Thursday 21 September 2017

 

KEITH DRIVER

 



















from:

THE DIVISION OF THE HUMANITIES



* There were flecks of gold leaf on everybody's monitor The dark birds flickered over everybody's eyes Everybody stood around  in sandals Everybody of the light robes Everybody had a different list of taboos Everybody's uniform - dew gemmed Everybody fell into the highway's cleft Fuck if everybody wasn't clicking on the same eggshell linens It was the future - everybody staring through a plexiglass visor It was the iron age - everybody's favorite abstractions got personified and promptly skipped town Everybody of the downy arms Everybody was standing in lines for brigands It was a custom for everybody to drink from the same glass of water Everybody tasted of new mown grass Everybody was being flayed on the generous lawn Everybody was an act of faith Everybody followed the actor's dictum Everybody whispered and when they whispered they whispered into a veal-colored seashell Everybody of the soft Kussen Everybody trying to recognize a maple Everybody threw a favorite painting on the pile of flame Everybody thought nobody could name the dark flickering birds * they were standing around in their big white sneakers we were eating cranberry gelato they were asleep in the window seat we were licking the flintlocks they were creating a kid-friendly environment we were fat-assing your neighborhood they were  ending the beginning we were editing our own wikipedia pages * Everybody is using the same excuse for skipping the committee meeting Everybody has a couple friends in the intelligence community Everybody is wondering what we're going to do with all these slabs of limestone Everybody is grinding up her prescriptions and passing them around on pieces of mirror Everybody lives in a different place but everybody calls where she lives the city Everybody’s eyeliner is runny Everybody is going for that runny eyeliner look Everybody’s in the red zone, whatever that means Everybody can’t convert Everybody is trying to define or claim ownership of this idea of Brooklyn Everybody is sorting their refuse * They were erasing some words from Milton to make it into something else They were roasting asparagus with pepper and Himalayan pink salt They were looking at the smeary wet horizon They were asking for it They were customizing their uniforms They were still faxing shit to each other, if you can believe it They were saying lissome heads of buttercups or they were saying windsong in the chimneypots They were claiming the virtues of art for everything and they were refusing everything else They were half plantar faciitis and half vestibular neuropathy They were pretty concerned about trace amounts of prescription meds in the water supply They were autotuning everything into the national anthem They were suckling, but only ironically, but it wasn’t actually ironic, it was totally sincere They were like They were all * everyone was pickin em up and putting em down everyone’s shoelaces were dragging through the oily puddles The sunlight was a slime everyone was trying to wash off everyone was standing around in big white sneakers everyone was coming up for tenure Wars sensitized big donors and everyone was trying not to ruffle any feathers everyone was covered in feathers everyone kind of fell out of bed and into a uniform everyone kind of fell out of love and into a laugh The Department of Defense sent everyone a status of forces agreement everyone signed it everyone was warming up on the instruments of surrender Some of what went on was nobody's business but everyone stuck his nose in The pitch-pined breezes lifted everyone's hair everyone's new sweater was ruined with sap Somebody once said that history was a kind of cheap cloth bought by the yard in the smutty, warehousey part of town, but everyone went on buying it because that part of town was on the way to the new mall. everyone's sense of decency was made concrete - t-shirts with statements of outrage and approbation It wasn't everyone's fault that the stray dog two houses down died a slow painful death; but everyone felt responsible anyway everyone dealt with her own guilt everyone failed basic marksmanship, but excelled at all the written portions of the test everyone was combing his moustache, or waxing his moustache, or finally shaving off  his moustache when the sky chromed everyone looked up into the big, chromey sky It was important to everyone but mattered to nobody Earlier, years ago, during the revolution, everyone underwent a humiliating public process that required the application of various feathers everyone still got nostalgic about the revolution though everyone walked around in waistcoats and everyone had manners and everyone's prose was much more hypotactic * There was this ash drifting through streetlights like dandelion seedlings and landing on everyone's hair everyone was remembering some other winter when it snowed even more everyone's flute was either broken or hadn't any holes drilled in it, making it just another piece of wood everyone was gathering wood for the bonfire everyone was planning everyone was hoping nothing important got burned in the great fire On the other side of the torn open ocean everyone's best friend was either studying or killing people for a living What was everyone's problem?  It wasn't as if everyone had a choice. There was sunlight and old-style hats and everyone was getting photographed by someone with a mound of flash powder on a stick everyone was trying to acquire an anvil, maybe the last anvil in history The road to Antwerp, where everyone knew things of great value were being traded, was blocked by brigands and men with scarves tied around their heads, but everyone loaded up the caravan anyway, because why not There's a guy, flabby hands, coughing into his sleeve, standing by the writing station at the bank and he goes "everyone's got a story , eh buddy?" and I go "speak for yourself pal." There's a file on a desk somewhere in a complex of windowless offices and everyone's name is in it. everyone was reaching into the tarwagon with a stick. everyone was hoping the cat would either get better or just die already Right after highschool everyone went to college but didn't really know why and ended up dropping out after a year because of a humiliating fight with the wrestler down the hall Meanwhile the earth-encircler peed in everyone's cheerios * Everyone was writing a novel that started, "I was born and it was Tuesday and these things stayed true for the rest of my life." Everyone was helping her parents fall in love in the distant past Everyone was afraid of the truth about Michael Jackson Everyone there was an enormous Irish hooligan the color of boiled lambfat. Everybody walked around as if all his bones had been smashed and reset by someone who didn’t understand human anatomy The mud-colored river aneuryzed and popped, the ashy clouds fussed across the denuded plains where everybody was living, getting by, rubbing two sticks together. Everyone's outfit was a little too matchy-matchy

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KEITH DRIVER was born and raised in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. His poems have appeared in Third Bed, Jubilat, Pindeldyboz, and elsewhere.

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Read More by Keith Driver:

 
Three poems in B O D Y

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