D. B. DEVILLIERS

Poetry

You Have Reached The Voicemail Box Of

Believe me or don’t, cared about
you a lot
still do
didn’t love you, still don’t
I wouldn’t take it personally
I’m not sure that sort of thing is much in my emotional repertoire
but fuck me I tried
as well as I could at the time, which I fully admit wasn’t enough
because I really did think the world of you but
in that clause it’s less the operative word and more the tense that matters

was that pretentious? of course it was
go ahead and give bloom a
call and he’ll probably agree
no doubt you’ve been acquainted, being
so important after all, you are

did he die yet? I don’t remember but given how important you are even
if the man is dead I’m sure st peter will
transfer your call right through and the
critic’s service will take the message
oh hey yeah hey harry boy we got xxxxx xxxx on the line
the critic promptly drops his ethereal stardust/poppyseed bagel and it falls to earth and wow a shooting star
can’t miss this call, too important;
says caller:
yeah this poet I dated once is pretentious

dead Harold says
you dated a fucking poet?

dial tone

I Was Wearing Your Tee Shirt When I Wrote This (rest easy brother)

Once upon a time there was a promise
once there was a sort of expectation
the sort you remember when you’re
drinking at 4:47am
that you’d go to
college and fall in
love and maybe you
kind of did
both
kind of
a friend of mine died a few months ago
I didn’t know
he sat for the bar exam blasted up
and passed
and it took a couple decades but
he passed too
where was his promise
I wonder what put light in his heart at 25
I wonder if he got it
I wonder who shot him up
that last time
with the parkinsonian tremors I
doubt he did it himself
wonder how they feel
I imagine worse than I do
and I hope hope hope worse than
you.

Eight Years

Isn’t it so hard to be a person
I think it’s pretty hard to be a person.

For The Production Of Steel

Does it matter that I care so much
does it do any of course it probably
doesnt matter at all anyway since
these men whose names we’ll never
remember on the great freshwater
you’ve accidentally chosen and
your children and your wives to make
good with no remains recovered and
you’ll fall asleep for years
when does daddy come home
but gone beneath the waves of superior
and preserved beneath the freshwater
waves one thousand and one hundred
feet below you’d hope and you’d pray
this makes it right
but i would’ve liked not to have drowned
and i would’ve liked to have seen my
family again of course but
past a certain point
what can you do
and the one profits of the new york
iron company outweigh the death of
me and my family confined to destitution
maybe you’ve been with my wife for her
profit to try and make it work
and my ghost from under those great
lakes
is impotent
because I am dead
and i can’t
do
nothing
anything
therefore

Sky Blue

I don’t know why you
care about me and I
can’t really understand
and I’m afraid of
everything I don’t
understand
and I’m afraid of
everything.

Hope You Might Hope For Me Too

4:52am

I will lay here and hope against

hope I get to
dream of you.

Some Things Are Worth Fighting For And This Is One Of Them

It’s more than a little tired at this point to
go after that old cliché that it’s always better being
younger than older
but I’m still young enough to do it
what happens is you learn things
you learn what everyone learns:

that life has a nasty tendency to slip through your fingers or
sneak past you when for an instant you lowered your
gaze without even realizing it
that happiness isn’t exactly what you thought it was

it’s not a destination because barring certain professions most
people don’t go on a road trip and arrive in the middle of a battle
because that’s what it really is
you fight so hard to eke out a little
instant for yourself
and when that instant comes you’ve gotta dig in and
fight to hold on to it because the waves never stop coming
and they never get tired
they never falter

but we’re just people
feeble fallible people
we get tired and we falter and the instant slips by and you
find yourself nearly overrun and in that instant you’ll want to
turn your pistol on yourself because you’ve heard all the
awful stories of what’ll happen now
truth is we’re most of us no more than two or
three bad choices from
a gutter or a
gravestone and so you’ve
got to dig in and fight despite your
shrinking perimeter

and this is the part that trips a lot of people up
sure trips me up
there’s no valor in this fight
it’s you get up you brush your teeth you put your boots on you
tell customers to have a good one for eight hours in
exchange for forty eight dollars
this ain’t iwo jima even though sometimes I think
that’s what our instincts are really screaming for
a saber tooth tiger you’ve got to spear before it
starts to tear into
your trachea
starvation and exposure a constant
horrifying struggle against forces so unimaginably
bleak because that’s what we’ve done for the overwhelming
portion of our time as a species and nothing is ever unlearnt quickly
least of all the worst of things

I will create distance between myself and reality
I will seek ease
I will stand in line and buy my prepackaged meat and the foam and
the cellophane separate me from the
man who nine hundred miles away struck the beast over the
head with a sledgehammer to stun it straddling the narrow
booth into which it was led and then the other men cinch its legs and winch
it up and cut its throat and it bleeds to death without even having
an instant to wonder
how its remains are to be cut up and trucked away refrigerated
inventoried to be bought and sold to wonder that that’s the only reason it was ever
fed cornmeal augered down a hundred yard trough alongside countless others of
its kind literally cow-eyed and caged and utterly bewildered until it reached size enough to
take the trip to the final spot where the
man waits with the hammer
I will do this
I’ll hardly think about it
I’ll hardly care of course
or I’d make different choices
and this isn’t a poem advocating vegetarianism hell I hardly
eat vegetables unless you count corn mash distilled into
whiskey it’s a poem about well
this is the modern life and won’t you sit here and
marvel at its splendor
all the ease it breeds in me
ill at ease
maybe you know what I’m talking about
maybe not

and someday I’ll make one of these and it’ll be right and it’ll save me
suppose every writer thinks the writing will save him
and yes of course the war in my head never stops no
matter how much I move the words around
what can you do what can you really do
well there are lots of ways to end up in federal custody
and there are lots and lots of ways to die
and lots and lots of ways to live
so dig in buddy, it’s gonna be for the long haul
nobody’s fast enough to distance reality, not really
and it’ll be worth it in the end
you’ll carve out your piece
it’ll be worth it in the end
you’ll find your peace
if only for an instant
and it’ll all be worth it.

Ten And Eight Tenths Of A Mile, 84 Westbound

There are words I imagine
I imagine
for when your life explodes without
much warning
there’s the sudden ice storm the rain which
freezes damn near instantaneously upon the asphalt and at
sixty miles per hour of course
there’s the old spin there’s the old hello the
passing semis
a hundred yards back
what can you do
hold steady touch neither the gas nor the brake
my father taught me well
and the embankment was conveniently leniently inclined
and the center of gravity in a small cheap commuter car is
thankfully low for the rapid lateral transition of traction
there are words
there must be words for when four seconds feel like forty
there must be words for when you nearly kill
yourself and two of your best friends
there are too many things are happening all at once
but I got me two options
and I intend to take the
harder one.

Words For Someone Who Helped Put Words In My Head Once

oh lovely lovely
the pain I could never have presumed to imagine
because of course there do exist
people who hide it a little better than I do
or they deal with it better, feel free to pick one

suppose it’s not an awful bet to just go ahead and
assume anyone you might come across in the street or wherever has
more than likely known suffering beyond reckoning
but we get so goddamned hung up on ourselves
coroner’s summation: asphyxiation by having hanged oneself from oneself
perpetual motion sorts of self-destructive engines we might be
but we’re young enough still
like to think if I’m lucky enough to see ninety I’ll still
think I’m young enough to hope
for the next day
and oh lovely
doesn’t this world just tear you to pieces

speaking of course for myself—largely just guessing in your case
suppose I wouldn’t have minded learning to make more than a mere
guess but I am at this point not but the manner of man who I am
and I know what manner of man that is
so of course I couldn’t begin to blame you

we’ll get to that place
not together, at different points in space and time but I do
honestly believe that is a place and it’s not heaven but it’s
what we all hope and try and strive for
we won’t meet there
but there will be a great open sky and
deep red earth and on occasion the pitiless sun will
run out for a smoke break and we’ll grab a drink of water and cool in
the fleeting shade and it’ll be so breathtakingly

well

the poet makes his effort at five o
clock in the morning
and promises nothing short of honesty
and certainly not specificity

but I believe the pitiless sun will bake the earth to the
grill cover shimmer and the sky will be so awfully blue and
your paradise will not be mine but there will be love in my heart
for this thing I had to hurt so much for
to keep above ground
to keep moving
and I believe in you as well
there will be love in my heart and that must be
what we suffer for
oh lovely
that must be it.

All The Great Slot Cars Of History

though caesar is a tyrant he is likely
well-intentioned and by virtue of charisma or whatever we
want him to survive the
knives and every time we read it or see it you just
hope maybe a little that this time he
makes it but of course
it went the one way
and despite the brilliance of the orators they
all died bleeding too
and everyone was just doing the right thing of course
I’m sure he thought he was very important
I’m sure they all did
all the tiny little pawns of history
drunken poets and emperors of rome
it’s very easy to feel very
very small

I am a car in a slot
a child’s toy
in very good company.