Joshua Ware is the author of Homage to Homage to Homage to Creeley (Furniture Press Books, 2001) as well as several chapbooks, most recently: How We Remake the World (Slope Editions, 2012), co-written with Trey Moody; SDVIG (alice blue books), co-written with Natasha Kessler; and the forthcoming Imaginary Portraits (Greying Ghost Press). His work has recently appeared in Crazyhorse, Diagram, Gulf Coast, inter|rupture, and Jellyfish.
PHILADELPHIA IS FULL OF FRACTIONS
-for Trish Harnetiaux and Jacob Ware
marking the minutia of miles
between boundaries and history’s desperate
advance of bottle rockets, greenbacks
and unchecked expansion. We cross brotherly bridges
in pieces, a reminder that our incomplete
bodies are divisible only by themselves and the sky
lines of foreign cities. Our nation’s forefathers
connect people to people
generation to generation, always there to tell us
who is worth saving and who is subhuman.
I've been told not to ridicule
patriotic gods: Thomas Jefferson is off limits!
Sitting in the passenger seat
of a rented car, I count curveships blurred
and oxidized. Every idiom fractures
through the window in praise of the untouchably
corrupt. We sing Hallelujah
and endlessly wait for all our failed promises.
VOICES OF LIGHT
A fly on the face of a martyr
drowns in chroma key green, cast away
in retouching, never to be seen again.
Our hermetic fantasies
no longer attuned to emotive eyes
of virgin transvestites, burn with digital luster
in a heretical pyre. Soft focus flaws
submerge in teenage angels.
A thousand flies will swarm from our throats
each one singing in a different voice
ready to die
without touching another heavenly body.
GREGORY PECK IS THE NEW SALVADOR DALI
Within letters affixed to an illuminated marquee
and surrounded by flashing bulbs, a faceless man wearing a tuxedo
leads you down an endless hallway, separated
by an endless series of opening doors
to a casino hall wallpapered with eyeballs
casting sidelong glances. Dressed in fashionable dinner party attire
you hurtle through the insides of angels
projected onto a screen as you race toward the precipice
of a snow-covered mountain.
Push your brother off a landing and gut him on a spire
protruding from a steel balustrade.
Revel in the fleeting memory amnesia affords you.
TO THINK A GAT
in the hand means the world by its tail, is to dream through the black
and white pastiche of film noir: enveloped
in sewer grate steam, backlit beyond shadows. My chiaroscuro
memories suggest a volume I do not contain.
Never will I remember whether you aimed your gun
at me, yourself, or the figure hiding behind the velvet curtains
of your study, which housed many hardbound first-editions
by poets from the twentieth century
who found not fame but brilliant obscurity.
Jean Cocteau, bitten by twilight, wrote Clair-Obscur
in the clearing of a glen somewhere in the south of France.
All my facts are fabrications I cannot escape.