What Rough Beast | Poem for November 27, 2017

Maximilian Heinegg
White Noise

I slept before I knew. In the morning, mouthing thorns,
it took three tries till the engine hacked awake, as I readied
to keep the young busy resuscitating breathless texts,
to press how man’s God’s plaything, or worse, his brother’s.
I dropped my daughter off, alone, & turned to the radio,
for skin or self-absorption, anything but the wounded phone,
the fear for those I love, but share no risk with.
My uniform of cis unfuckwithable skin
faded into what I had left turned on: static. Off-channel
by a hand’s brush, a vulgar dust pulsed, low enough
to be a canvas for despair. With a spin, I amplified it,
& the hiss became the street, the souls on it obstacles,
thoughts some can choose to turn off. Instead, I listened
to the severance—though the station was near enough.


Editor’s Note: This poem was written on the morning after election day in 2016. We generally did not post such poems earlier in this series, which began on January 21, 2017 (a successor to the Poems in the Aftermath series that ran from November 9 to January 20), instead curating the series in such a way that it reflected the evolving national mood and political situation. But now, a year later, we think it’s worth looking back now and then to remind ourselves and reflect on how this all started.


Maximilian Heinegg’s poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, December Magazine, and Crab Creek Review, among other publications. He is also a singer-songwriter and recording artist and the co-founder and brewmaster of Medford Brewing Company. Heinegg lives in Medford, Mass., where he teaches English in the public schools.

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