Family Romance

Almost spring, & our dictator’s new order:
everyone in our country must
French-kiss the frozen utility poles—

the boulevards become maypoles
of muffled wailing, move too much
& you lose the mind,

to keep the tongue & the mind pick a
word to keep in your mind, blunt like
starve or trowel or cudgel,

say it will be coming up crocuses soon
those clouds not the shoulders of ice-storms,
say I love you, say don’t unstick me

say there’s no country around us,
that was a fable spelled out by a television,
& look—all the sensible disobedient bastards

loose & running, they’re swinging long stockings
filled with small change, they want
our eyes like pearls, a blind currency—

and how does that song go that starts
I didn’t choose you, that’s how
I know you’re mine—

O accent
I can’t lose without drawing blood,
make me naked again

Michael Tyrell lives in New York and teaches writing at NYU. He is the author of the poetry collection The Wanted (forthcoming from The National Poetry Review Press) and his poems have appeared in Agni, The Canary, Fogged Clarity, New England Review, The New York Times, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Sycamore Review and Yale Review. With Julia Spicher Kasdorf, he edited the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn.