20 May 2011

Heather McHugh

[from Heather McHugh's Upgraded to Serious, Copper Canyon, 2009]

About the Head

In the old days it was all
phrenologists and mentalists,
feelers for speed bumps.

Several rubbers later there was lunch,
and the diamonded mind
and the spaded heart
were equally sedated,

and the club,
the club in whose name
so much was done, the club that could trace
its roots back to an ash tree,
and its branches up to an ash cloud,

the club that let in and that disallowed
the thoughts of so many –
ingeniously giving members
bullhorns for our little voices,
leather for our liabilities of skin –
the products of its expertises hooking
dugs to suction-cups
and penises to clever
lover-tubes, docilities
to stanchions – keeping the consumer
from those messy overflows – oh yes,

the clickogenic club – it's now on its way
out, going the slope of the oil- and
cowmen, under a wave of nouveau
spunk, as reproduction comes
in plastic, tungsten,
dazzleworks of circuitry – no
boring boards! The club with all its antique
codes and codicils will have to

club itself out, out of courtesy, on the path
to a virtually productive heaven – let the gentlemen
agree. Their sons, the slackers with the liquor, hand it on
to generation Z, that need not multiply or sleep. The stock
of alphabets runs out, the line of swollen lifetimes hits
the point of several seconds flat, and any smidgen
beats a bludgeon. Just a blip behind the eyes

works better than a bruiser with a bat.

Heather McHugh

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