Post-Fantasy Poem Gauntlet

Hervé Télémaque, No Title (The Ugly American) (1962/64)


the death of computers come
in a swollen marsh
in everglade time

wax red berries
drooping from the calyx
of our disciple flower
retreat into the morning mist
of purple sunblast houses
by the dewport

among the present:
• many good-natured Communist ideals,
• weeping fathers, and
• frightened rabbits of cellphone children

the years of capital relentless ended
now we speak in greater fits of clarity


waterlogged at 23
and circumcised (without consent)
I wear shorts and sneakers
of a third world country
to my grave

hold the world hostage
then call them the terrorists
and drink what looks like antifreeze
from a plastic Coca-Cola bottle

I masturbate
to pictures in the news

I am a white person
in a white person magazine

the prescription said:
quit smoking, start running
and let nobody stand in your way
of flattening the mountains


I’m looking at you
looking at a picture of
the inside of my heart:

you’re a genius
I’m indifferent

you are holy
I’m a slave to my desires

you held me close and
we burnt a braid of your grandmother’s hair:
occupation never recognized
from sea to shining sea

we were there to watch her drown

“but they were racist”
so are we

This always plays in my head after that last one:


managed estates
entire boardrooms masturbate
find the poem or have it made
live the dream that dreamers die to dream

That’s twice I’ve used the word “masturbate,” now thrice.