Why the past tense?
Why the new, somewhat morose, expression in the photographs,
the half-smile fallen from the half-wince,
as though unplugged or unplupped?
Why of a sudden so much attention from the Far East
– it’s because the world turns into the sun
and so much less in English than in German
– it’s the availability, even in common speech, of the composed perfect?
Everybody understands by now that transplants don’t take
and only a continent knows its own,
so step forward, Western Asia!
And then why the cosmopolitics?
Why the epic trajectory and the famous names,
when from A to Z was just Lviv to Krakow,
a few miles in a horse and buggy
in Galicia of the lions?
Why the many prizes, and never enough, and the bookies’ scandalous odds of 8-1,
(behind, if you please, Murakami) and all crammed into the last years?
Why the closing date, our dismal 2021,
backwards from the first day of summer to the first day of spring?
Why the lancer’s head, with the scalp producing little or nothing
and the evenly seeded lawn of the face under a pair of florid eyebrows?
Why does ‘best queer abuse memoir’ make the story?
Why nothing about his prowess swimming?
Why the misnaming of the poet’s wife (‘Kaja’?)
and the obsolete references to the existence divided between Paris and Houston
when in fact there was no existence, not in either, or indeed anywhere else,
not even – plucking a city at random – Radom?
Why the misleading ascription (‘poet of the past’s presence’)
when it might have been
past of the poet’s presence, or poet of presents past or
passing of the present’s poet?
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