The Yoke’s On Us

By CHRISTOPHER SPAIDE

We broke the law and into smiles.
We sowed dissent and daffodils.
We wiped our tears and private files.
We stacked the deck and dollar bills.

We shot the shit then shot the sheriffs.
Exchanged vows and currencies.
We raised the dead and export tariffs.
Ordered troops and extra cheese.

We counted calories and bodies.
Played Monopoly and God.
We lost our passwords and libidos.
Left for dead and old Cape Cod.

We practiced abstinence and cellos.
Filled up hard drives and Sing Sing.
We seized the day and eighty kilos.
Saw, and said, and did, something.

We joined a gym, the June Rebellion.
Marched on Washington and meth.
We waxed poetic and Brazilian.
Watched our back, our mouth, Macbeth.

We gave ’em hell and syphilis
Till Sisyphus rolled up and down.
We blew our chances and a kiss
To one noun and another noun.

We turned a page and into bugs.
We cured cold cuts, the common cold.
We took stock tips and party drugs.
We struck preemptively and gold. .

We went for broke, or went broke, broke
Down, bore that cross, that drill, that ache,
That straw-thin crack that broke our back
Whose yoke could cut no break, nor break

 

Christopher Spaide graduated from Amherst College and is currently a PhD candidate in English at Harvard University. His poetry and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston ReviewPoetry, and The Yale Review.

[Purchase Issue 16 here.]

Avery FarmerThe Yoke’s On Us

Related Posts

feature

Poetry and Democracy: Part Three

ERICA DAWSON
Seven years I have / mothered this nature into a woman. / The moon, her crevices, a tree / the sharpness of her tough skin split, / the river’s green—refluxing bile. / Eve said, I didn’t need a man to be / my mother. Didn’t need his rib/God’s hand, / to be made.

feature

Poetry and Democracy: Part Two

MEGAN FERNANDES
White people don’t like when
you say:
white people.
White people
like to remind you
that you are Indian, not black.
Black people
never say that to you.

skyline

Three Torabully Translations

KHAL TORABULLY
Only a gashed murmur of gangue / remains at this crossroads of salts. / I notice the sharp-edged tattoo / of a forked harpoon when my memory festers. / In the black of dawn, pure métisse, / my uprooted flesh will no longer give respite to exiles. / And my life’s only protector is Death.