King for a Day
Seize a foothill from the ridges peering
godly from the north. Break them.
Let chisel and sledge reduce them to torso-
and skull-sized chunks. Raise earth
into a motte. Set your inner castle’s stones.
Erect around that keep
twelve defensive towers
and adjoining curtain walls.
Above the battlements, set on pikes, fly like flags
the hands and feet of your enemies.
You will need still a proper flag—
something to hang
as pennant, emblazoned with the family
crest you bear. And by you
what is embodied is the royal
we—the serfs and knights and smiths
who bejewel your crown. And your crown
being nothing more than your one skull,
and yet a head you believe so precious
whole geologies had to be re-formed around it.
O, patchwork mountain. O, cold abode
of rock. What little defense this will afford you
when comes tomorrow the age of cannons.
I Know You from the Screen
the one smooth as a subcutaneous window
in my pocket’s denim. It burns
bas-relief into my hind. I am
a good viewer. (Good: I am trained in the new
literacy of little faces
on screens.) Hello. We
have met many times. We have
(and it was only years ago that that was
slag for sex—the unidirectional prodding kind
to troglodyte erotics). Our intimacy is next gen.
I know you from the screens
air grafting itself to my sleep
starved irises—lens upon lens with no
magnification. I still
mostly struggle to see you, or to see something
other than rapid afterimages—your real-time ancestors—
stop-motioning their way into the present, yet never
fast enough for me.
Kyle Dargan is the author of five poetry collections and the founder and Editor of POST NO ILLS magazine. An Associate Professor and Assistant Director of Creative Writing at American University, he lives and writes in Washington, D.C. For more information about Dargan and his work, visit www.american-boi.com.