Virginia Konchan




"I got you," the man in the porn
said to the woman in the porn.
Meaning, I won't let you fall.
Literal meaning is a balm;
acts of tenderness can occur
just about anywhere.
To be freed from the burden
of being oneself is a joy
rarer than orchids: a joy
only animals and thespians
know. The world is slated
for liquidation, which is better
than demolition, n'est pas?
"I got you," the man in the porn
said to the woman in the porn.
Meaning, you're not going anywhere,
anytime soon. In another context,
in another poem, to get implies
comprehension: a brief elision
between sacrosanct worlds.
I hurl myself against the glass door,
like a spurned employee, or lover.
It won't break. The world has me
in its grip, when all I ever wanted
was to be fucked, then left alone.




We speak to remind ourselves
of a vision anterior to this one:
the world's paltry sum. We speak
to raise, if not the dead, then the
swamp life of dreams: pie cooling
on a windowsill; scenic campground;
old yellow dog loping into the arms
of his young hirsute owner. Stay with
the feeling, my counselor once urged me.
Stay with your attraction to the hirsute man,
even if you created him for the sake of singing.                
We speak for pleasure's sake, liquid asset
of forethought running off the tongue.
We speak to enumerate our laurels and our
losses: to obviate, deflect, compensate,
and deny. If we are trapped within a one-
room cabin, speech is the rain that pelts
the windowpane, drizzling, steadily,
down. We speak the dream of logos:
wind in a void, communicative
intent, song of the open door.
The third practice in the Noble
Eightfold Path is to speak
that which leads to salvation.
If you have not yet mastered
free indirect discourse, try merging
the character and narrator once more. 




The operator is tired. The good
wife is tired. It is tiring, to love
grunge rock, only to have it fly
in the face of established taste
time and time again. Time and time
again, I dream of French classics
(onion soup and short ribs), though
I have not eaten meat in years.
It's something about that sidewalk
café, newspaper ruffling in the wind
like a Dead Sea Scroll, murmuration
of Parisians eating their daily bread.
When painters surrender their right
to title their own paintings, strange
things happen. Weird blob No. 4.
Amorphous post-industrial landscape
No. 2. I would like to start this life
over again, in media res. I would
like to cut your heart out with a spoon.
I am uncomfortable with directionals,
with the exception of true north.
I am uncomfortable with imperatives,
with the exception of Go away.
I live on the cliff face of whatever
mountain I happen to be scaling.
Starling, darling: the pain of
non-existence is continual.
Come closer. Drink deeper.
Die another day.



When I wrote these three poems, I was reading Anne Carson's Float, and Maggie Nelson's The Art of Cruelty. I was thinking about pattern recognition, human frailty, and Rilke's exhortations to Franz Xaver Kappus, in Letters to a Young Poet, to "love your solitude."  Lastly, while I don't eat onion soup or short ribs, here is [a recipe] for another French classic I enjoy, Salade Niçoise.