The Nuanced Faucet Drips
The nuanced faucet drips like a raven,
or heartbeats under floorboards.
Changing my mind, I study Chinese
chequers by candlelight. There are worse fates,
told by the shadows of coat hangers.
With great anticipation, the next Houdini
pulls off a stunt, but you’re spiteful
of his painlessness. With greater operations,
five years down the road, there’ll be another sign
that reads “Coming Soon: Twenty Years Ago.”
I will pull out the flowers, gnaw
on the roots, and ask my ancestors
for another pouch of seeds. Are we
patriotic yet? Has the mouth been fed
enough for the stomach to stop caring?
Snow can be seen falling before
headlights passing under street lights
and landing on the coats and tongues.
Flooded rice fields reflect the stars
on the mountain of mirror slabs.
War appears no longer as music,
but as trends predicted by numerous
news outlets during Fashion Week
and music, now a naked barbarian,
no longer wields any sounds of war.
Everybody knows you can’t see
the borders of countries from space,
but that hasn’t made peace easier
to obtain. The satellites out there
relay the borders over the oceans.
What is made of the replies, stockpiling
with quick answers and confidence?
You can almost understand it all through
understanding nothing, flawless as the ribbons
falling inexplicably from the sky.
Between the furrowed brow and matter’s
crux, are vague sirens remembered
upon appearance: gray shrouds of storm
clouds, gray rocks darkened by rain,
and stadiums of American willpower.
Repairing electric chairs
can only compare to an ex’s
dirty fingernails, and even then,
the thoughts are condemned
to die after the task is complete.
I’m not trying to be cynical, but I’m not trying
to not be cynical either. It might be
my imagination, but I think I missed a chance
to be something greater. Too impatient for scabs,
forever scars, and the quiet death of echoes.
Wading through the land once home,
now far away in my mind and right under
my nose. A thousand songs from a thousand
selves, all singing simultaneously, awaiting
some sort of epiphany but without the gold.
Unsuitable rebels at the yoke
growl for the absence of outdoor delirium
while I sit without a tie or sport coat,
though ready to wane from my tavern days
with newfound care for the morning.
I imagine reason to be something different,
something with feathers but unable to fly.
Casual freedom admits its own willpower,
with golden blue traces of nature
leaving us cold, knowing there is warmth.
It’s business as usual with no details
to support the theory, except unarmed
weddings and the occasional firework
pop traveling through the unseasonal,
regardless of the axis and the night.
A million gypsies and only one scientist.
Who needs this? Not I, proclaiming myself
and flogged for all the claims of obvious
knowledge taught like ancient history.
It’s not like we’ve only now become electric.
Exploding wilderness opening like a parachute
creating a lonesome salvation as it cannot be
shared or explained as the balconies
and fire escapes where angels perch
would not be the same facing the street.
This may not be surprising to alligators
acting naturally until they are not alone,
unexpectedly they are quite human
with their desires. Just a flag with a couple
of colors and maybe a star or two.
The diatribes, forgotten but echoing, grasp
as a shoot, searching for fences to tangle
through, to flower with bruised petals,
to be pruned by a mother’s pity, only to grow
once more without reaching for the sun.
I do not know what comes next, but the tone
seems to suggest another translation
from the languages without words, only
proximity. There is something, somewhere
over those semi-transparent colors.
All these things were once
important or resigned like a reflection.
The shores of grass from train tracks
invite us to leave as if we were disrupting
a party that never happened.
M. N. O’Brien received his B.A. from Roanoke College, where he was awarded the Charles C. Wise Poetry Award. In addition to poetry, he enjoys writing plays, and short stories while zigzagging across the U.S. He also enjoys whiskey and feels awkward writing about himself in the third person. His work has most recently appeared in The Rusty Nail, Drunk Monkeys, and The Camel Saloon.