Two Poems

Poetry / Virginia Konchan

:: Cinéma Vérité ::

Should nature be my profile photo
or my cover photo? Should I adopt
a mantra or tantra? Must I again face 

a heckling crowd or bad steward
of the earth whipping the one animal
entrusted to him? If so, kill me now.

Actually, I think I am already dead.
My brain is floating in formaldehyde;
my preferred pastime is staring at the wall.

But I am godlike at the typewriter, and I am
also a skilled movie critic; when the subtitles
or voice-overs are off, I know instantly.  

If brevity is the soul of wit, I am clearly soulless,
as I take forever to say anything, or get anywhere,
despite the ministrations of multiple seraphim:

it takes an army to keep me alive. I no longer fear 
mirrors, because I know who I am looking at; I am, 
surprise surprise, looking at me. Jesus Christ,

Superstar, are you just going to stand there and
watch me burn? I pegged you as one who preferred
a story to an anecdote, but clearly I was mistaken.

My sails are set for Death Valley, despite the flat
foreground and financial exigencies of today.
See above. See below. Move the decimal,

I mean decibel, two places to the left: then
you’ll know my worth, my value, my market share.
Love is a pocket full of kryptonite, extemporaneous

words spoken in the heat of passion, off the cuff. 
You knew me; I knew you. Let that be enough.   


:: Rapture ::

Lordy Lordy, check out this amphitheater:
there’s so much oxygen, I can’t even breathe.
And yet I noticed the performance has been 
divvied up into ever-shorter time intervals.
What’s with that? Do you not trust the span
of our attention, or is this a question of form?
Let’s get rid of the mannequins in the mall,
with their cold plastic nudity, and immobile, 
neutered sex. Better to be an other-directed 
idiot, like the misshapen moon, or a brutish
prick, mirror reflecting you back to me at 
twice your natural size. I used to be ardent,
used to break any window in sight if what
I desired was visible from the other side.
Now, I take melatonin to treat malnutrition,
but there is no pill for this sinking sensation.
Embalmed by the memory of your touch,
I wreak havoc with the trajectory of stars.
My modus operandi is auto-renewing,
yet I’ve grown rusty without god, child 
prodigy at the art of wasting, killing time.
Can’t you recognize an appreciating stock?
I put a spell on you, because you’re mine.


From the writer

:: Account ::

This poem series is from a man­u­script-in-progress enti­tled Any God Will Do, begun last year in response to a sense of polit­i­cal exi­gency and a desire to write both into and against that. In it, I explore a revival of the con­tem­po­rary love poem, in the lega­cy of such poets as Richard Siken, Thom Gunn, Mar­i­lyn Hack­er, Jack Gilbert, Adri­enne Rich, Sap­pho, and oth­ers. I invoke extreme states, such as rap­ture and pas­sion, in the con­text of time, inter­est­ed in the con­ti­nu­ity between intense psy­cho­log­i­cal states and lyric tem­po­ral­i­ty, and also in ques­tion­ing the his­tor­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion of the lyric moment with height­ened emo­tion and a kind of temps sus­pendu. Fas­ci­nat­ed by the tra­di­tions of dif­fer­ent kinds of love poems, from court­ly to erot­ic, I am most curi­ous in explor­ing where the vol­ta hap­pens in a love poem, so-called love poems that turn on or con­tra­dict them­selves (e.g., Shakespeare’s Son­net 130), the impos­si­bil­i­ty of fusion with the beloved, and the fig­ure of the beloved across time.


Author of a poet­ry col­lec­tion, The End of Spec­ta­cle (Carnegie Mel­lon, 2018), a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, Anatom­i­cal Gift (Noc­tu­ary Press, 2017), and two chap­books, includ­ing That Tree is Mine (danc­ing girl press, 2018), Vir­ginia Kon­chan’s poet­ry has appeared in The New York­er, The New Repub­lic, Boston Review, and elsewhere.