Jennifer Nelson    

 

But I Need a Certain Song (Reprise)

Normal Sonnet

 

But I Need a Certain Song (Reprise)

 

people keep fighting for the last
              translation of
              the City of God
I was up in there and it was like fires
now I’m inside Bruegel’s Gloomy Day
ITS DREAD PRESSURE IS ON OUR BACK
yes sir, I can boogie
the ten last shots
on the record
fires in there
even old people wear their former selves
boring children but worthy of love
no one wants to talk about this town or its shipwreck
gloomy
               pirates never make it home
you boring children worthy of love
you want to know if I can dance
I am dressed like fires
your mask is weak
and I’ve unmemorized the face
I already told you in the first verse
and in the chorus
but let me be explicit
like a body being murdered dance
it teaches us the Burn
it teaches us the Turn

Do not learn to suffer Man;
Distend your reminiscent Jaws
And for your trembling Keeper’s Blood
Yearn

 

 

Normal Sonnet

 

There’s a book people write by pretending
to be another author. It’s called life.
Conceptual art’s about goaltending
more boring arcs of self toward meaning. Life,

how far north am I of New York City?
A brief snow held by buzzed grass means pity.
The wall of want and should grows soft and fat.
I’m tired of lacunae. When my cat

licks itself in front of old jewelry
it performs confessional poetry,
which, like one’s historical cruelty,
no one escapes. I say potpourri

for two thousand and bury my parents.
I repeat the parable of the talents.


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Jennifer Nelson is a postdoctoral fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows and an assistant professor in History of Art at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her first book of poems, Aim at the Centaur Stealing Your Wife, is coming out in November with Ugly Duckling Presse.