Hallo, Dave! David, hallo! I’m having so good a day, I don’t need you
and don’t need the hulk of you sulking into my dance hall with mud on your boots.
I skid up the courthouse steps vindicated and free,
lift up my robes and issue exquisite decrees,
so no, I don’t need you, your grassroots and counsel.
When I pour water into a wine glass, it’s one kind of miracle,
and it’s too good a day, Dave, and I don’t need you or dour Faisal or any of the grim Ethels,
your protests and woe!
The soldiers stomp onward, and they stomp onward with glee,
so no, they don’t need you, Bertha, your washcloths, your pathos and honey.
I indulge extravagantly in legumes and peaches.
I ask my spleen for nothing, but on it goes with its spleening,
so no, I don’t need you, Chester, I don’t need you, Marie, your picketing and screeds.
The wan girl standing on the corner with a clipboard and a bandage on her back
covering a new tattoo is another I don’t need. I don’t need to know her name
or in which tearoom she partakes of oolong, making delicate gestures.
Darfur is far away, and Pyongyang is far away, and the gum-rot, rusted armpit of the city
is a glinting mosaic of broken bottles of Yoo-hoo! and Pabst and is fed and is sated and free,
so she doesn’t matter as you don’t matter.
Aw, Dave, I’m having too good a day, and I don’t need you and don’t need you,
and if you should come this way by buggy, hybrid and electric,
or by a wide, purposeful stride,
you’ll find my face is the face on the coinage,
my voice is commanding as the ping of a fork striking a crystal decanter,
and I’m presiding under the meniscus of night sky, luminous and solitary as a firefly
beneath a field of stars, unconstellated.
All My Darlings
I’d only just been thinking of you very deeply.
I’d seen a Corvair rusting on a Tuesday and recalled that summer we spent driving.
I noticed a drawbridge drawn tall and, naturally, remembered you drinking a Pete’s Wicked, arguing the relative merits of the founding fathers.
How you lauded Alexander Hamilton. How your eyes accounted.
Even now the drunk seeming sway of birches evokes you
collecting leaves to press between pages of a dictionary, a you, so vaguely you in a top hat and the sleek sheen of vinyl boots.
That funny little cross atop every steeple in town
makes me think of you thinking of the birds as crossing through crosshairs.
You were a woman of so elegant a candor. You were a man of such good measure.
Blue was the light of your hi-fi display. Green, the distortion of your tv screen.
Soft, the dilly-dally of your hairdo.
I contain you now the way the ringing ear retains thunder.
Do you still eat three cuts of meat on marble rye? Do you still get rowdy on Arbor Day and tear down the corridor scattering your dossier all over so no-one can know you or tell you apart?
No-one can know you or tell you apart.
Even now, all the ratty hipsters become you, and all the blonde diplomats become you, a you with domestic accoutrements,
a you with parcels on the Elevated gliding through a vapid fog.
You who merengue without me,
who see me when I don’t see you
among the dithering crowd on the parade ground i n your new pair of shoes.
-- Jaswinder Bolina is the author of Carrier Wave, winner of the 2006 Colorado Prize for Poetry. Poems from his new manuscript will appear in upcoming issues of Columbia Poetry Review, Third Coast, and in The Best American Poetry 2011. He teaches at Columbia College Chicago where he is the 2010–11 Liberal Arts & Sciences Emerging Poet-in-Residence.