“Property” by Ace Boggess

Ace Boggess


All I own fits in a box & a bag.
All I have loved engages the rage of rockets
blown bright &
quivering back as dust,
the scattering, descent & darkness.
For want of a dollar I’d insert one poem
into a vending machine for peanuts:
the mechanism
washes it back as counterfeit.

How would it be to possess an interest in the sun,
a lien on my lover’s breast, a trove of what bonds
best mature like words of light & warmth
against the blank, blurry skin of winter’s page?

Law books call it Blackacre, some hypothetical
property that can be bought or sold for a peppercorn.
It has its rules—so many, a litany of the possible,
gospel of ownership.
to profit from such fiction …

I must give back my tee shirts, underwear & socks.
My belt shall tie pants to a stranger’s waist.

I hold my plot in the family field,
a black acre.

Otherwise, it’s just the sound of rain on remembered rooftops;
nostalgia for clowns & shopping malls,
lost pets, spontaneous laughter &
eavesdroppings splattered on the unrecorded past.
There’s so much nothing in the world: a man can’t even own that
without acquiring something in the loss.

from Rattle #37, Summer 2012


Ace Boggess: “With both a law degree and a rap sheet, I of course am fascinated with the interplay between both sides of the law. This poem comes from such a crossover. It was inspired by a shakedown at the prison during which all inmate property was inventoried and itemized. Sigh. Inmates always wonder what it means to have so little of practical value in this world.” (web)

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