Steven Genzano : Poetry : March 2021

Southern Legitimacy Statement: If everyone is south of somewhere then I suppose I am legitimate, because I was born and raised in the wilds of South Jersey. Also my mother’s father is from Kentucky.


There was such a party in the ante times,
if only it had happened
Oh how they must have danced, those frilly ladies in their whalebone corsets
their starched lace collars and their pirouettes
Those mustachioed men on their cyclopean velocipedes
and were there airplanes back then? surely.
the sweet farewells, sunsparkle of cutlery
dazzling our dewy, nostalgia-fogged eyes
the graceful tulle embraces
All of us together
none of it real

He took a pen in his historic hands, swollen with congratulations
he said we both believed that God was on our side
and that one of us must be wrong
At least.
At least.

She said history does not change
and I thought, you’re wrong, it does, every single time
every time it is written
with that next double-edged quill
by the latest squint-eyed victor.

I want to see you all through those idiomatic, roseatic lenses
or those standard-issue goggles that drowned the sham city in atlantean Technicolor
or hey, maybe a plastic Face Shield of Compassion (+1) that won’t fog my glasses
blue-light filtered and assembly-line stamped with my favorite copyrighted character logo;
I want to homogenize you, pasteurize you, vaccinate you,
disinfect you
roll your nontoxic kiddie clay in a sunshine ball, with angles of zero or infinity
I want to sneak into all your closets and stand in all your shoes at once
stumblingly shuffle an aching, clumsy mile
like a child, a Michael Jackson zombie, or a moron.

but your pantheon spectrum and your tweeted bezoars
your blue lives and your ozone burns
your gerrymandered filibustering and hypocritical impeachments
your strawman gibbering and deafening attention
your defunding and overtaxing and ghetto blasting and gender mashing
your crippling, maiming, indelible, ineffable, majestic, hagiographic, fucking legacy
I’ve been staring, all along, at the pixels shifting on the walls of my eyelids
a cotillion, a masquerade;
and when those walls come down, the negatives left

When we’ve come to the post,
and the things that do not ever change have had their bloody way
who will wield the weapon to conjure us?
That first, imperfect jpeg, its web-safe palette,
its raster graphics,
its modest resolution,
of a thing that never happened.