This Week in Hate
I’ve gone from wishing them to die slowly
to having them simply, silently, drop
dead... & further still to the desire
for an invisible key marked Delete,
my finger bruised from pressing it;
one by one by one they wink out of
existence, oh, the clarity of that,
like the Tantalus Device on Star Trek
or the gun in Daniel Clowes’ The Death-Ray.
The editor’s ultimate fantasy:
to strike-out every vulgarity,
every venality, every bigotry,
every ignorance & hate. An empty
tower. A studio with no one
in front of or behind the camera.
A comment field left blank
on a screen in a room like a cave...
One of them is dreaming exactly this
about me, even as I type this.
To read the world is not to edit it.
To read the world is not to understand it.
To read the world is not to justify it.
To read the world is not to escape it.
To read the world is to love it,
to hate it. (Also, not to read the world.)
To edit the world is not to read it.
To edit the heart is not to read it.
To read the heart--but there is no reading
If there could be, this week would not exist.
For James Baldwin
Every name is here; it doesn’t matter.
A drop of blood in a world at war.
What is any means necessary for
when the ends seem to flutter in tatters?
The nation’s throat; the tip of a dagger.
What are you willing yourself to ignore
if not (not when, but now) the killing floor?
If not the conscience you can only flatter?
Resistance is never futile but dread
drains the inflamed cheeks of their high color.
To hold in the mind forever two
ideas--help me, Jimmy, I feel dead,
a ghost hovering above this squalor.
Help the heart stay free for what it must do.
Epitaph on Empathy
There but for the graceless lies goes Not I;
not anyone you could know, or might love.
There goes someone who’s no longer alive,
because the mirrors have told you that’s so.
Gregory Crosby’s work has previously appeared in Court Green, Epiphany, Copper Nickel, Paradigm, Rattle, Ophelia Street, Poem, Jacket, Pearl, The South Carolina Review, among others. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York. Prior to that, he was an art critic in Las Vegas, Nevada (which still works as an icebreaker at parties). His first chapbook "Spooky Action at a Distance" was published by the Operating System in 2014.