A High-Toned Old Christian Wiman
Poetry is the supreme magazine, sir.
Take the inheritance law and make a knave from it
And let the knave rent high-rise offices. Thus,
Fortune is converted into poems,
In a windy city hankering after honor.
We agree in principle. That’s clear. But take
Up quantum physics and make a partial style,
And from the partial style project a mask
Of uncertainty. Thus, postmodernism,
Purged of essence, indulged at last,
Is equally converted into poems,
Loitering like limousines. And poem for poem,
Sir, we are where we began. Allow,
Therefore, that in the quantum physics scene
Your most affected flagellants, well-stuffed,
Snacking hors d’oeurves at conference and retreat,
Proud of such novelties of the sublime,
Such drink and drank and drunk-a-drunk-drunk,
May, merely may, sir, flip for themselves
In jovial hullabaloo among their peers.
This will make people wince. But foundations
Wink as they will. Wink most when people wince.
Not much is known about Marcus Bales except that he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, and his poems have not been published in Atlantic Monthly or The New Yorker.