spring and nothing
BY RYAN ECKES.
okay, wednesday, to do: take inventory of your situation. the city, made of instructions, arouses walls of regret. dead phones hang from the ceiling of every office—all those entrepreneurs—where’d they go? but dust takes its time. you slump in your chair, an old cat gets its wings and the afternoon is then absent, the psychiatrist livid—because you can’t move into the things you said. they do not make a house. they do not make property. the “life you have made” is air, yet there everyone goes talking up their “occupation” to keep some money moving, which occupies what? money is pain, and the police are dutybound to protect it. one cop keeps his gun trained on his own childhood, which robs him nightly, his childhood having been robbed by the state that now employs him. the state of always wanting to erase some part of yourself is the state of the union of whatever this is. we were friends as teenagers. we met at a youth group, pretended to read the bible, played stickball in the street. now we don’t speak. no one’s driving that car. what is that car? what is the road? whose words have you followed? what words? you let the thing you’ve been through rise up through you—recognize the shadow and pull it off you like clothes. the years and years. this is craft, routine. the poem becoming something else, for later.
Ryan Eckes is a poet from Philadelphia. His latest books include General Motors (Split Lip Press, 2018), which is about labor and the influence of public and private transportation on city life, and fine nothing (Albion Books, 2019). Recent work can be read in Tripwire, Slow Poetry in America Newsletter, the tiny, Sundog Lit and Entropy. Eckes has worked as an adjunct professor and labor organizer in education. He won a Pew Fellowship in 2016.