Poem For All That Is Wrong

East Village, NYC East Village, NYC. Photo: © C. Shade. All rights reserved.

I want to talk about the wrong thing.
I want to support and nourish what is most wrong
though I am exactly right
in the right life in my right mind
for the wrong day and its placement
among all the wrong things:
money that is counted as a sentient being now,
good guys at a gun matinee,
a white woman named Margaret
ruling the Harlem coral leagues,
babies that pay their own way.

I support the diminishing range
of shopping malls, the war on people,
the mission of the autocorrected churches,
the windows that hold back
none of the afternoon,
stigma attached to all the repetitions of prayer.

I love the wrong things:

the wrong opinions,
the wrong hours of sleep,
the workers who do not work right
and somehow make everything work,
a person and the momentary stain he or she leaves
across the ground on a sunny day,
a minute that doesn’t belong anywhere.

Let the correct reader eat salad
that tastes like machine fat and old world cardboard
and let me own, like the king
of every incorrect thing, more than one lifetime,
more than one tree blocking a view of the parking lot,
more than one piece of jewelry—
nose piercings worth more than a mountain,
bangles that hiss at certain wind gusts,
a necklace of closely watched diamonds—
anything that is here, and therefore alive,
and therefore wrong, or closer than wrong,
and waiting—incorrectly—for all of me.


by Rob Cook


Rob Cook’s latest books are Blueprints for a Genocide (Spuyen Duyvil, 2012), Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade (Biter Oleander Press, 2013), The Undermining of the Democratic Club (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014), and Last Window in the Punk Hotel (Rain Mountain Press, 2017). Work has appeared/will appear in Caliban, The Laurel Review, Epiphany, Thrice Fiction, Birmingham Poetry Review, great weather for MEDIA, Dalhousie Review, The Brasilia Review, Natural Bridge, Hotel Amerika, Tampa Review, Verse, The Antioch Review, etc. He is currently working on a novella.

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