An excerpt from Commutation by Gregory Crosby
clear of the
Dis must be de place. A hell
of an old joke. Feathers floating
everywhere round the gate.
It’s all in your mind, except for
Limbo. I’m a virtuous pagan, sure. I didn’t go
to the rail for the blessing, but I repeated the names,
embedded in the program like a poem to be read only once. The poem is
a Get Out of Limbo Free card. Only the past is immortal, only
the imagination is real, only connect, et cetera.
This life is a mirror where reflections never cohere.
Pleasure & stardust, & death rays, tuning up. Always ready
to burst, always contained. Abandon nothing, least of all names.
Names always have power. Names are human. Names are the true
reflections, the distant novae, the last words, Stelle! Stelle!
Like two wings, given. Volare, whoa oh. The beauty, yeah yeah,
but no one is prepared for the moment when Beauty turns
on them, its eyes filled with contempt. When Beauty despises you,
what’s left? Some wrap it in quotation marks, as if in their
knowingness they’ve risen above it; some declare for the
loyal opposition. Feast your eyes! Gloat your soul on my
accursed ugliness! Nice work if you can get it. Beauty
doesn’t care, it’s too stupid to understand your
revenges on it. It can’t help itself. It only saves
your life by ruining it, which, oddly enough, really does
make it Truth… poor Truth, which cannot see its own reflection.
Gregory Crosby is the author of the chapbooks Spooky Action at a Distance (2014, The Operating System) and The Book of Thirteen (2016, Sylph Press). His poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Court Green, Epiphany, Copper Nickel, Leveler, Sink Review, Ping Pong, & Rattle. He teaches creative writing at Lehman College, City University of New York.
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