It All Smelled Like Betrieb:
Two Poems
Adam Siegel

It All Smelled Like Betrieb

School all the other institutions
It all smelled like Betrieb
Once I lived in California
And no longer felt ashamed

I was but two steps behind them
Three steps the rest of the way entire
Barely to be able to determine
The extent to which I might offer them

"Completion" the old deixis
The referral to such things
Even the loose one
Was a lie a lie a lie


So the drama that appealed to everyone
One had an opera in one's own life
Even as a butcher, even as the proprietor
"Abattoir," someone said, "The flaw."

Someone said "All these endearing
Flaws," the phrase that launched.
"To say it was to deny it," I said.
I had given myself permission.

The war against the young had been in progress
Now it was in its twentieth or thirtieth year
I would believe it only if the tape would keep rolling.