Superego, by Jonathan Duckworth

You might be the only person in the world
who is at this moment thinking
of Tsar Nicholas II’s whiskers,
and whether the implied color
in fading monochrome portraits
is richer rendered by your mind’s
South Korean animation department
than the real eumelanin would have been.

You are definitely the only person
who’s ever brought up
Natasha Tretheway’s “Flounder”
in a forum thread pitting Superman
against The Incredible Hulk.
Just because you can’t remember the howexactly
doesn’t mean it wasn’t relevant.
Oh, and Superman won, by the way—
speedblitz + heat vision = Hulk’s ass in chalk.

You’re probably not the only person
who’s ever seen Venus
glinting over gloaming’s tattering shroud
and seen not Pythagoras’s insomniac star
but instead the world’s blotted en-dash
in a blooming trail of ice and dust,
and yet maybe you’re the only one
who thought that that thought
might be the basis for a book.

You’re not the most special person in the world,
but you’re specialer than most—you know this
because there can’t be more than ten people
who’ve ever right-clicked “specialer”
and then selected “add to dictionary.”

***

About “Superego”:  “I wrote Superego last spring in the wonderfully talented (and just plain wonderful) Denise Duhamel’s poetry workshop in the Florida International University MFA program. The poem was in response to her prompt for an ‘identity’ poem. I consider it an important step in my development as a poet because it was the first poem I’d written conscious of the new poetic voice I was developing in Denise’s workshop—quirky, bombastic, discursive, and a little bit zany; not unlike the way I talk. Before that workshop I’d written poems that tried to be poetic. When I stopped trying to be poetic and just wrote as myself, I unlocked what I consider my true poetry. One note for the reader’s benefit: a speedblitz is comic book message board jargon, referring to when a character (like Superman) overwhelms an opponent with superior speed before the opponent can even begin to fight.”

Jonathan Louis Duckworth is a current MFA student at Florida International University in Miami, where he works as a teaching assistant. He also serves as a reader and copy-editor for the Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. His work appears in or is set to appear in Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Mount Island Magazine, the Kudzu Review, and Crab Fat Literary Magazine.

Jonathan Dickworth

Jonathan Duckworth

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