Thank god, the past
is free from commodity,
free to occupy more reliable abstractions.
O, to be a tourist of one’s own life,
a gift shop full of all the things
I always deserved as a child:
the graphic novel of my Punic Wars.
What could they ask that wouldn’t still be cheaper than
experience, and wouldn’t still put interiority on every relic?
Somewhere: my ponytail and other grotesque
trophies of mere survival. Losing
our luggage was the best thing
that could have happened.
I hardly remember burying it.
how even now the boy the desert fox
the father even the wind draws even
round lone and levelling sands how
even now who will come if even if
now by coming we do harm the wind
even now destroying will preserve
what even is a dune except what
chases as he chases a village quietly
sinking a half sunk visage even now
where no one even lived but where
even now he chases off its lead like
a little scene what even is a scene
except what chases quietly singing
round a hollow half sung village
and even now the hollow wreck
a desert in hollow longing knows
almost sea even now how slowly
he looks back now dreaming tidy
oedipal structures now even driving
others out dreaming inescapable
sequels where even now he gestures
over lone and level sands he knows
how almost a village almost a boy who
even now his little fox his father now
Is this how who felt, in some cases
literally sick to their stomachs?
All those stomachs. I’m a stomach guy.
I dig the concrete image of spiritual death.
Lean the camels and fat the tails.
It’s not the crushing, but how crushable
one makes oneself, like a hotel, like a living thing.
Then fall for the fake coin on boardwalk.
A desert is a desert, if the money’s right.
I have half-seen The Shining.
Even if your tank top were made
of actual tanks and actual barbed wire,
and you were at it all night in a scary tongue,
they couldn’t stay me. Not their
worst dot trip dot ever,
and I wish I could give no stars.
I catch you reading your phone on
the other sofa and want to
tear my windows out. Never again. Again.
Every room includes a North-South divide.
Just look at the thousand
and one holes
where a thousand
and one beds and toilets shine on.
(All three poems are from The Ruin, published October 2015 by Annexe)
JT Welsch has published six chapbooks, including Hell Creek Anthology (Sidekick Books) and The Ruin (Annexe), both in 2015. Other poems have appeared in 3AM, Boston Review, PN Review, Stand and Poetry Wales. JT lives in York, where he is lecturer in English and Creative Industries at the University of York.