Lesson: you’ve got to learn to pace yourself if you want to make it to the end unscathed (a poem)

An ekphrastic poem, inspired by Yang Xiaobin’s photograph, Pace-ism.

Sunk costs are irrelevant

1
The emotion is a con
stabbing through the thin crust of the hull

Puncture wounds ripped from the headlines
attach themselves to the story
barnacles complicit in the decay of the ‘unsinkable’ vessel

2
Attempts to sop up the blood with an old t-shirt
achieve little more than to smear the evidence

Goddamn, but doesn’t all this existential dread
suck the air out of a room

Existential dread sucks the air out of the room

3
Splotches of mottled rust and cheap gold gift wrap
are probably the only things holding the campaign together at this point

At the bottom of the page
I write ways of drawing a square

4
Move beyond the obvious
to another town

It’s an entire experience

5
At its weakest points
etched amber and chocolate
the substrate bears the tracks of fleeing obelisks
trampling through heart-shaped psychic lines
where fantasies fail to gel

Goddamn, but doesn’t all this existential dread
suck the air out of a room

(25 October 2016—edits and new title October 29th)

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