There’s NO Art in Small Talk.


I hate small talk and how
it always leaves me
syllabically longing.
It’s tedious and exhausting.
It’s hard to get excited
about another conversation
attached to nothing.

I’d rather talk about rare books,
our literary gods,
elevator sex, Lexapro verses,
the friendship between
Elizabeth Bishop
and Robert Lowell,
how sometimes in poetry
the pages weep,
the origins of the word
boeotian (I imagine it
stems from small talk),
how innocence can still thrive
underneath cynicism, and my
innate need to find trouble.

Conversation should be a Safari,
not a trip to the dentist.
It should be like champagne,
shaken and exploding
with bubbly decadence.
It shouldn’t make you feel bad
you haven’t died yet.
It should ravish you and leave you
feeling satiated, weeping
with ecstasy and profound knowledge.

So come sit beside me.
We can move the language
toward enlightenment and
starlight things that help
remind us why we are here.
Or we can beat our tongues
against monotony,
and discuss the weather.
If you choose the latter,
just know I am
dismembering you,
slowly and sadistically,
in my head
one syllable at a time.

-Tosha Michelle