Star, Chemical, Futile, and Irreverent

Carl Boon

My goal’s to write a poem

in a language I can’t write. It would be

an elevated form of action,

a postmodern mischief, an ode

to my mother who thinks

she knows me. It would be unfriendly

and filled with broken flowers

and inadequate conjunctions.

It would be faintly Paraguayan if

there’s such a thing as faintly

Paraguayan or faintly anything. But

of course you couldn’t know—

who could?—and I’d amass

a gathering of faithful readers

in a lauded magazine and be interviewed

twice in the Paris Review. Perhaps

the New York Times. The point is

I’d be very famous, a concern

of those critics who can’t decide

what a poem actually is, arbiter

of language, often needled and

even sometimes villified. But they

would’ve forgotten the poem itself,

brutal and a refuge both, star, chemical,

futile, and irreverent, which is what

I want to be tonight—hanged by them

on a tendril in a quiet, foreign place.

Carl Boon is the author of the full-length collection Places & Names: Poems (The Nasiona Press, 2019). His writing has appeared in many journals and magazines, including Prairie Schooner, Posit, and The Maine Review. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature from Ohio University in 2007, and currently lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at Dokuz Eylül University.