliff
and doesn’t fall until he looks down
and this is me looking down. Sometimes
I miss the days when cars used to speak to us.
Sometimes it seems there are just too many clues
and it takes until we assemble everything to realize
we should have been doing the opposite.
The clouds reincarnate themselves,
but always nimbus, cirrus, cumulus, stratus.
What I mean is that maybe knowledge
is like zero, useful so long as we pretend
it’s something that it’s not. Like how the word soul
sort of bums me out, but still is necessary
to explain this itch I have to pound
everything so thin it cannot be understood
in a three dimensional world. When did we start
to confuse truth with honesty? When did the real
become a cloud that cloaks the really real? Finally
we can zoom in and see the smallest molecules
of meaning, and I for one want only to marvel at the gaps
between them. The door is ajar, says the soft
mechanical voice and I close it without thinking.
Originally from New Jersey, Josh English spent the first part of his adult life working as a songwriter and performer while living in New York before shifting his focus to poetry. His work has been recently published in journals including Sixth Finch and Word Riot. He currently lives and teaches in Columbia, SC.