On the weeping grounds, I claim witness to a city that slumps into
blazing & butcher its flag as unspoken elegy. While the sky greeds
for smoke, I wonder about Extinction, imagine him to be headless
& mouth-crackling. His rage, corporeal. He, not. Flames of revenge
lisping towards my feet. Weapons as they are scaffolded to this country.
& we say the war will all be worth it, even as history silhouettes our
words & hunger baits us desperate. He, prowling. He, craving.
Beneath the horizon, everybody turns suspect, every body slipping
into its own curse. Afar, the roads grow guilty from their conscience.
Come eve, I nightmare in a language that trawls my hand for its crime.
When the daylight stammers in surrender, I remember that evening
always follows the mourning. When knives stumble into necks, I
remember a wound will outlive its bearer–could tell us something
about evolution. Could write the storyboard where shadow is realer
than its owner. Even the streetlamps plead for an identity, the town
symmetrical in its grief. Along an altar of bedrock, we halt our prayer
like a bloodline. We translate martyrs back into soot, fragment creation
myth into silence. He, his body–just an emptier dimension to haunt
ourselves through. After all, the most natural death can only be
man-made. I hold the summer with my teeth like a penny, tongue
rusted into a syntax of violence. Heat smears its hiss across my breath
& seethes down my maw. What I mean to say is, there are so many
metaphors for mankind. What I mean is, I can’t will myself to look
past the axis of savagery. Another nape harpoons and is harpooned.
Extinction waits. No illusion. Nothing Nothing he must do.
Patrick Tong is a high school senior from the northern suburbs of Chicago. A Pushcart Prize Nominee, he has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the National Poetry Quarterly, and the Poetry Society of the United Kingdom. His work appears or is forthcoming in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Canvas Literary Journal, and The Rising Phoenix Review, among others. He currently serves as an Executive Editor and Poetry Managing Editor for Polyphony Lit, a copy editor for its affiliated blog, Voices, a poetry reader for COUNTERCLOCK Journal, and the Outreach Director for the COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective.