Volume 33, Number 1

The Proposition

          My heart is beating fast enough
to egg-beat the whole damn cosmos, all
          the 10123 bits of it,
because the postmodern did not save us
          nor the post-post modern
and the last honest man died
          16 years ago
and we’re left here trying to—who knows what—
          Give me a hit of something
              not quite there
because the infinite branching universe is not for us,
              nor its encryption in holy books.…
And when I hear some coil of the cosmos singing,
          everybody says it’s wrong
to hum along in the middle of the budget meeting—
          and yet every day I open
the door to the sun, every day nail
          the past’s pocked skin to the wall
because the return to Freud did not save us,
          nor the public execution
              of the meta-narrative
weeping on the scaffold its meta-tears
          nor the rise of the post-colonial,
nor the exhaustion of irony,
          nor the video of breaking ice shelves
                   heated by a hoax,
          and the solutions to our problems
are afraid to enter the country,
          and the oceans are itchy with sewage, and—
          and yet I take heart, I do.
For I’ve breathed in the dust of the dead gods,
          street value, incalculable.
I’ll give you a taste
          if you touch me right now, right here.

—Mike Collins