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  You could have a big dipper   

American Ode: Real Estate by Sage

O real estate, I admit I know not enough about you

to understand why you matter so much to people

whose baked goods are replacement for personality

O real estate, I admit I could have more readily taken

part in your game by way of my father, a landlord

O real estate, when I say

all landlords belong in hell

I mean

all landlords belong in hell

even the father of a saint can be a sinner

O real estate, I am no saint but at least I don't squeeze blood from stone

in California my landlord sucked marrow from bone

a parasite paratactic to capitol

the pandemic was no excuse for late rent

(late rent was no excuse not to fix the C₂ alarm, David)

O real, estate & otherwise, I am losing my grip on you

what was the point of this green peculiar missive again?

fathers & sinners perhaps


saints & their blood

O established reality collectively burnished to the Nth degree of glimmer

how lightning glistens the city

how ember glistens the forest

Heaven lathes a celestial firmament for each simple body

brought to kneel in a gutted house

concealed in plastic tarps, crackling ceiling panels

dried spackle in the brass tub

bare wall studs like beached whale bones

no landlords to lord over the land; just the land, & the house

fixtureless, yet fixed in the mind as a fractal of ice

O the long ramble from beeswax lip balm to litigation & property management

O winding way; are the wefts in these psalms too densely woven?

& there are Tchaikovsky's cannons

sounding in the ear again a swan


what a swan might sound like were she allowed all her wrath

O wrath visited terrible upon the lord of hosts

every landlord a host of terminated leases

what is a lease but the promise of its own ending?

O reality,

what is light but the promise of its own illumination?

O reality,

you know, none of these contracts are real?

shall we accept meaning is made not by the makers

but by those who experience the thing the makers made?

then, a contract—not made, but agreed into existence—is void

of any meaning besides "use"

& what good to the poet & the ode is use? utility?

there is a difference between existence & being

a lease exists, release is;

a house exists, the home is;

language exists, poetry is;

O I can oh to this & oh to that, but

what is an ode, truly?

the prism of praise?


praise with no prison?

illumination in the dark recesses

the thing elevated above the idea of the thing


the song at the end of the idea of the thing

how it pulses with joy at its own being, its own thingness

how does reality pulse? or the works of state?

the state of these works: a tarnished kettle set to boil

the burner left on all night & into morning


Sage received their MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary's College of California. Their poems appear in North American Review, The Rumpus, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Penn Review, Drunk Monkeys, and elsewhere. They live somewhere in Kansas, but can be found online reliably @sagescrittore.

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