Circumspect (Groceries for Paul Celan) by MLA Chernoff

Poem name: Circumspect (Groceries for Paul Celan) Poet name: MLA Chernoff Poem: Apart from all our loans— credit grown small, default seeping—  our luck shifts gears into seeming,  flounders by the flowers, banks a stray note slaw-to-finger, and sleds us through doors automatica. An arbiter’s whim  sets the stone of this  unfed journey and  drags our pennies through  aisles of condemned condoms, glacial wet diapers—that facial place  where stomachs recoil at the sight of others, their nose-born  freedom, tasking the right to piss  a cure into a war of civil winds,  flowing: pipelines of austere  posterity, thus making it possible  for us to do one thing today and the same thing tomorrow— 			to sequester in the morning,  			cry in the afternoon, 			and ideate in the evening.  We cuss all kinds of allegiances  at the numbering numbers  checking themselves out in cornerbound mirror, taunting us back to  a different kind of realism— a subtler zone of no return  between the teethed and  barbarous scansion of the code.  Dumbass drum— triple bass of lockstepped day:  We cannot forget the plight, it weighs our tonnes in the  tripled swell of caskets from Toronto to Montreal. We cannot dance around it when  the front doors seek to pound it.  Our confidantes ail their own half-masts,  lurking in the husk of Greek alphabets;  the streets wall us in and tell us to concentrate, to employ another application,  to cook a meal at half-mast so more days can dud our lies into living—  tomorrow and forever, never let the produce tremor.  Restart: there too you hide the greatness.  There, in the midst of culpability, the ball where chains block to other verses. Go ahead, call the hypocrite, call out  to its digital homeland: January. They shall not buy the pressure.  Newly worn: you know how they see you from  across our circumstellar car, drinking the water, shovelling old plinths,  slushing trades from the inside out—  come with us, we shall lead you astray  to the choicest of books, their final pages  to come, and again, come. Hum with us—our impoverishment  at wit’s end, passing a sky’s worth  of acrid meridians. End of poem.  Credits and bio: Copyright © MLA Chernoff MLA Chernoff is a poet, performance artist, cringe enthusiast, recovering academic, and – if the Canada Council asks – a novelist, who definitely knows how to write a novel. Their debut poetry collection, [SQUELCH PROCEDURES], was released by Gordon Hill Press in the Fall of 2021. MLA is also the author of four chapbooks, including delet this (Bad Books, 2018), TERSE THIRSTY (Gap Riot Press, 2019), executive dysfunction (nOIR:Z, 2021), and SCRIED FUNDAMENTS (above/ground press, 2022). Their fifth chapbook, I’M LIKE THE GREAT-GRANDCHILD OF MARX AND COCA-COLA (BUT NON-BINEY), is forthcoming with 845 Press in the Fall of 2022.