Three Poems
Justin Taylor

Is There Devil Music In Heaven?

The world stiffened and crumbled; figure
that's how it started and we dug that. The
sun did whatever; it was over too. Some-
one gave us a few pills and we took those.

We hoped for the blurriest of all possible
worlds but suffered the clarity that came.
Darkness itself lapsed or seemed to. We
were/weren't as into it as we should have

been when the soundtrack cranked. We
were ready for our sentences and were
even filled with our own version of love
for That Thing which asserted Its Presence --


When they come we will know
not of them but through them.

We will be wretched & exuberant,
they will teach us new dances. We

will say to each other "Oh, they
really are something," and fiddle

with grass blades, touching our
feet to the feet of one another.

This will be in the times between
the lessons, which we will be given

in silence with aid of loudspeaker.
(So much inversion, this flattening,

a total blank for us to love and love
filling in.) When they are roughly

defeated we will be freed, lonely,
pitiable, aware. We will squander

their gifts and that will be luxury,
earned or else surrendered.

The Maximum Etc. Poem

We were penning
a thesis on personal histories of haircuts as templates for a historical model that could be

transposed upward to a pan-human, applicable schema but we couldn't account or solve for all the
eras before style was a galaxy always exploding and being rebornMen in hats tipping
their hats at each otherwhatever could have been extracted from supplemental studies
of shawls, turbans, straight razors, and the whole rest of that which would not be cataloged

Premise: all the static and photography of a word like damage or treasure Query:
What's not a fracture or refracture?What's nota glass?

I'm corrugating us a roof out of everything expendable and tiny;I'm groaning
in an empty room, taking my pants off, having a dark beer, coming down

and we are asking the big questions without scare-quotes now, we're so ready to not fill the
blank in and who can make us?ExactlyI'll drink Whitman
until my voice is big enough, blustered the boy with the finite concerns
Who believed him?Everyone

had a haircut before the one by which they are clocked and limited today. Imagine
napes of necks: those sexy liminal zones where go
meets stop like another waistlineWitness:

the classic couplesall the pomp and decimation of going tandem at the great public functions
ratified by attendance and early departure All the hop and jostle
of addiction to movement,the approximation of integrity that comes with always being
on the way to elsewhereImagine them alone
together, gleeping like apes, conjoined at the bristles

The philosophical captain of something saidSometimes alife just whatevers
and so what if it does?
Wewerelearningto love blank
spaceswe formed a wildly nonplussed team

but secretly our only desire was to name-check some band we liked,listen to their first LP
and their latest EP while a couplecigarettes' skinny smogtrails listed
in a breezethen get back to the haircutsor else leave them behind as well
and call for death to this world, beaten down by the names of thingsWe were ready

for an exegetics of silence, delivered in its own tongue the hieroglyphics

of the higher brightnesses, some mute blue outburstsQuery: Isn't truth just

one more way of proving something or trying not to?