Lingua Franca by Jay Snodgrass

I have always wanted to be blended. Biracial,
multilingual, polyglotal, some inner bead
in me seeking to unseem despite my fairly sturdy
keeping within the Caucasian chalk circle.

It could be that first time I drank
synthetic blended scotch made in Japan,
or in high school after I dropped a tab of LSD
then listened to two girls fight in Japanese
I could swear I understood every word.

Sunrise leaves me lonesome and univocal,
birdsong makes me furious like bass from a parked car.
The mockingbird! There’s my idol. Chattering
delirious nonsense, cutting up the morning with clatter.

Sometimes in the dark I hear owls and I feel
like Vikings finding Roman settlements
and thinking they were made by giants.
I proclaim the terrifying screech owl to be
my god, behemoth of imponderable darkness.

I drink sweating Gin and tonics in the summer
and listen to traffic on 95 punctuated by cat calls
and 747s landing just beyond the coal power plant.

With so many voices I feel unable to speak
but gin leases its tongue to me. I cut it out

with cranberry juice so it bloodies against the glass
like wood, with mysterious grains. The ice cubes swim
amongst the machines like teeth. I push them down,
drown it all with a solid tongue.


Date: 2009

By: Jay Snodgrass (19??- )

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