Present Perfect Tense

This then is where we begin, leviathan,

take the shape of a democratic vehicle-

no no no Hobbes, I deny the head of,

I mean the Commander in Chief of,

these verdant splendid sawed fields

ever-rolling betwixt me and the next

(spread lovingly across the waist,

the middle west, the wide broad plain)

moment wherein I find another and

another much like this one here in

a thin cut of valley where most of us

are breaking up the endless boredom

of wartime with the busy fast colorbox

that candors along, idles in its lights,

flies forthwith from the front windows

onto porches lit sometimes with snow

or leaves left unraked, leaving me here

looking vigorously, faster than I should,

trying to find the perfect present that

I am convinced I can arrive at

even if it means forgoing all the things

that seemed to clog the arteries with clutter,

I mean, clog this here present heartily

with utter loss and disdain. Why

do we all not speak to each other

at times like this here and now?

is a question I have asked many people

and only gotten shrugs like those

a child might give if asked whodunnit

or if maybe they are sensitive they

might say something like Hey, you know,

no one ever talks to me and I'm lonely-

course if they admitted that then they'd

be hanging their ass in the breeze,

vulnerable to the person they're talking to

much like meat is to the knife or snow

to the feet. And who are we to ask

anything of anyone anyway? we are people,

all people, a strange thing here in this world,

I might suggest, if the timing were right

and the moment didn't pass like it can

when trucks pass or the dead pass

quickly and surely out of now forever

reminding us that what the dead say is:

don't be afraid, the world is enough,

and when you find a good person,

hold them like right now isn't going away

anytime soon and also try to be nice

at the grocery store to the girl who bags

or maybe even say please when want

arises like it does at times because people

like the idea of have much better than be

most of the time and are therefore

less likely to admit to our neighbors

that we like to be next to them, that

their house is warm and inviting at night,

that their tomatoes are perhaps better

than our tomatoes but we will give them

a few of ours anyway. And where

does all this lead? I mean this fear that I've

overwritten by several layers now,

could it be it is more in the way that we,

although occasionally satisfied, rarely see

over the chainlink fence to the garden beyond,

over the goldenrod to the other side where

a bathtub is buried and painted dark blue,

made into a pond with a statuette

with a hose that pours out solemnly water

that trickles and makes the back porch

nighttime air all the more radiant

even though it isn't exactly Buckingham

Fountain, even though we are being

pleased by something so small, even

though we all know that we are at war

and that men are dying or will die or

have died, that we are doing all this,

that we could stop it maybe if we tried,

and then we could come pleasantly out

of our houses, shake hands and say-

Hello, I've wondered where you've been

all my life, this is my wife and she likes

to cook and we'd like to have you over

and we'd like to turn off the television

and just talk- and then years later,

having invited all their neighbors, even

the ones with the mean dog, they invite

the whole world and the whole world

comes with a passing dish and we all sit

and aren't nearly so alone, aren't nearly

so alone, nearly so much alone here now.

Sean Conrey's poems have either appeared or are forthcoming in Permafrost and Another Chicago Magazine. As an undergraduate he studied poetry at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI and in 2002 he completed an MFA in poetry at Purdue. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition at Purdue.

If you would like to submit a poem of any length, style, level of experimentation to be considered for Diptera, please send your poem/s, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Attn: Lesha Hurliman
460 Tennessee Street, Suite 200
Memphis, TN 38103.

Electronic submissions may be sent to lhurliman@memphisflyer.com. Please include a short bio. Submissions are not limited to Memphis residents.

DIPTERA is not an online Literary journal but something more like bulletin board, and therefore all rights to the poetry published on DIPTERA are retained by the author. Meaning, the poems published on this site can be submitted to any journal without our notification. We do accept poems that have been previously published as long as we are given a means of obtaining permission to post them on Diptera from that publisher.

\Dip"te*ra<\- An extensive order of insects having only two functional wings and two balancers, as the house fly, mosquito, etc. They have a suctorial proboscis, often including two pairs of sharp organs (mandibles and maxill[ae]) with which they pierce the skin of animals. They undergo a complete metamorphosis, their larv[ae] (called maggots) being usually without feet.

Don't Forget! Rodney Jones will be reading at the University of Memphis on

(Monday, February 10, 8 p.m.) at the Fogelman Executive Center in room 123. I can't say enough good things about his work. For information call 678-4405. To hear him read two poems click on the following link:



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