David Wright

Kyrie for the Gut


I am not,                                                       in the end,
anything but flesh                                      eating itself alive
a devouring                                                  inside of my own
dark belly of                                                 ravenous habits,
pleasures, sugars,                                       speaking in tongues,
whiskeyed words                                        again, is my numb mouth
lipped and slurred                                      ranting about virtue,
version of Aristotle’s                                  bullshitting about character,
being, action, not feeling,                         not undressed urge
and dressed up actors,                              but violent or blessed
hands that tender stupidly                       word after word,
without syntax,                                           catharsis of doing
good, and then                                            well, nothing, until
something scripted,                                    a God’s honest offering,
I did not expect,                                          perfectly flawed hymn
falls out of my mouth                                 as if the universe
                                                    a song
not able to be written                                 is shaping itself
and only to be sung                                     in the scalded hole,
and echoed again,                                        here in my throat,
nerves alive with regret,                             scarred by wonder,
and surprised to offer,                                something honest
unbiled, hardly sober,                                but undrunk,
a raw thing                                                    to the day.

David Wright’s most recent poetry collection is The Small Books of Bach (Wipf & Stock, 2014). His poems appear in Image, Hobart, and Poetry East, among others. He teaches creative writing and American literature at Monmouth College (IL).