I came into this world bringing only paper, rope, shadow

Black and white photograph of Virginia Konchan against a purple background.

Go ahead, take it, the observable universe.
Take its buying, sighing, and dying rituals:
around here, we let the dead bury the dead.

That’s the only way to get ahead, I’m informed:
buy into the urban myths of freedom and merit.
How lovely, how nice. My failed social utopia

for a song: your kingdom for my body’s dark horse,
apocalypse awaited with bated breath but not believed.
I came into this world bringing only paper, rope, shadow.

I left riddled with compulsion, habituation, conditioning:
collateral damage of misfired bullets. Whose weaponry?
All questions tend toward rhetoric when one is salivating,

twitching: inundated by micro-sensations, electric shocks.
Poem as hormone. Poem as nostalgic aftertaste of affect.
Poem as necessity, vice. I will not speak if to speak

means repeating myself. Poem as traumatic wound
around which we circle, like repentant elephants.
What to enthrone as value: the human voice?

Poem as horror, libretto of organized crime.
The typewriter’s carriage returns to the start:
all that drug money, gold glint on gangster dice.

Virginia Konchan
Virginia Konchan's most recent book of poetry is Hallelujah Time. She lives in Halifax.