Ben Lerner – [What, if not the derivative, will keep us warm?]


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What, if not the derivative, will keep us warm? The tragic interchangeability of nouns?
The breastbone? Two vanguards sharing a bathroom?

When I first found the subjunctive, she was broke and butt-naked
Now she wants half.
She wants her own set of keys
And bullets designed to expand on impact

A pamphlet of sparks? The National Book Award?

Meaning is a child of my third marriage. A marriage of convenience
A wartime marriage. We had plastic champagne flutes and no champagne
A staple instead of a ring. A dialectician in place of a priest

A butter substitute? Rogaine for women?

Consider the rain my resignation. I regret having founded Cubism
I regret the lines I broke by the eye
And the lines I broke by the breath

The hair around the vulva? Proust in translation? September 11th?

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