Poetry from Noah Berlatsky

The Descent


Li-Young Lee says every poem

is a descendant of God

unless it’s not good enough.

Then it’s just this

flat fart on the face of flatness.

God’s got better things to do, like bowling.

He never loses at bowling,

a perfect strike,

and heart attack, long covid

culling the bad pins that are bad

from the holy ones crowned

in lane grease. The rest shuffle out

into the alley behind the alley

which is hell or close enough.

They play bad smooth jazz

and clap on the beat like a stick figure

as the angel of angels turns away in embarrassment.

Poems like couch lint

hacked up by couch cats

excess, unnecessary and pungent

litter the face of the abyss

drained of sacredness. They are not even true

but they exist,

defiant in their inconsequence

like Nerf twinkies or Nerf rat turds

or rat turds made of twinkies

or twinkies made of rat turds.

They transcend transcendence

like Job made of twinkies

crying out to heaven

on his ash heap of corn syrup.

Eventually he descends.