Sunday, April 19, 2020

Albert Kapikian: My World

My World 

Just like everyone else,
I like to watch the world
come together on my screen.
And I like to prove that I care, 
not searching for the truth,
but for how I am seen.
Whatever I make of it,
Rest Assured, I always post what I mean.

I was never worthy, only wise.
(Truth is not to be confused with enterprise.)
Since I live for myself,
I like to shift with the tides. Now I lecture
that the gift doesn’t come without the thorny crown,
insist only Philoctetes can aim the arrow,
never letting on that I am crippled, too,
measuring myself by my renown.

Still I speed up to snatch up its music,
still I speed up to step into its charm,
still I stay there long as my star is lit...
then see a thumbs down, and surf into the harm.
I fall back as my lines post on Twitter,
I fall back as they create alarm.
My conscience gives me a scare—
am I just sprinkling more sand into the swarm?

But no one stops me. The lectors have nothing to read,
no one who will listen. Now discourse demands a threshold,
and staying across it long as you can,
then leaving a placeholder
(this poem is part plan)
in which you’ve only constructed your own (monk’s) cell,
instructed your students (inadvertently) how to show and not tell,
(not to mention) how to achieve their own rightful place (in this hell),

this priory that concentrates and renews our thirst,
this office (our commons),
only hospitable to the worst,
for it cannot be conquered, even in verse.
Once we had a muse, or muses to study, to respect,
ones on Sinai, or on Oreb, or Olympus,
but likes only ask for, never answer prayers,
likes force likes, likes that reject,

likes that lead us
into the desert
of trading friends
for friends, of treating forebears like fleas,
only to earn us a place in this monastery,
this hermitage of sleaze,
where we drink from nothing,
but to the lees.

This poem appeared in the 2020 edition of CEAMAG Journal, the peer-reviewed journal of the College English Association-Mid Atlantic Group.

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