One who identifies far outside gender
and has made a career of celebrating
a terrorized and broken past 
has put me in charge of greeting
the vast feted guest list of artistes 
and guileless saboteurs, gathered
to yell guttural phrases against
a darkened backdrop of museum
castoffs, meaning as sound,
masquerading too hard as art, 
and inviting mute applause. 
This is captured moment as story,
the morning-glory of fresh growth
in vases stale with vape juice.
We are ornaments of torments,
silly fools and charlatan renegades,
goth devotees of binge-watched culture
beautifully alone and ironically attractive,
hypersensitive to touch and yet 
braying out prayers for organs
and grinders, harsher reminders 
of how skin becomes payback 
in patriarchal dissolution
where power no longer 
invites sad compliance. 
It’s all a new science,
cooled and rewired 
and somewhat admired:
handshakes replacing 
neural connection,
in avant garde haunting, 
echoes in hipster enclave. 
Let pity compel you
by what strangers tell you,
this city will fell you
if given a chance. 
Shrieks meant to savor
cannot save behavior,
we act like cold neighbors
refusing to dance.
Those off beat mountebanks
form their own stale rhythms
in the spirit of performance,
yet this throbbing steady pulse
is a techno headache 
even Warhol could not redeem. 
Another arrives: 
dutifully, I check the list.

Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. He challenges reality on a daily basis. He has two collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) and Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and a chapbook, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press).

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