Heart & Tongue; Urban Metastasis
By: Jeffrey G. Wang
Heart & Tongue
The heart, in orbit, beats without a mind. Moves without a soul.
Speaks in tilled phrases, its words facilitating breaks.
Any singer could tell you: a drumbeat
of phonetics that cleave
like a toddler to
to its mother’s breasts.
It shies away from the rest, syllables
rooted in (alien) soil, rooted in centuries, thrashing
against geography, sinking like a plow
caught in quicksand.
Observe that the word is diaphanous.
That the syllable vanishes. L’s switched for R’s
roll through muscle memory.
The heart (hijacked) still curls while cauterized—
the tongue, writhing against white flares
as its vernacular is set alight.
So much for nativity, for the wooden
cases we dispatched through storms to reach land
thrumming with (foreign) tongue, smoke rising
upon the virgin horizon.
Men burn lukewarm.
Women burn slightly hotter.
The tongue (of a child) is easiest to scald.
The city tonight is nothing but
smoke and mirrors,
smoke running its tired
through the grates
of an all-night subway
with the glow of
the old television shows
we have never seen,
let alone remember.
In the distance, a deli sign glows
its faint flickers clawing
through cracked cement
and chipped paint,
branded by the tracks of
kempt by the patient brushwork
Perched above lay
Ahab’s oily lanterns,
their hazy glow draped over
sparks of cigarette flame,
illuminating walls of refuse that bear
in Belshazzar’s name. Looking
through these shrouded skies,
I must ask:
When will the moon be worth more
than a block of stale cheese?
At what point is the incandescent
chatter inside an all-night
diner worth dissolving another pinprick
of light within the polluted sky?
Standing here alone, my voice is met
only with the echoes of
specters of ragged housing rows
That have a beginning,
but not an end.
And so I walk.
I walk through the crickets and haze,
through this American desert.
I walk through fading television static,
a silent requiem for a city
Jeffrey G. Wang is a writer and poet from San Diego, California. A Content Writer for The Adroit Journal, his work has previously been recognized with national medals from the Alliance of Young Artists & Writers and is forthcoming in The Bookends Review. In his free time, he travels away from the coast, wandering the outskirts of the Mojave. He is sixteen years old.