The Blackest Black Forest


Just nada y nada, which means drop dead in your cleanest socks, o grand and fearless pumpkin. Whether brave or bedraggled or both, the fact that you can put anything (or anyone) into my poem doesn’t mean that you should submit an innocent biped to the vagaries of an adventure, escapade, or journey, any exploit that might be considered a quest, search, mission, or hunt. Haven’t you been listening? Don’t you press your ears to the airwaves? Undertakings in which there is something momentous, earth shattering, or life changing waiting at an undisclosed location (the end) have not (repeat) been acceptable, or even advisable, for decades (insert longer time frame). It is nostalgia personified ever since (ever since) the price of gasoline began rising, the increased industrial capacity of our treacherous neighbors to the east became an economic factor, and the calamitous aftermath of the fall of grandiose empires to the north and south. Officially speaking, there are to be no further missions, pursuits, or expeditions, either within the domain of this poem or outside its porous borders, in the no-man’s land of ruined kingdoms, broken oil derricks and growing silt deposits. Any such chase could, would, and should end in disaster, an upsetting of the lately achieved balance, a crisis that is to be avoided now that villagers across the land have erected new traffic signals outside their municipal swimming pools. Listen to what they are saying—Please be careful when approaching the crosswalk; and be advised that the starlings, nuthatches, and finches must be collectively recognized for their contributions to the recent paper drive. This is the poem in which you are most happy, the one that most closely resembles you in all your minor notes of glory.

John Yau is the author of Egyptian Sonnets and Further Adventures in Monochrome. He teaches in the visual arts department, Mason Gross School of the Arts, at Rutgers University.

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