Virginia Konchan: The Grammar of Sex

Ex Machina


The problems of suffering and desire

are not about forbearance or delayed


gratification.  It’s about identifying

the one hurdle you’ve identified as


insurmountable, then mounting it. 

Ta Da.  Voila.  So there.  With you,


anything seemed possible.  What do

you mean, I don’t have to put my


toiletries in travel-size containers? 

Do you surmount the jurisdiction


of airport security, too?  So long. 

Thanks for the retirement luncheon,


the gold watch you set ticking like a

bat out of hell, when what I really


wanted was a diamond tennis bracelet,

Pay-Per-View, and a chubby child


to call my own.  The wicked prosper. 

Everyone is a tourist, sometimes.


I make up for deceit in innovation,

in being willing to sacrifice a lung.


Every subject needs its object:  mine,

a bell so heavy it cannot be rung.


I Love Hamburgers


As Thich Nhat Hanh said, you should not say

I love hamburgers, as love is a sacred word

that should be reserved for the flesh, or soul.

I am afraid of Virginia Woolf, as I discovered

what black magic can do.  Can’t stop won’t stop.

Noah’s Ark, as we know, was built for two.

I know I’m forgetting something, such as

a good-night kiss, which I cannot render

as it would irreparably fuck up my lipstick.
I can no longer afford my hovercraft, now

that the sale of diesel has skyrocketed again.

Yes, Fräulein, give me another one of your

pietistic platitudes about sex and grammar

and the grammar of sex.  Give me the life

wisdom of bean counters who ascribe genius

to photosynthesis in the Darkest Age. 

O, to be a diva, so fucking special that

not a single person could ever forget

the tread of your footstep on their face.

You want to know the secret to victory?

Dance like no one is watching, even though

everyone is watching.  Tell me:  is it so bad

to desire desire in perpetuity?  And here’s 

God again.  Stuck in the deep web with you.  

Virginia Konchan is the author of a collection of poetry, The End of Spectacle (Carnegie Mellon, 2018), a collection of short stories, Anatomical Gift (Noctuary Press, 2017), and two chapbooks, including That Tree is Mine (dancing girl press, 2017).  Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, and Best New Poets.