but oh the museums

At the End of the Endless Decade

Mark Bibbins
For years had anyone needed me
to spell the word commiserateI’d have disappointed them. I envy
people who are more excitedby etymology than I am, but not
the ones who can explain howmusic works—I wonder whether
the critic who wrotethat the Cocteau Twins were the voice
of god still believes it. Why not,what else would god sound like.
Even though I know better, when I see

the word misericordia I still think
suffering, not forgiveness;

when we commiserate we are united
not in mercy but in misery,

so let’s go ahead and call this abscess
of history the Great Commiseration.

The difference
between affliction and affection

is a flick, a lick—but check
again, what lurks in the letters

is “lie,” and what kind of luck
is that. As the years pile up

our friends become more vocal
about their various damages:

Won’t you let me monetize
your affliction, says my friend

the corporation. When I try to enter
the name of any city

it autocorrects to Forever:
I’m spending a week in Forever,

Forever was hotter than ever
this year, Forever’s expensive

but oh the museums,
and all of its misery’s ours.

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