this is my coolness defined—pull over—fleece (Jordan)—V-neck colored Tee—crimson—(Indonesia)—jeans—slim fit—double black (Brazil)—briefs—camo—label free—bikini cut (Malaysia)—socks—re-enforced heels (Sri Lanka)—trainers (Vietnam)—I would like now to bring forward these makers—these men and women (the children millions)—like a band of angels with no revenge in their hearts—though I would understand if they did—this poem has so completely eaten through their lives (as it is consuming now—dear reader—your attention)—they have the motive—they have cause—my voice not even voice any longer it is so buried in the blur and buzz of a hundred thousand Singers turning out next cool styles (I have the money I can keep up)—O atrocity—O brief historical moment of I don’t really give a shit unless it’s right there in front of me I would like to give some electricity back now—I know they could use it to power their machines—or better—light paths home—cook meals—post a photograph or two (they have selves—they too must desire brand)—text late night sweetness to their beloveds—I know it’s not the body electric—that lightning—I know I am drowning—deepening the water by typing this—but I believe in the poem—believe in the friend who will read it as helpless and as sad as it is—and how foolish it is that I am still in love
[dominion] [Kroger’s] [with Godzilla and a Diamond Dog]
And then I fell in love. With you. All the precepts clicking
into place. It didn’t matter Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel”
was the Muzak—it was simulation. The gallery
of Kroger products like Warhol rip-offs—
miniaturized and stacked for ease
of replication. A Tik Tok challenge with meat—
same additives as those dancing girls ingest.
Another toxicity that corrupts. Where does it come from—
this love of love for body? It intoxicates awhile—
the evolution of it—breasts and ass—then alligator
alligator cute kitten. Boy (no surprise) doing
stupid boy thing. I have to Cold War
bunker again with soft curves and Marilyn, that knockoff
housewife calling herself mother stepping in,
spatula in hand, red lips ablaze. Cribmate Godzilla
down but not out. He’s not burning Tokyo
to the ground these days but saving the world.
Seeking what is viral in us. Or what reels
(saving daughters). Our brains so seeded and washed
with what we have declared is Beauty,
or ingested as Beauty he is paralyzed—dear Fellow
Shopper—with how you consider the eggplant.
Graze a peach with a fingertip.
This poem one of those my love is strong numbers
he sings from distance because it is safer there—
purer—more about himself than anything else—
the simulation in his brain breaking down.
Three bags full. Winter air—which in another film—
would be dust—resurrecting Mothra dust—
just winter rain here. Blistering. Angling toward you.
[dominion] [Wash Day]
I fail at spirit perpetually. EVIDENCE—one shirt linen—green—
sewn in Bangladesh—I’ve pulled
from the others. It is Tuesday
and it is soiled
and I am doing laundry. Blue linen—India—
something plaid—Sri Lanka—snapping
from the collar to get the wrinkles out. Yard
fat with summer.
A few bees. All my First World pain—
I have some of that—
washed away—I’ve done a second rinse. Pissed
into the secret basins of my city.
Now I air dry—I like the fabric coarse—
like a woman’s
hand—smell of daylight
in the weave—
but with no real touch—I cannot for the life of me
that stitched each cuff and pocket—the cicada-clicking
engines of dying sweat. Phrases
for fingers numb—back is failing—
there are no supports for the chairs—my pious acts
notwithstanding (I paid good money
for the styles). It is Tuesday—still—there is a sense
of newness in the world—
the shirts are being
reborn—residues of wind and sun—infusions
of added scent. The one set aside I am scrubbing—
there’s ink on a cuff that must be
to nowhere—smear of a word in Bengali maybe—śrama—
indicating labor—but not the toil—
that’s mine—bare-fingered witching the stain away.
Dennis Hinrichsen’s most recent work is schema geometrica, winner of the Wishing Jewel Prize from Green Linden Press. His tenth book, Flesh-plastique, will appear from Green Linden spring 2023. His previous work includes [q / lear], a chapbook from Green Linden Press and This Is Where I Live I Have Nowhere Else To Go, winner of the 2020 Grid Poetry Prize. From May 2017- April 2019, he served as Poet Laureate of the Greater Lansing area. New poems are appearing or forthcoming in Abandon Journal, The Cincinnati Review, On the Seawall, The West Review, West Trade Review, and Witness.