Every word stands in, badly, for something;
the thing about euphemisms is exactly
the thing it is, which is to say, isn’t.
In euphemisms how can we determine pluralism?
Discrete words of a language—the teeth of
a monster that eats us all (is not
nothing uncountable?)—semantically bleach
for tanning season. Enter a plurality, its ands and buts
and the exact number of years, days, seconds before you die
which hang, a hard math
like a blade over our necks. By concealing
that number, are we not being euphemistic?
Who decided euphemisms are sexual by default?
You might agree if you get your news from sitcoms
that use “poet” to mock a character who bludgeons
their way through a sentence, if you prefer
your plots fill-in-the-blank. If you buy canned laughter
it comes with a free pack of euphemisms, so how are you
not going to write a sitcom? Conveniently adhesive,
these opaque joke-boxes can be laid across a script
easily, thanks to the second gravity: standardization.
Relatability is currency, is ratings-
and share-fodder; discovery sulfurs the Soylent.
Someone somewhere now is convinced gravity’s
just a thing we tell ourselves, rounded off to, somewhere
someone now is praying at the church of
the cement mouth, voting at the altar of fixed
and blunt and candied. Somewhere Flat-Earthers
are being promoted to management positions.
The night clutches its stone tooth
between its lips, trying to recall a particular number,
how many inches it’s supposed to move that rock,
so bludgeoned by the poets and their metaphors,
away from the Earth this year.
Brandon Amico is a writer whose debut collection of poems, DISAPPEARING, INC., is forthcoming in March 2019 from Gold Wake Press. He is the recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Regional Artist Grant and the Hoepfner Literary Award for poetry, awarded by Southern Humanities Review. His poetry can be found now or soon in journals including The Awl, The Adroit Journal, Blackbird, Booth, Copper Nickel, The Cincinnati Review, Diode, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hunger Mountain, Kenyon Review, New Ohio Review, Sixth Finch, Slice, Waxwing, and Verse Daily, and his reviews have been featured by 32 Poems, AGNI Online, The Los Angeles Review, Mid-American Review, The Rumpus, and Southern Humanities Review.