Poems from The End of America Book 13, Part 2

by: Mark Wallace

In this 2nd installment of a two-part series, Mark Wallace explores the impossibility of true communication. Severed from each other and from the world, or as Wallace puts it “stranded// where I don’t// want to be rescued,” in our current predicament we also find ourselves severed from ourselves: “each to our own/ unique loneliness…”

Who​ ​can

++++++support​ ​the​ ​lovers
++++++++++++++++++in​ ​fresh​ ​need​ ​for​ ​each

++++++++++++++++++touch​ ​and​ ​look,​ ​each

++++++stare​ ​across​ ​the​ ​apparatus
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++whereby​ ​people

++++++++++++remove​ ​themselves​ ​from
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++their​ ​own​ ​scenes

++++++++++++++++++devices​ ​for​ ​upbringing

each​ ​to​ ​our​ ​own
++++++++++++unique​ ​loneliness

++++++sending​ ​letters

++++++from​ ​a​ ​cubicle​ ​to​ ​the

++++++++++++++++++hidden​ ​wealthy
++++++++++++++++++patrons​ ​of​ ​“the​ ​arts”

or​ ​administrative​ ​celebration

+++++++++++++++++++++++statistical​ ​achievement​ ​lunches

++++++vision​ ​of​ ​a​ ​man​ ​passed
+++++++++++++++++++++++out​ ​on​ ​a​ ​stairwell

until​ ​who​ ​knows

++++++++++++++++++what​ ​anyone​ ​has
++++++++++++++++++left XXXhow​ ​to​ ​hold

++++++++++++up​ ​one’s​ ​tired​ ​regard

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++kicking​ ​back​ ​at

++++++subway​ ​shutdowns,​ ​construction​ ​blockage

+++++++++++++++++++++++putting​ ​the​ ​close-by

city​ ​two​ ​hours​ ​away

++++++++++++instead​ ​of​ ​saying​ ​I​ ​want

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++you​ ​to

++++++listen​ ​carefully​ ​to

++++++++++++my​ ​pulse,​ ​my​ ​shaking

++++++++++++++++++hands,​ ​allergic​ ​eyes

+++++++++++++++++++++++I​ ​couldn’t
+++++++++++++++++++++++dream​ ​a​ ​city​ ​away

++++++I​ ​could​ ​only

++++++++++++live​ ​here​ ​and​ ​ask​ ​when

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++you​ ​might​ ​next
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++see​ ​me​ ​and​ ​take

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++my​ ​hand​ ​in

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++the​ ​city

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++removal​ ​scape


How​ ​to​ ​see​ ​the​ ​world​ ​and

++++++++++++++++++not​ ​categorize​ ​its

++++++component​ ​ecstasies​ ​and

++++++++++++material​ ​pushback

against​ ​the​ ​dream​ ​mind

+++++++++++++++++++++++this​ ​present​ ​breaking

++++++into​ ​what
++++++++++++happens​ ​after,

the​ ​house​ ​from​ ​the​ ​lot​ ​from
++++++++++++the​ ​fence​ ​from​ ​the​ ​sidewalk
+++++++++++++++++++++++from​ ​the​ ​road​ ​from​ ​the​ ​neighbor
hood​ ​from​ ​the​ ​district​ ​from
++++++the​ ​city​ ​from​ ​the​ ​country​ ​from
++++++++++++the​ ​state​ ​from​ ​the​ ​nation
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++from​ ​the​ ​world

++++++Up​ ​close,​ ​the​ ​physical

++++++++++++opens​ ​at​ ​no


I​ ​hear​ ​your​ ​voice​ and
++++++watch​ ​you​ ​close​ ​and​ ​watch
+++++++++++++++++++++++you​ ​slip​ ​away

++++++Paint-peeled​ ​silver
++++++++++++roof​ ​behind​ ​the​ ​bending

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++tree​ ​and​ ​black

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++electrical​ ​wire

++++++++++++++++++curved​ ​and​ ​criss-
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++crossed​ ​at​ ​angles

learning​ ​to​ ​see​ ​any

++++++++++++++++++thing​ ​not

++++++++++++++++++as​ ​systematic​ ​calculation

I​ ​think​ ​I​ ​never

++++++++++++knew​ ​breathing

+++++++++++++++++++++++before​ ​you​ ​taught

+++++++++++++++++++++++me​ ​to​ ​listen

++++++its​ ​slow​ ​uncertain​ ​ragged

++++++unclaimable​ ​instant


++++++can​ ​a​ ​licensed

++++++citizen​ ​get​ ​a​ ​structured

payment​ ​plan​ ​the​ ​Pacific


++++++++++++++++++onto​ ​natural​ ​assets,​ ​sum

++++++++++++with​ ​the​ ​right​ ​performance​ ​media

+++++++++++++++++++++++how​ ​do​ ​I​ ​keep
+++++++++++++++++++++++on​ ​living?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Rash​ ​flaring

++++++red​ ​on​ ​skin

++++++++++++my​ ​wrist,​ ​my​ ​chest,

++++++++++++I​ ​push​ ​people

+++++++++++++++++++++++to​ ​keep​ ​them​ ​distant

in​ ​the​ ​name​ ​there
++++++++++++is​ ​no​ ​name

++++++burning​ ​butchered​ ​out

+++++++++++++++++++++++of​ ​my​ ​body,​ ​stranded

++++++where​ ​I​ ​don’t

++++++++++++++++++want​ ​to​ ​be​ ​rescued

Achievement​ ​scores​ ​registered

++++++at​ ​the​ ​bank​ ​drop

+++++++++++++++++++++++I’d​ ​pet​ ​you,​ ​find​ ​out
+++++++++++++++++++++++if​ ​I​ ​could,​ ​quiet

+++++++++++++++++++++++any​ ​unrest

++++++++++++++++++caught​ ​inside

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++my​ ​own​ ​finite

++++++association​ ​strings​ ​and​ ​a​ ​theory

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++don’t try to fake

+++++++++++++++++++++++myself​ ​in​ ​complete

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++—what complete self—

Devise​ ​a​ ​desktop​ ​double

++++++++++++rampant​ ​battered

++++++++++++++++++sometimes​ ​all​ ​I​ ​want:

+++++++++++++++++++++++to​ ​be​ ​beside

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++a​ ​calming​ ​caress


Mark Wallace is the author and editor of more than fifteen books and chapbooks of poetry, fiction, and essays. Most recently he has published a novel, Crab, and book-length prose poem, Notes from the Center on Public Policy. Selections of his multi-part long poem The End of America, which he has been writing since 2005, have appeared in numerous publications. He lives in San Diego, California.

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