A Poem By Kelly Schirmann

The New World

I am deep in the luxury of my mental world

where the world is not what we have created

I am incapable of taking care of myself

so I am incapable of taking care of a child

so I will spend my life alone

with the brunt of my mind

aimed fully at myself

I want to meet one good person

on earth, just walking the street

with no prepared speech

or weapons of emotional exaggeration

It’s no one’s fault

these weapons were created

Objects and the desire for objects

are papering the walls of my luxury

and no breathing can be allowed in

I am breathing

in a marble coffee shop downtown

where the air is sweet with fantasies of money

but not mine

Money is only made by mining

By cutting something out of the ground

before anyone else gets to it

Which is to say / before it matures

People mine their own thoughts

before the thoughts are finished

They are given to the New World

designed to house them

There is no approximation of the sun

though we approximate it with technology

The sweet air is too heavy

with its own fantasy

The marble is a place to lay your head

when the mining becomes too difficult

I am resting and listening

to the youthful voices approximated

and singing as one

To be replaced as they are degraded

like clothing or food

or youth

And to enter the luxurious mind

in the same way

Approximating ritual, or self-love

or anything worthy of our actual

and beautiful selves

Kelly Schirmann is a writer, artist, and musician from Northern California. She is the author of Popular Music, a collection of poems and essays about self and culture. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and at kellyschirmann.com.

The Poetry Section is edited by Mark Bibbins.