Joyride

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.

Fund the journalism we need now

In turbulent times, it is crucial that reliable media remains available to everyone. From vaccine misinformation to political polarization, the challenges our society is facing today are too important for half-truths. If you trust The Walrus, we ask that you consider becoming a monthly supporter. Your donation helps us keep The Walrus’s fact-checked online journalism free to all.

Tusks