Target by Jason Koo

Today I’m thinking of all the people not in love: I’m with you!
I’d like to say, though one of the conditions
Of not being in love is that you can’t hear other people not in love.
You can only hear beautiful people, who have
Symphonies for faces: Grace Kelly, Dominique Sanda, Emmanuelle
Beart, ah, beautiful (can you hear the cellos
And clarinets?), but hmm, maybe not, they are beautiful but distant:
and what we want is not only the beautiful
But the possible: for what is love but an opening of the possible?
To be possible you must be new and nearby:
You must also look available, or the windows will inevitably close:
oh Alexs with an “s” at the record store,
Alexs so inscrutable, with your long blonde hair and Sanda-like face
and that Sanskrit tattoo on your wrist,
You died, you died that day I bought the new Tom Waits and said,
“Hi, Alexs, right?” and you said, “Huh,”
Nodding your head and not looking up: Jo Ann vanquished you,
Jo Ann of the perfect mouth and imperfect
Yoga technique, who gave me her number in the YMCA parking lot
but halfway through our first coffee date
Revealed she was married: now I’m struggling, really struggling,
to keep her alive. I walk around these days
And my footsteps go, Nobody, nobody. I cup possibility in my hands
like a mouse. Oh you out there not in love,
I know how it is, when you wake up in the morning and look down
at your body like an emigre looking back
Disgustedly at his homeland; when you peer through the blinds
and the world is nothing but a grey side;
When you feel each day is a dart flung at a target you keep missing
because who, or where, or what is the target?
The soul cannot live like this, the soul needs a cable, a clasp, its talons
are itching for a peak, there’s too much space
And it’s thinning out like smoke: you step out of the furrow of the future
onto an asphalt present. Worse, there’s
A whiff of sin about you, because not to be in love with a person
should never stop you from being
In love with the world: and the problem is you’ve fallen out of love
with the world. You’ve come to hear
An underlying Goddammit! in everything, and never notice the trees
tossing their heads in the wind like conductors.

by Jason Koo
from Man on Extremely Small Island

C&R Press

published at Verse Daily

art = Target by Jasper Johns

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