Gregory Crosby

They Live (Laugh, Love)

The way a razor longs for that long wrist.
Or the way a white man loves a white van.
The way that should becomes because they can.
Or the way a black eye looks for its fist.
Or so they say. They talk & talk & twist
every objection like a madman,
sweep your broken bones into a dustpan
of herstory (history, they insist).
They’re everywhere & nowhere all at once,
skimming the surface yet deep in the blood.
They take for granted all that’s the given.
They exist the way a hat wears its dunce.
We are the tides, but they are the flood—
a toxic bloom. An ammunition.

At the Tomb of the Unknown Feeling

Imagine reading the suicide notes
written by those who will live forever,
the dull irony of small talk, weather,
the dead child on which Eternity dotes.
No one says, a rising tide floods all boats,
except for the hole, that bottomless never.
The waitress asks, Naugahyde or pleather?
Is it a tumor, this lump in my throat?

As a child, I hugged my Nauga & spoke
in his voice, a voice of gravel & light.
We were born the same year, but I’m stuck here;
he’s trapped on eBay beneath money’s cloak.
Memory is a form of second sight:
loss, immortal, & the strangeness of tears.

The Book that Burns as Each Page Turns

In the latest twist, the hero is the villain,
while the villain remains the villain; only
their motherland can tell them apart, each
with a face that only a motherland could love
(the fatherland only cares which is his, which
the bastard). Well, there’s no accounting for taste,
unlike greed, which accounts for nearly everything.
There is no binary they will not insist on, no
contradiction they will not embrace, no
prodigal son (or daughter) they will not turn away.
They are the firemen willing to stand by
while the flames lick the doorways you loitered in,
& the smoke chokes the family you chose,
saying, Guess you should have paid your premiums.
They are the sharp teeth in the nation’s jaw,
grinding the ashes in the nation’s mouth.

Gregory Crosby is the author of Said No One Ever (2021, Brooklyn Arts Press) and Walking Away From Explosions in Slow Motion (2018, The Operating System).