Scott Keeney

Apterous Dragonfly

I think I understand when you rush things
the ordinary intervals become overwhelming
so I don't have to write day in and day out
but I do anyway. I write the stars and that's
no good I don't have that opinion or friends
“how gay.” I felt most at home in the world
in the 1970s, from ages one to six, you can
put a stamp on that envelope and mail it
in like this poem or bicycle ride with me
to the cinnamon river in this vanilla spring
through this desperate small brown town
everybody lives in wondering why there's
not a rat in desperate like there is in separate
I maybe should have called it chocolate
but it's too late you can't walk through
the same room twice any more than you can
eat PB&J at a picnic table in the sun with-
out getting thirsty or feel an obligation to
the people who came before you, the good
ones, the dead ones, every time you place
your fingertips on the keys gently poised
to type up something spectacular like
a general attitude things would be better
if you moved to Montana and opened up
a smoothie bar with WiFi and a small selection
of poetry books for reading or for sale. As
I moved through the 80s—or was it the 80s
moved through me?—I came to appreciate
William Bonney more than Jesse James,
thus separating myself, enough at least,
from my father, which is emblematic of
my position here today. It's the same feeling
I get when I'm up on the roof brushing off
snow or scooping leaves from the gutters.
Sure, language can take us somewhere
but only if we're willing to go. That limitation
is the circle we inhabit, less wind in the sail
than sand in the pail. I don't want to echo
anyone in this, not Wordsworth, not Pound,
would rather strike out on my own California
of sound with mistake-filled flourishes like
apterous dragonflies, useless, ugly, unable
even to hide, uncomfortable communication
cultivated from regolith and subsoil and rabid sky.

Scott Keeney is the author of Sappho Does Hay(na)ku (Sephyrus 2008). His poems can be found in Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, failbetter, Juked, Mudlark, New York Quarterly, and Shampoo among other places.

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