Let somebody else tell the story. This
is where transparency makes me nervous. Oh
they seared our eyes didn’t they? And our so-
called relationship with the Lord, at the risk
of sounding stupid, oh so volatile and oh so
young and violent—we just say that.
After twenty years of being complicit
and tormented, it was really terrible,
and something of a footnote, to unmask
an otherwise saintly figure who threw tables
at us and punched us in the face. We were
driving across the Ben Franklin Bridge. The car
skipped two lanes. The Bible wants us to stop
telling these stories. What rocks more
than a black diamond, anyway, we ask?
The Bible wants us to stop asking this. Our arms
have no part in language. It’s shifted down
to the fist. It’s the basic saga, really, the one
where we all claim to be victims.
As for rocking, or diamonds, well,
we became poor when we decided to be
writers. Some by choice and some simply
resumed the poverty part. So please don’t
interrupt us while we read your poems. We
both know your life could get better. Hint: it won’t.
Hint: it appears very likely our faith in God
interrupts whatever truly tries to speak to us,
which is a version of us, of course. But what
we don’t want to hear is what’s wrong with you.
Because the street giveth and the street taketh away.
Daniel Nester is an essayist, poet, journalist, editor, teacher, and Queen fan. His latest book is a memoir, Shader: 99 Notes on Car Washes, Making Out in Church, Grief, and Other Unlearnable Subjects. Previous books include How to Be Inappropriate , God Save My Queen I and II, and The Incredible Sestina Anthology, which he edited. Recent work has appeared in American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Electric Literature, and the Poetry Foundation website. He is an Associate Professor of English at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.