about the author

Daniel Biegelson is currently Director of the Visiting Writers Series at Northwest Missouri State University and Associate Editor for The Laurel Review. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Denver Quarterly, Jellyfish Magazine, Meridian, New Orleans Review, The Portland Review, and VERSE, amongst other places. He was also a finalist for the 2016 Tomaž Šalamun Chapbook Prize and the 2015 42 Miles Press Award.

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One Poem 

Daniel Biegelson

The Art of Misquotation

for JG

“Earth needs a virtual country” writes Neil
deGrasse Tyson of his dream of a rational nation
but we already have Michael Jordan saying, “We’re
going to Disney World” and the whole point
or at least a quarter of the point is that I’m not
sure how to distinguish the dream from the simulacrum
though if interest rates rise at the same rate as the sea
I’ll be drowning in the bed I’ve already made.
I too dislike it. I think. You see, every room
has this person who’s the greatest in the room.
MJ, for instance, though now I have to define
something, say, an arena of expertise, which delimits
the point (again) and that person most likely
has a discordant relationship with time.
Maybe, we all feel this way, whether we can call
our own fadeaway or not, that we never know
the ending no matter how many times we go back
and replay the reel. Is this too clever. We imagine
ourselves closing our eyes and still being able to see.
The rods adjusting to eyelids. We find such moments
entertaining because they tell us something about
our vicarious selves, like how the man near the front
of the line wears a Las Vegas ball cap and black flies
keep circling around his head and settle upon his shoulders
as he reads a newspaper without flinching
and how I was predisposed to turn this into an image
of death’s imminent arrival or say something
like “I hate to admit, but souls are black flies
and there are only so many bodies to go around,
and so the flies fester.” And we all have a tendency
to marshal our own resources and read the blackbirds
for the sake of another world. Because we’re all
just trying to get into and out of our own minds
and like MJ singing smack, Anita Baker’s “Giving
You the Best That I Got,” we sometimes enter
and never leave ourselves behind. And someday
we’re all be wrong and no one will know what we
meant to say or what we meant to each other.

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