It's mere happenstance that I happened to be here, Trudy,
and though I behave as if nothing untoward will happen,
I covet you the way the president-elect must covet time
for exercise and fishing. Still, my intentions are honorable,
my air intending to be incidental as if I were a fieldworker
who deals with real problems for whom paperwork
is incidental, like a catch of dolphins is incidental in the pursuit
of tuna, incidental as the arbitrary execution of a man
innocent of any fraud who hasn't ever conned anything
bigger than a Boston whaler or engaged in any conspiracy
to destroy the government and pervert the course of justice.
He rded quietly on a street quite innocent of bookstores,
and I'm as innocent as he was. I'm a sweet little cat, Trudy,
though it's true I conned him into giving me your home
phone number so I might invite you to take in with me highlights
of the pumpkin festival. Admittedly, the location is entirely
accidental and contributes nothing to the tension between
characters in this poem, but I thought such time together
might conclude with a good deal of kissing, a slurpy smooch
on the ear, and more congratulations before we parted company
with every party in a buoyant mood, so much so it might
become clear to you that my two great loves are tobacco
and whiskey but also you, Trudy, how you find it so difficult
to accept my adulation the way many French leaders
can't accept American dominance. To them, we must seem
the unnatural monsters of fable, crass as the assumptions men make
about women, and their main problem is plain exhaustion
with our youthful enthusiasm, which is plain stupid,
as I'm made stupid, Trudy, captivated as I am by your charm,
and didn't you know that charm can refer to one of six flavors
of quark and quark can mean a type of low-fat curd cheese
and not at all any sublime, subatomic particle postulated
as a building block of the hadrons, which haven't ever been
directly observed but have been confirmed experimentally,
and isn't that idea less convincing than my basest instincts,
my greed and tenderness, my hunger, Trudy, for you,
my panting desire?

__________________

1. "We Were Blundering Around in the Darkness" is comprised of word usage examples and definitions—or slight variations thereof—found in the Oxford American Dictionary for Mac OS 10.6.

About the Poet

Jaswinder Bolina is an American poet and essayist. His first book Carrier Wave was awarded the 2006 Colorado Prize for Poetry and published by the Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University in 2007. His second book Phantom Camera was awarded the 2012 Green Rose Prize in Poetry by New Issues Press and will be published in spring 2013. His recent work has appeared widely in literary journals and in The Best American Poetry 2011. He is currently on faculty in the Department of English Language and Literature at Ohio University where he was awarded a 2011-2012 Postdoctoral Fellowship.