Brad Liening

I Was a Teenage Victorian Consumptive

I was tired digging my grave.
I was uneasy following echoes
under hereditary gables.
Even then I knew
wan beauty was
no real protection.
I had seen the breeches of my brothers
gray with age.
I didn’t like the color of my brain,
my timid thoughts circling
and earth-bound
amid the wafting black char.
It was like snow
but only a little.
Email kept accreting so no reprieve there,
a new flora and fauna of typos,
a five-fold plenum of ordinary fuck-ups
constituting for all I knew
the afterlife,
shoddy spheres banging
into each eternal other
over disintegrating lace.
Historians tipping off cliffs.
Flowers too were falling into death
but I could still smell them
from miles away.
Like all my kind before me
I stepped into the express lane
and beheld a bonanza of meaningless color.
I stepped into the vaulting black hall
and began work coaxing
who knew what
out of the dirt.

Brad Liening is the author of three books of poetry, most recently O Gory Baby (Schism2 Press). His poems have appeared in Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Hotel Amerika, Uut, and elsewhere. He lives in Minneapolis, MN, and at bradliening.blogspot.com.

JD Thornton