Clearing the History and Other Poems


Clearing the History

       Then it was finished.
                                                      Whimper.
                                                                                     Bang.
                           I clicked. I pictured
     beneath me my afternoon’s study—well-hung
                                deliverymen tendering their mouths
to the crotches of housewives, webcam
                                                             punk girls—swirling
    & tumbling in the hard drive’s
                                                                  drain hole. Below
our corn fields real
              amateurs, I imagined, merged
with our neighbors’ filth, flowing, the whole
                                                           sweet concoction, out
         toward some distant ocean. We know,

   now, there is no such architecture. That every
                                                                     keystroke, every
             twelve-girl gang bang is cached
to a government server somewhere
                            in the desert in a basement
                                       even the fault lines, its designers
       say, will not disturb. I wanted,


                   though, when I came to California, to forget
my father in the doorway. The way
                                       he did not hit me. Did not
for a single instant acknowledge
                                                      the blonde, unbelievably
               limber babysitter fist-
   fucking on his office computer, or later, lowering
his eyes in shame, my first girlfriend
                             as she vaulted the couch. I wanted, yes,


to forget his sexless marriage, my parents’
                                                                 slow dying together
     in Ohio. Also
its winters. Its working class clocking in
            to swing shifts at Marion Steel. Stadiums
                                                    of howling men letting out
their rage on some small tribe
        of boys dressed in the brightest of armor. It is true
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