Idyll #6

Henry Allen

I want to live in a country
where things get torn apart at the seams
and they have to pay people to get them to sing
the national anthem, which is called "The Brunt."
Here, nobody sleeps—the words
for "sleep" and "ratchet" are the same—
but it's like in a dream when you dream
that you've had this dream before, that feeling;
or like gritting your teeth when you pet the dog.
Everything is crisp and salty.
Everything is self-inflicted.
The Negroes are all electronic, here,
and things make a noise like leather creaking,
but you wish, you keep on wishing . . .
and people keep saying things
like "Now you're talking," or "Did I win anything?"
It's like waiting to have your picture taken,
that feeling, or wishing you were really a policeman.


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