NYU Philosophy Department, 1998
Someone is always here to misunderstand us.
This is not the only matter set forth we can save.
No side-step just for moonful eyes, nor blindness
of horses, nor a train’s length between sidelong roads.
This is a fugue. We must detail side roads now,
take out the Phrygian mode from our waters.
Truth-values might not be for everybody, but
we can still absolutely hang out here—
hideous, muck-licked against the fake wood walls.
For lo, fellow members, every day is a challenge, we guess.
We were never in the right place or in the right drama.
Someone was always here standing still and said
how we looked like we knew what we were doing.
Blink your eyes and a heap is a non-heap.
Blink your eyes and it’s a whole decade and change.
And we would never open their mail.
Their problems are nasty. We dreamt about it, lost it,
forgot it, winced. For we are the most important problem
on Bullshit Row. Anyone next to us looks just like us
with just a little change, and right on down the line until
we are unrecognizable, freaks with our heads cut off.
One must stand up to the villains of certainty and,
in our dotage, we will be paid well to be cranky.
Our sand-heap counsel stays in cages. Blink your eyes
and, generally, vagueness is actually useful. As for the cake:
we didn’t eat anything that didn’t say it was food before we ate it.
Daniel Nester is the author most recently of Harsh Realm: My 1990s, a collection of poetry and prose poems from Indolent Books. His work has appeared in New York Times, Buzzfeed, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry, Bennington Review, The Hopkins Review, Word For/Word, Court Green, Love’s Executive Order, and other places. He is the editor of Pine Hills Review.