What We’ve Done (A.S. Patric)

 so we took the rhyme

out of poetry

and the reason

out of song

we took rhythm

out of voices

chose flat,

unpretentious faces

and smiled in ways

and days

lazy eyes and



looking for new methods

with dead means


terse terminology for termites


desiccated deracinated dreams

flakes of skin

and dusted hope

swept to the corners into piles

swept under and up and away

broke Shakespeare’s bones
skull-fucking the past, and fast
conquering death with a grin
one orgasm at a time

and we’ll call it poetry

in ransacked                                         mother tongues

coming up with Roman coins

she whispers from the stage
‘the murderous heart of Caesar
must be unafraid of daggers’

because I’m still dreaming

Pax Romana without the Romans

without iron swords or empires

a new kind of colosseum

for a new kind of poetry, that

is ready for lions and bears

is ready for other Roman games

like crucifixion and decimation

that sees the stage as a place

worth spilling your blood

and now she says
‘I’ve seen the past and future
and you and I are neither
poetry is what remains now’

and she leaves



what else to do

with                 everything

all the things that I need

to                     sacrifice

she answers as she exits
‘we have hidden the world
in these ancient skulls
we wear as our heads’

a new kind of poetry

that requires Roman skills

with hammers and ladders

aqueducts still running

that offer digital blood

digital circulation, a heart

a perfect reconstruction

an ideal systolic




that says

poetry is

poetry was

poetry never                ceases

she whispers from the wings
‘it doesn’t matter what we’ve done
look at what poetry does with us’

A. S. Patric is a writer and bookseller living in bayside Melbourne with his wife and two daughters. Alec has taught Contemporary Fictions and Creative Nonfiction at the University of Melbourne andconducts novel and short story writing workshops nationally. 

Leave a Reply