Chris Jansen, Elegies

Auto Correct Would Like to Have a Few Words with You

I’ve noticed you always write die
when you mean diet,
and Yeast when you meant Yeats.

It’s come to my attention
you write sing when you mean sink;
you write their when you mean there;
you write dog when you mean God;
you write quit when you mean quiet.

And I can’t help but notice
you often say sweaty instead of sweetie,
and leave when you meant live.

I see this a lot.

It turns out there’s a dim-witted child
inside you, ten thousand years old,
who believes only evidence,

and you had better find a way
to make him
feel loved and safe,
her feel safe and loved,
or you’re going
to be making
a lot more mistakes.


Look out now and see
the way the storm beats the trees,
the yellow air turns grey,
revolves in the upper zone,
notice how the lightning comes closer
becoming more like itself.
and the birds shelter in place
beneath the humming transformer.

And look out — here
at the way the the ocean tears
at the shore with its shark teeth,
advances, holds, retreats again

and consider the multiverse in
the microscopic sand,
and the wreckage sleeping far underneath.

Then up and up,
go along with your gaze
toward the black sea of night,
blazing clouds in the distance,
and the stars revealed at last,
beyond the voyage of the moon,

and consider this:

You are nothing
but God’s spawn,

and whether you are rich or poor,
love well or not at all,
sin, feel pain, repent,

whether you hide from temptation
in the desert
or rent a mountain cabin
in which no woman has ever lived,

the end is the same:

one day, all this
will be yours.


America got tired of love,
my black friend said.
“Yeeeahhhh, right now
she’s doing double back-flips
on Chad.”

America got tired of love
and blew through her savings
in a year.
What happens when the server goes down?

America got tired of love
and pursued other options,
wished you good luck in all your endeavors.

America got tired of love,
called the cops,
they took statements.
Someone will be in touch.

America got tired of love
and got a certificate in life coaching.
Most of the videos were fake anyway;
A house can be heated all winter;
Oil is life.

America got tired of love,
grew out of finding herself,
finally flipped her wig
caught the bus
said fuck this shit,
decided to settle down
and found a nice one,
in a nice place,
with nice people,
put down roots
and quietly died there,

Chris Jansen is a recovering heroin addict. He lives in Athens, Georgia, where he teaches boxing and cares for a disinterested guinea pig named Poozybear.

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