No plumed horses charged in my revolt, no chariots trailed
nor thunderbolts loosed, no baritones cawed
for mercy before the amoral
axes cleaved them apart.
The operatic crows in their robes—those black guards

will find no antecedents’ bones to pick. Like me,
they must forget anything but tundra existed on this plain,
and fly off with nothing, hewing their complaints elsewhere. No,
horses did not charge over the poor 
soil between us. 

Instead, I employed a simpler machine.



7 Replies to ““No.””

  1. I’ve read this several times now. I love it! You make bleakness beautiful and poetic and I love that most of the poem focuses on what did not happen, so that the negative aspect of the story reinforces the idea of “no.” Just brilliant.

    1. At some point while writing this I realized the imagery I was describing was all imaginary. I struggled a lot with whether it worked or not. Glad to know it did for you, Silver!

  2. Gosh, Nate. This was so powerful. And so beautifully constructed. There was a real Charge of the Light Brigade feel to it at the start, then the absolute barrenness of “no”. Wonderfully done.

  3. I love this passage, Nate: “Like me,/
    they must forget anything but tundra existed on this plain,/
    and fly off with nothing, hewing their complaints elsewhere.” It’s so evocative of barrenness.

    This might be a stupid question but is the “simpler machine” the word “no”?

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