REPLACEMENT FOR WORDS
Boredom used to be disallowed;
it was for the unimaginative,
for the existentially challenged
for the febrile.
Now I am saturated
with eating, dressing, periodicals,
masturbation, design, weather, peoples
obsessions with ethnic anxieties,
American nostalgia for old versions of Europe,
with purple, and containers.
Let us not have a dog,
not know our history,
nor recognize any influences,
be compelled to disemploy words,
move toward the all-water: inhumanity
—past Germanics, beyond Inuits—
like that creature
with that word: distance.
We could replace even him
We can fill
even the idea
—from Elsewhen © Robert Cowan
ROBERT COWAN is a professor and dean at the City University of New York, and volunteer instructor at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. He is the author of two hybrid-genre collections — Elsewhen (Paloma Press, 2019) and Close Apart (Paloma Press, 2018), and three monographs — Solace in Oblivion (Peter Lang, 2020), Teaching Double Negatives (Peter Lang, 2018) and The Indo-German Identification (Camden House, 2010). Other work Morning Convictions
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