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The First Line is the Deepest

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I have been one acquainted with the spatula,
the slotted, scuffed, Teflon-coated spatula

that lifts a solitary hamburger from pan to plate,
acquainted with the vibrator known as the Pocket Rocket

and the dildo that goes by Tex,   
and I have gone out, a drunken bitch,

in order to ruin   
what love I was given,   

and also I have measured out   
my life in little pills—Zoloft,

Restoril, Celexa,   
Xanax.   

I have. For I am a poet. And it is my job, my duty
to know wherein lies the beauty

of this degraded body,
or maybe   

it's the degradation in the beautiful body,   
the ugly me

groping back to my desk to piss
on perfection, to lay my kiss

of mortal confusion   
upon the mouth of infinite wisdom.

My kiss says razors and pain, my kiss says   
America is charged with the madness   

of God. Sundays, too,
the soldiers get up early, and put on their fatigues in the blue-

black day. Black milk. Black gold. Texas tea.
Into the valley of Halliburton rides the infantry—

Why does one month have to be the cruelest,
can't they all be equally cruel? I have seen the best

gamers of your generation, joysticking their M1 tanks through
the sewage-filled streets. Whose

world this is I think I know.

Source: Poetry (January 2009)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

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The First Line is the Deepest

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