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David Rivard

David Rivard

David Rivard's most recent book, Otherwise Elsewhere, appeared from Graywolf in 2011. His other books include Sugartown and Wise Poison, both from Graywolf Press. He teaches at the University of New Hampshire in the M.F.A. in Writing program.

Common


The American common is no collective or princedom
but privacies of need & pleasure as they intersect
in public spaces while the insufferable powers that be
breed their plots & afflicted secret intentions
behind our backs, thinking us blind & deaf, witless,
just a bunch of demographic motormouths & screw-ups
to be targeted by commodities traders & advertisers—
a marketing niche for every need, stereotypes
tagged by algorithms—here is a typical team
of baton twirlers in an airport bar clad entirely
in foxy red track suits & tuned-in to the dollhouse
stimulations of pigeon-talking sales reps;
there is a previously undetected aggregation of
retirees, evangelical camp kids, kickass bowlers
and mothy nuns in starched wimples, for whom
the news of the day means aging boy-man
Hugh Grant's fear of double chins—neither of these
or any other category exactly false, but so
acutely overblown once in a while as to lose sight
of us entirely: a mid-town lady in Capri pants,
or a four-square surgeon off-duty & headed
to play poker, or a plumber fly-fishing the river—
a sky of twilight slate now—not a word written on it.

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