For Semi

18 Sep


For Semi


after a brief seduction

and a few too many gin and tonics

her skirt created gravity along her pallid ankle

the comma fucked the colon

in the employee bathroom

of the Village courthouse which was translated into a public library

in 1958

and their kid came out looking just like them

a beautiful amalgamation

a grammatical specimen on surly feet

one slightly pigeon-toed, shifting left

but he suffered from anxiety and acne

avoidant personality disorder

and all the dolor of a softspoken adolescent

whose ictus of broken rhythm created an epileptic shyness

and thus no one understood him

and no one asked him to the Sadie Hawkins dance

(unlike his jocund second cousin, dash,

who was always quick with a joke and some necessary detachment

which got him laid with the ease

of noble breviloquence and not much ambition)

so Semi stayed home

listening to his Smiths records

and smoking cigarettes

thinking of all those who spurned him

Beckett, Joyce and Amis didn’t like you

Hemingway thought that you were too soft to use

and Vonnegut called you a transvestite

and even a hermaphrodite

(which could be the reason that Eugenides thought you valuable enough)

but it’s alright, dear boy

listen to your Morrissey in your shadowed overcoat

and your teenage melancholy  

your parents will always love you just enough  

and even though they participate more often

in all the family games

you are still the literary pause that seems most lyrical

and stoic

like a little Pushkin of the bunch

with eager, nervous trepidation

caring for all the lesser rest

like when you drove your aunt ellipsis

who was dealing with dementia at the time

to her home some miles away

beyond the crop of memory

in the phonological kingdom where it all makes sense

and barely matters

or when Scott mocked your uncle exclamation

and you remarked in his defense

that laughing at your own jokes

wasn’t all that bad

because at least someone’s having a good time

so in this syntactic ghetto

keep your blemished chin raised high

try to grow some whiskers

so as to seem more confident and mannish

because you are here to protect the dispossessed


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Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

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