A Poem By Megan Amram

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Thank You

Gaud, lea, spry, loaf, spawn, scalp, slake, splay:
(Pause for laughter). Thank you all for coming, for surviving those infamous six to ninety-four
years of famine, ostensibly living off grape juice (Krane’s “zippy violet pilot of sustenance”), violent
riots to claim last cups of java, searing coffee crop-dusting a talc
on the tongue. Truly, the first hit of it at the top of the throat makes me believe
that I have been drowning, and that, being revived, I am taking the first

gasp of breath, the rest of my life, so, thank you. Virgo, I read, today, the first
of this spring month, is blessed with achievement, an ability to splay
then not splay, to specifically address Pistol Shrimp when nobody’s there, to truly believe
that Pistol Shrimp have one claw that they snap with such force that they kill ninety-four
nearby fish with a pressure wave. Virgo’s plumb right. It may be cliché, but “two talc-
washed pelicans are still not three mules” and I’ve never believed the violent

truth of the statement more, never been able to so clearly see the pelican, violent
in its burro-lust, the white powder wheeling off in duple, the buildings piercing the first
scum of the clouds like fingers. If I could, I would take that winter-white-as-slalom talc
onto myself, allow the pelicans to transform in a gaudy ring, phalanges splay-
ing. Now, where to begin? (Pause for applause, possible giving of second award entitled “Believe
Me, The Youth Will Never Be As Great Or Old As Us!”) (Pause) Fore! (Swing) For ninety-four

cents is all I had to my young name, and a calla. Those ninety-four
cents became 3,000,002, then forty-one, then a Pangaea-shaped fortune in a violent
vault under the land-crust underscoring the absence of Pangaea. Money’s not elusive when you believe
it’s not, when you smell it and mark it and know it. Japanese bone-money came first
and they loved it like I do, “invented the wheel so as to invent the coin,” wrote:

In the full moon,
mother and child wait.
Then, the bell.

Or was it:

The snow-covered pine;
the silence
on either side.

No, no, it’s:

The sided moon,
both mother and silent child,
snows and splays.

I remember, I bought that haiku in Hokkaido under the sign: “Come, Reads, Eat, Talc,”

“talc” a misspelling of “talk,” “read” a misspelling of “buy.” Don’t misunderstand: talc,
talk, it’s all the same when you’re in an orchid country and twenty-four and ninety-four
lovely girls want to feed you plunked grapes from there, Japan, waiting to Geisha-splay.
I’ve worked for what is literally and metaphorically thousands of hours and still, violent
is the loss of that first purchase (not a haiku book, but the actual haiku). So. First
lifetime achievement awards are perfect for first lifetimes (I believe

in many things, including afterlives, reincarnation, carnations, etc.), but, then, I believe
in fields of absences. I believe in loss and then return of the thing, or return of the loss. Talc
is also something I believe in. I believe in colors with Japan in them. I believe in first
meals and last meals and meals that consist of grapes and meals that consist of ninety-four
Gods with graces. (Pause to believe) I believe that my generation is the oldest. In violent
non-resistance. I believe that Michiko meant it when she whispered “I love you. Now, splay.”

The first of ninety-four talc-white nominees, who are honored just to be nominated alongside me and my
violent splay of pausing: this award, I believe, means everything to me. Thank you.
I used to love “arigato.” I was much younger then.

Megan Amram is a recent graduate of Harvard University and comedy writer living in Los Angeles.

Don’t be coy with me; I know you’re gagging for more poems. Gag no more! There’s a ton right here, in the archives of The Poetry Section. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.