Who wants to make somebody cry, to see a face lose
its structure and collapse, in night under clouds lit
yellow by streetlamps and buildings, or in day under
the relentless gaze of fluorescent lights. Yesterday
was Tuesday, and today is Wednesday. Underneath
our feet there are new fuses that web in every direction,
from church hall to soup kitchen. Consider the power
of the Constitution. The lyric, the tilted script. Unity
among the disparate masses. We could have been
a nation of poets, but instead we're a nation of clerks.
Over our country, an impossible map to follow
to figure out where the next problem will burst. Please
forgive me while I let it out, while I break into a small
fit of tears. I am not weak, I try. When I die, everybody
in my world will die, everything will be destroyed. You,
the same. The exterior of the building is a marvel
of curved glass, colorful metals that provide support
and race gloriously up the structure to veer off at the top
in sharp angles. At night, spotlights mounted on it cross
each other, form structures of light against the sky.
Tourists take pictures of it. Residents look at it strong
against their skyline and feel swells of pride. But
inside, offices, water coolers, the general paraphernalia
of suffering and work. Lights and webs. Help me, we
cannot win. A little bit of night music. A little bit of spin.
Glenn Shaheen is the author of the poetry collection Predatory (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), and the flash collection Unchecked Savagery (Ricochet Editions, 2013). His work has appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and elsewhere.