Punchline by Nick Courtright
Nick Courtright is the author of Punchline, a National Poetry Series finalist Boston Review editor Timothy Donnelly calls “nothing short of a knockout.” His work has appeared in journals such as The Southern Review, Boston Review, Kenyon Review Online, The Iowa Review, and many others, and a chapbook, Elegy for the Builder’s Wife, is available from Blue Hour Press. He’s Interviews Editor of the Austinist, an arts and culture website based in Austin, Texas, where he teaches English, Humanities, and Philosophy, and lives with his wife, Michelle, and son, William. Feel free to find him at nickcourtright.com.
What I Have To Say To You
We are bound to this earth, and no matter how
we try to leave
we still are bound.
No rocketship spiraling into the thin openness of time
changes that, no bootstrap shenanigans
hightailing their rubberpeeling
path into history
where the future rests on an old desk
like an apple.
One apple who is just that,
core, seeds, stem, meat, skin, in many way the apple
causing the fall of us
from the ideal and into this:
day, night, awake, asleep, dead, alive, alive, alive, alive.
Where Am I Going, What Have I Been
When I was young
I said I did not care
what became of my body but I wanted
the monument honoring me
to be massive. And now that I am older
maybe the truth is that I wish
for the monument to remain, but the body as well.
I would like to know
where it is, and to have it taken care of
because, Dark Lord of the Unanswered,
it is my future, the one I can count on most,
this cathedral of parts.
Father Whitman made a point
to note how we shall become
and the grass shall become us. In other words,
with enough time
grass to grass, stone to stone, myth to myth.
The room is full of flowers,
the flowers are on the wallpaper,
they subsume the walls into flowerness,
there is a person watching the flowers,
I watch the flowers.
Tomorrow, thank you for existing.
So many people are waiting in line, so many people
for all eternity are waiting,
so many people.