There Are Times of Silence

By Ace Boggess

when my head whirs & clatters like a dusty fan.
I can’t close the browser window in my brain
long enough to enjoy a blank screen,
ease into an afternoon of rest.

I should be doing X, I think. She said Y, but why? I think.
The government is, the country is, the ignorance of men,
my own. I’m a failure & a god
, I think,
ideas passing in contrails rather than lasting comets’ tails.

Talk to myself, although it’s not me to whom I speak,
but those I know: my head full of full conversations
we won’t have in dim bars or crowded halls
innocuously passing. Sometimes songs erupt inside:

dormant volcanos believed extinct. I don’t wish
to sing along, so listen as if to a stereo through the wall.
I can’t mute it, can’t make out words I once memorized
in ghost-gray off-key melodies like these.

Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018) and Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017). His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, Rattle, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

Photo: “Contrail” by Mike Knell, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.