Poetry: Joshua Ware’s “The Divine Mystery of Clothes”

cut from fabric in a secondhand store, unravels our emptiness
into closets of cotton, linen, nylon, and silk
In the dream of fashion etiquette not yet discovered
we speak in hushed tones of a blue taffeta gown you will wear
for the second-coming: a rapture rending
the naked from the nude, a divide never healed
from now until nightdress. I cannot tell you
of the difference; I cannot tell you of the loss. Each night
when you sleep, I put on my gaberdine overcoat
and make absurd claims about the utility of man in the modern age
or the slow dissolve of the soul strung out on megapixels
and bandwidth. Each morning, we’ll dress like interstellar heroes
born from the imagination of 70s television moguls
decked out from head-to-toe in form-fitting polyester
Your make-up will be overdone, and I’ll wear
shiny leather shoes that reflect a distant vision
of far-reaching galaxies. Nothing is as we expected
it to be when we decided to dress in the memory
of antiquated consciousness; nothing is as we expected
it to be when we decided that dressed enough
wasn’t dressed at all. We’ve only just begun
to tell ourselves that divine mysteries have vanished
We’ve only just begun to plunder our wardrobes

***

Joshua Ware is the author of Vargtimmen/Unwanted Invention (Furniture Press Books, 2015) and Homage to Homage to Homage to Creeley (Furniture Press Books, 2011). He is also the author of several chapbooks, most recently Imaginary Portraits (Greying Ghost Press); How We Remake the World, co-written with Trey Moody and winner of the first annual Slope Editions Chapbook Prize; and SDVIG (alice blue books), co-written with Natasha Kessler. His work has appeared in many journals, such as American Letters & Commentary, Colorado Review, Conduit, Gulf Coast, and New American Writing.

Photo credit: iamnotpablo, morgufile.com

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