p a t r i c k d u r g i n



The face is not a collection of attributes
It expresses itself
It’s going out

Of my mind
One look at it and my eyes roll back
To imitate my death

So bad tragedy
Is bad comedy
Is the poetry of dramatic interiors

* * * * *


He minds me
he throttles me

with heavy
and draining heart in

an interregnum staring
over the heads of commuters

the metonymic metronomic
fare box chugging apace

modest spoils at first
were trophies then.

Phones toot to
alert me

to love him
laboriously.  And all

things being equal,
who couldn’t but?

* * * * *


—pure immanence
by default
or not stopping

not meeting—
no century—
no one but no

relief was delicious
and I stand here
to tell of it

* * * * *


couplets are imitation sentences
beside themselves with

imitation they corrode instantaneously
in pleasantries they accept these

and all proposals and
serve our will to please

wisdom eternally unabashed
nevertheless knows better than to dabble in those greeny bowels

you do the moral fiber in the gum
the tonic’s hot_the coliseum

of praise_legions of realists
bent over the best advices

free of psychology at last intone
here’s my signature it’s

a match – that’s no sham
it’s who I am

I see I won’t watch as you
lower your smile so it talks

display splayed shut part
to imitate your immaculate

* * * * *


Love is some dark toil, our vouchers trembling, cinders pop and descending, sending relays, some convoluted narrative of deep glee.

It is March for the rural poor, parched for victuals, the system from within the system is a split rind it lurks and stales, the long since quickly and so be it evinced in the paltry diced lamplight along the summer porch of those through whom we suffer our best intentions.

Love has a taste for tales on a plate of roughage, each an authentic replica, the base hope that dismays me now that there is a heaven_some strange contraption against or since which I am impotent.  At shore, hesitation is a kind of refusal.  I watch you watch the moon, what for?

There’re no words but perhaps pure motivelessness.  Once you’ve got them after you, inalterably only they stand before you.  There are chores, into and out of four rooms, knocks at the door, I was an activist in the eighties.  And so toiling, nothing chaotic is arbitrary, as the words watch the time watch the moon suffer, what for?

What is not means rephrase my memory and requires something like a balloon toss.  The postulates, the premises, the blankets and the pastries, berries in a bevy festoon the vault of uncertain terms in absolute pastoral relativity.  So it’s this not to ask for levelling events between us.

My coffee can beat up your rapture, your thrice pointed stalwart grapple, your cluster of syllogisms and other acts of attrition collapse every petty attraction into immediate adieus.  Cassettes melted to the dashboard, the lake seemed to pucker then complain, and in a heroic temper we drove up on the lawn_you recall none of this, of course.  So scroll to insert.  So don’t ask for love has a taste for tales.  But with my helmet over my eyes, I acquiesce.

The gangly chuckle of full ripe elms in the rain, or some convoluted narrative of deep glee, the scenery oblique turning to one another.  “I will reimburse you,” say anything to the poor, ought to be, about the happiness.  The figures come out one way and they return another.  Sage and lascivious, you would prefer drinks and fights.

Love is impossible or inevitable, then.  Who knew to endure it?

* * * * *


the postulates, the premises, the blankets, and the pastries
the lie of the matter
was a use
completed / what you have
were two guys
the trappings of having
even in the cold evening
a sort of nostalgia but
the dream the curriculum
quit falling
spars and plangent, paltry
accounts withstanding
there’s a buck to be
with you I would prefer
drinks and fights
come out one way

* * * * *

«±  ±»

patrickdurgin is a writer, musician, and educator, currently living in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and teaching at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He knows and is not afraid to announce that Ted Kooser and his supporters are nihilists.  He is also a member of the Union of Radical Workers and Writers. Some of his poetry can be found online at durationpress and in the DC Poetry Anthology,  as well as critical work and music here:   Another in the sequence of “imitation poems” is published in the special Louis Zukofsky issue of Chicago Review.






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