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.

[Click here to purchase your copy of Issue 08]

 

Vers de Societe

Related Posts

Top-down view of bouquets of various flowers, presumably for sale at a market.

Translation: Poems by Mireille Gansel

MIREILLE GANSEL
this morning while I was going to the docks looking for summer's last flowers at the florist's suddenly the look of this young boy with his mother her head scarf knotted like the Romani women who had offered us hospitality he and she hurrying both of them grasping black bags

Washington Heights

November 2022 Poetry Feature: Anacaona Rocio Milagro

ANACAONA ROCIO MILAGRO
Because there weren’t any fireflies in the hood / as a child i imagined roaches were angels on a / mission. To save lives, they’d crawl into the mouths / of the chosen. Initially i found them disgusting. / They’d infest my Fruity Pebbles cereal. i’d pluck / them out

Image of the moon. Camera is focused on the moon against a pitch black background.

Klan Giant

TOMMYE BLOUNT
Look up here, the air is Aryan. The moon, / our white hood. Our life must loom large / above that which is darkened in our shadow. / A fate loomed long ago, ours // in the weft and warp of hems, / a lowered white curtain on this / re-coonstructed show