Vers de Societe

By ISHION HUTCHINSON

 

Some meager talk of Larkin
over quiche and pâté, olives
the proclaimed ragamuffin
picked at as though our lives;

circumspect, the neutral host
blanched at pills and diaphragm,
shook her clipped head of frost,
insisted he please change from

that cold brute, to where life
is modest, the islands, perhaps,
not this social phalanx;
but he answered, none too vexed:

that’s the drivel of some bitch;
a gulf caved into her face;
the champagne flattened to piss;
cardiac breath, no one flaked,

waiting for blood on the ice,
an extremity, voice rifted
on voice; burred, tender, polite
in one spur, like crisped pomfret

forked in the eye, she said:
all solitude is selfish,
and effective only when dead;
be selfish. You won’t be missed.

 

Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He has published one collection, Far District: Poems. He has won the Academy of American Poets’ Levis Award and the 2011 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry.

Listen to Ishion Hutchinson and Jonathan Gerhardson read and discuss “Vers de Société” on our Contributors in Conversation podcast.

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Vers de Societe

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