Imperial Burlesque

Here in the Heartland, El Dorado is a Cadillac,
Cadillac is to blame for everything that has ever happened
in Detroit, and Detroit doesn’t like to think
about what an economy is for, and in this way
Detroit has a lot in common with the Theban Legion,
principled, uncalibrated, preoccupied
with something other than taxes or the proper position
for a pizza stone, whether enthusiasm survives
ambition, or what I should do with my endless supply
of anytime minutes, whether I can revoke my love
for friends with terminal interests or remember what I wanted
to say here about Charles Ives’ bad, bad heart.

(The sorry verities, ah, the sorry, sorry verities.
But “quotations are,” how to say, “fatal to letters.”)

*

Benjamin Paloff‘s books include the poetry collections And His Orchestra (2015) and The Politics (2011), both from Carnegie Mellon. His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Conduit, New American Writing, The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, and others. Twice a fellow of the NEA, he is associate professor of comparative literature at the University of Michigan.

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