“Everything & Nothing” by Gregory Crosby

Gregory Crosby


The spines, unbroken, on the shelves
of Borders, of Barnes & Noble.

Killing an hour this way without you
feels like betrayal.

Once we loitered without intent
the controlled-climate of

shopping arcades, when the apartment
walls closed in

or we giggled, giddy, romancing the
materialism, marriage,

a Sunday. Figures in a landscape:
Couple at Opposite Ends of

Organized Living™. Man & Woman
With Their Best Buy™.

Love declared in lowercase, a bargain,
haunted for a house

yet to come, caressed the curve
of overly-designed

appliances, sighed after rainbows
of plastic, the multitude

made by the multitudes of China.
Each product, passed

between us, handled, held up to
a judgment of light,

the texture of union split into
waves by verdicts

on our blended self. We were

by things: their pornographic
gravity, their cataloged

reality. Centerfolds of middling
desires, filtered.

In the lodge of happy tedium, career,
we sweated out

a vision quest. Our credit swelled
like a reddening tick.

Then liquidation. Then lay away.
Is that all there is

to a fire sale? Memories I can’t
discount: looking for

you, searching the aisles, something
held in my hand

to show, to present, to test against
Our Brilliant Lives™

Long Past Us™. In these chains, our
neighborhood (once)

groans beneath their weight. Of
Anything We Wanted™

Of Everything & Nothing™.

from Rattle #30, Winter 2008


Gregory Crosby: “When I hit 35 I decided that I’d rather be a poet who occasionally writes journalism as opposed to a journalist who occasionally writes poetry. Not the brightest idea I’ve ever had, but what the hell. ‘Everything & Nothing™’ was obviously inspired by the spectacle of a marriage slowly failing amidst the consumptive paradise of a suburban strip mall. There is an idea these days that art has failed and there’s nothing left but shopping and fucking, and I suppose the poem tries to act, in its melancholy way, as a rebuke to that.” (web)

Rattle Logo