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An excerpt from Gulag 101 by Nico Reznick

Talking Small

The things we say to one another:
we could
to make them mean something.

I could tell you that I love you,
even though we've never
really met. You could
tell me that you're dying
and it scares you.
We could talk about the rise and fall
of injection-moulded empires,
the rise and fall of your
mother's chest, as she
took her last breath.
We could vow to behead tyrants together.
We could promise
that we'd never fall victim
to that same sickness. We could
compare our hurts and find a
in our mutual pain. We
could try to share our loneliness,
and maybe the world
would be less lonely.

Or at least we could
like you're a person
and I'm a person, like we're both
made of the same
beautiful, doomed matter,
only separated
by social convention and
accidental skin;
we could say something worth saying.

Instead: plastic bag tax, The Match,
weight loss and where to buy
the best factory-seconds shoes,
the televised finals of something or other,
the rising cost of corned beef, the
obligatory conversation piece
about the weather.

Can't we talk
just a little bit
bigger than this?

(Talking Small - video version)

Thirsty Sea Dog

You tried to be my lighthouse
(though I never asked you to),
a bright, clean, unwavering beacon
that could guide me through
the most treacherous,
the most turbulent,
the most shark-infested of waters,
and bring my sea-tossed self
safely back to harbour.

How frustrating it must have been for you to watch me
- in spite of your true, benevolent light -
wrecking myself against every rock I could find,
chasing storms,
searching for mines and riptides,
hanging out where the sirens
in their tiny, iridescent-scaled bikinis
ride on barracuda.

(Thirsty Sea Dog - video version)

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