By Josh Kleinberg

Public enemy number one is dead,
and you are crushing cans
with the rest of the world,
and keeping me apprised
via text.

I shave my beard into a mustache,
and then I shave the mustache.
I have put on a song by a band
I’d never heard before.
The song is sad, although: fuck ’im.

Because the world is chanting
“USA,” and flipping into lakes
together, and what step
can I take, but to shave
my sick little beard,
alone at my place,
the cat whistling something,
I think, about jingoism? Because of this,
I play the sad song.

The first SMS was sent
in ‘92, in December.  In 2001, there
must’ve been a billion, but all I
remember is the strange calm of calls
on the news, on the day
when they sent us home from school.
My whole family wrapped itself
in an Indian blanket,
and waited for this, for tonight,
and Tom Brokaw or
whoever was there
played us 911 calls
and we cried.

It was I think three more years
before I asked a girl I liked
why she’d want to poke words
with her thumb.
Didn’t it take absolute ages?
What was wrong, anyway,
with her voice?

It takes forty minutes
to hijack a plane. The fastest
text ever took 26 seconds. “In reality,” it said.
“They seldom attack humans.”

I’ll bet no one cared
what the fastest texter thought of piranhas,
whether she meant what she said, or whatever,
but you put a man on a plane going down
and all of a sudden, we’re experts in tone.

In an article I read
in an angry magazine,
I learned that the world
doesn’t need us anymore.
They’re calling it “Post-West”
and tomorrow or the next day
we’re losing all our credit
and everything’s done.
But tonight, I don’t care
about what we’ll be tomorrow.
I am worried tonight about who
we used to be.

You told me yesterday, for example,
you want me to call you lover now,
and I said I’d call you back.
When I was 14, I thought
“lover” might be a nice thing to say.
I am 22 now, and I try not to talk.

I would celebrate this death with you—
I don’t have anything against that,
because evil’s a thing we deserve
to destroy, and even the good
get to die.

I would celebrate
with you, because I really think
it’s true that sometimes we need
to hate the same things.

But everything’s changed from the time
we were born. I don’t remember
how to unite, cannot bear to be near
anyone I’m supposed to
or even do love,
because how long
until my voice gives me away,
or seems to say something
I didn’t know about me?

I’ll grant you that tonight,
everything’s changed
a little, again, but I still
do not know
about moving my throat.
I still do not know
where my hands go,

or what would I say,
from a plane going down
if I loved you and wanted you
to believe.

Sometimes I hate the things I’ve inherited.
On television, they tell me
that Twitter’s the reason
I’m afraid to go out.

“What have you done to us,
Osama bin Laden?” I have asked, and I’ve
meant it, and my hate was really pure.
And I still mostly hate that,

and him too, I guess.

And I’ll use
the word hate
I want.