The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Ron Czerwien

Inscription Found On The Back Of A Postage Stamp


Caribou rub velvet from their antlers trade it
for motel sewing kits airline liquor bottles 
the pure products of personal hygiene 
once manufactured in industrial towns dotting
the eastern seaboard which now lie in ruin 
abandoned to roaming gangs of top hats 
garter belts phrases like "So's your old man" and 
"Twenty-Three Skiddo" I saw the best mimes of my 
generation destroyed by endless performances 
of a man trapped inside an invisible box or leaning 
against an invisible wall and I will show you something 
different from either a leaky barrel of toxic waste
busy selling the lopsided handicrafts of fanatics

It's the kind of waking dream one can only have in
New York in November where a longshoreman sees 
the likeness of Lou Reed in a bialy and when the Pope 
comes to town it's declared a miracle you can find
a place to park there will be time there will be time 
after this poem for Corona and lime to explain why 
late capitalism is tardy why the Kardashians are as 
entertaining as Get Well balloons at a funeral what 
sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their 
skulls and ate up their brains and imagination these 
politicians with personas crafted as carefully as the 
sincerity of a cruise director's in spite of their names 
silverfish can't swim hug any Maria and you’ll be cured

The unpeopled boulevards and piazzas of de Chirico's 
imagination have been gentrified but Max Ernst's stallion 
still wears its guts on the outside galloping into this 
neutral air where blind skyscrapers use their full height 
to proclaim we are as predictable as snow in a Russian 
novel as the look of boredom on the face of the cop 
waving us past the twisted wreckage of logic justifying 
another shooting is meaning an affair of consciousness 
and not of words is it the merger of the horizon of the reader 
with the horizon in which the text occurs racists bathe in 
baptismal fonts a banker says "We don't just manage money,
we manage people" Ben Sidron sings “we’re gone before 
we’re here” in Tlingit there is no word for 'good-bye'

In spite of its name Western Marxism does not 
wear a Stetson hat or assless chaps Postcolonial 
Williamsburg is not a thing yet I'm with you in 
Rockland rolling up top down rolling up out of chaos
aestheticized decontextualized demythologized
eroticized globalized historicized marginalized
the unpurged images of Instagram recede
if you see something do you know something
there's no official height designation to differentiate 
a mountain from a hill the thing you're after may
lie around the bend she'll be coming round
the mountain when she comes when she comes
a wishbone will catch in the world's throat




RON CZERWIEN is the owner of Avol’s Books LLC, which sells used & out-of-print books on the internet. His poems have appeared online and in print journals. His poem, "A Ragged Tear Down The Middle Of Our Flag," was recently published by Locofo Chaps. Ron hosts the monthly "Madtown Poetry Open Mic Series" at Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse, in Madison, Wisconsin.



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