Mongrel; Splendor; Postage Rate
You’ve never met a more perfect candidate for a lobotomy
than I, etherized upon the altar to the imaginative, for I hear
thunderous applause when I do the mundane. The pregnant
anxiety of a thousand eyes when I take center stage –
My madness knows no brevity.
It’s not vanity. Don’t believe me vain – call me consumed.
Locked in a sepulcher for my world’s undoing,
I have never been able to afford what I need from pharmacies.
Debts I have begun to rename Spot, like a Dalmatian
from the 60s. He follows me everywhere. The grave waits.
Most weekends I play chess with Deroy in Madison Square Park,
He doesn’t even take my money any more.
He’s a gamesman in that way. But, for me it has all the fun of gambling
without the stress of winning, a compulsion with all the predictability of a prodigal
son leaving again to the bus station. The bishop with a broadsword
slits the throat of my queen in the firelight.
Don’t worry, the IV is already in and drips.
Brilliance of ten thousand tiny flames licking atop
Limbs of a Norway spruce
Third pew at Ebenezer Baptist, a pause in the preacher’s
Sermon for an elderly lavender hat to utter “Hallelujah”
Chorus that echoes with building crescendo
Into Taroko Gorge beyond where tourists feel
Safe, teal blue water cuts boulders in the shadow of a
Shrine to volcanic rock
Undergirding his NICU cradle with pink and blue swaddle,
Preemie eyes possess the same coral lightening
Hereditary in the right eye of the men in our family
Tree-tops mirroring a golden hour across Shenandoah
Earth’s revolution passing over the Blue Ridge like the
Hand of God blessing the coming evening
Rituals that make the eyes firework, blood roil,
Lump forms in our throat
When our minds tilt just over the threshold of
Mulling over a sentence that never
sounds quite right while biting
a ballpoint pen until the ink capsule
cracks and drips down my chin.
The pen becomes a dead squid or rotten
tomato in my mouth. The black residue on
my lips makes the licking the back of an
envelope seem like marking a roadmap
across letter after letter, all parts of a whole.
Until, my tongue dries up and bleeds.
But then, this too, is a correspondence –
a crimson and black banner to mark my need
to tell you what can only be put on paper.
Bubbling scabs of thought I pick at
because the fresh air on flesh
begins to feel like breathing.
Tyler Grant is a lawyer and writer in Washington, D.C. His work has been featured in USA Today, The Hill, and National Review, among others. He is a graduate of University of Virginia School of Law and Washington and Lee University.