The Charter of Effects


It occurs there is still to reveal the muses
that transcribe the noises of me thinking,
who beat me to things I wanted to say,
till it hurts like a jilting to read, and reread.

More jaded than even an idol could notice,
researching every tiny sensation,
sometimes I just flail the air.
People wonder whether I’m caught in a web.

A roll is required to tick off the names
of each of the aspects for blood, or for good,
those gone and who remain, some only to do as they please.
They quote Shakespeare and it isn’t even him.

My demands for perfection distract from TV.
All change can be accomplished by remote.
These are my thoughts: I will not remember later

what they expect in return.

It’s always a sentiment they describe
in a process for which there must be a label.
They follow each shot with remorse.
What I am, they remind, is unsure.

Presence is the muse who says she is this very moment.
Every night I close the blinds she every morning opens.
I perform CPR but can never save her.
She dies in my arms, I can still taste her.

In accepting unsure I become afraid,
a logical sequence to core motivation.
Fear is knowledge pain exists.
Muses pop pricked by its surface.

Leave a residue that hates itself
with which fear glues its tooth back on.
Only me with your back might be worse than alone.
We were just having fun when the point became serious.

I don’t wait for Polyhymnia,
nor does her eloquence pervade me.
I try to photograph the lightning but only get the rain.
Tap grape and lowly hop and bean and weed.

I wrote first of wolves and sheep,
how I forget which one I am.
How every hour spent alone further tests resolve to fail.
How Plan B is already compromised.

But what if she helps me find an expression?
What if she’s a vivacious nychthemeral synesthete
who proves it serendipitous my mom misspelled my name.
Invite her purely into mind to touch decay.

Stare back into my line, luminescing.
Up the heat to incandescing.
An intensity from the wielder of the pen,

weighing the night’s creativity against a 6 AM alarm.

A muse of sorts, the flaky Xena emails a jpeg,
spelling atrocious for her position.
Nude pixie in hibiscus, I suppose,
plenty to intrigue a verse.

I convey my respects to the aura she breeds,
admire her attachments,
one topless, another in a corset,
for my signature, loaded compliments:

I’ll bet you’ve stirred the glands of many with those.
A muse if ever I dared exchange.
The Likeness might make a difference now, should anyone believe.
A red stroke on the list of things.

Ah, beautiful Xena, you should have been a starlet.
You’re too illiterate to be a teacher.
Come across, my love, I’m not quite drunk yet,
and no longer care how rainbows work.

John FitzGerald is a poet, writer, editor, and attorney for the disabled. He is JohncutoutGSthe author of Favorite Bedtime Stories (Salmon Poetry, 2014), The Mind (Salmon Poetry), Telling Time by the Shadows (Turning Point), and Spring Water (Turning Point Books Prize, 2005). Other works include Primate, a novel and screenplay, and the non-fiction Everything I Know. Other publications include Human and Inhuman Monstrous Poems (Everyman), Poetry: Reading it, Writing it, Publishing it (Salmon Poetry), Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology (Salmon Poetry), From the Four-Chambered Heart: In Tribute to Anais Nin (Sybaritic Press), The Warwick Review, World Literature Today, & many more. He was editor of the Law Review.