DAY SIXTY-SEVEN – David Briggs

Late Electric Age

Simply to be breaking even in those days was to feel
somewhat like that man you spoke of once who,

when The Great Crash came, on cue, found himself
among the swells, quaffing rum and crème de cacao cocktails,

smoking Havanas, admiring his host’s apartment –
towering bookcase, ebony cabinet, wall-mounted antlers –

not entirely sure how he’d landed on this last island
of decadence, among the cockroaches, while civilisation

crackled to a stub outside: the bombs loud, but distant,
still, on the gone side of town; and the corona

of his host’s cigar seemed infernal, in the way luxury
cheek-by-jowl with genocide can seem to emit a whiff

of the Mephitic, and especially so to good little
Puritan boys from the suburbs who’ve snagged their trews

on the thorns of privilege and haven’t a clue how
to unhook themselves. So, when the electric went, finally,

all he could say was, ‘I guess I’d better light a candle
in the darkness,’ while lighting a candle in the darkness,

and everyone laughed because the mimesis of word
and action seemed somehow, albeit faintly, somewhat charming.



David Briggs’s most recent collection is Rain Rider (Salt, 2013).


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