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Monica McClure


Perfume is our new last god.
Consider the transgressive possibilities
Of a few absolutes vaporized
into delicious idiocy, nuclear with
Promise yet certain to expire.

When I said god is a scent
I was being grandiose
About the ineffable.

Poetry is the sillage of discourse,
Clinging to the undersaid,
A hunched vulture in peacock blue,
Wearing Arpege by Lanvin, and living
On fossils all anthropocene.  

Which just goes to show
That god can’t save me
From being this stupid.
But then again I wonder.

Fragrance and poetry, I wonder.
They both seem rich and sad?
When I had no money I spent it.
Now, with money, I spend it.
I’m proud to say, I live on things
That smell better than they are.

Perfume can do almost anything
A novel can do and goes almost
As far as poetry by the living,
But not nearly as far as poems
by dead people.

Recently, while editing AI-generated emails,
I heard a man say monotheism was a
Misinterpretation of the idea of picking
One god among many to be yours.
But not at the expense of other chemistry.

I will never know to what Green Desk
I owe this doctrine, but a tech entrepreneur
Deserves few poems.

So, anyway.
Today, I’m cloaked in phases, milestones,
And a note of animalic ambition.

By grace alone I smell MEM and MAAI
By Bogue; I smell Lipstick Rose, Oribe,
Geranium Pour Monsieur.
I dream in Twilly if I’m moved
And Miyako if I hope to be.

Cement and wet gasoline, gaping plaster,
Leather on the dash, lavender earwax,
Skin rubbed on ash, some iris disasters.

Everyone in the opera box was lucky
To sit in my cloud of Superstitious, riding
An aldehydic jasmine elevator
To an everlasting atomic ending.

It’s a shame faith is boring,
Said one god to another,
“Have you ever tried to be less stupid?”
I wonder.

Monica McClure is the author of Tender Data (Birds, LLC, 2015) and the chapbooks Concomitance (Counterpath Press, 2016), Boss Parts 1& 2 (If A Leaf Falls Press, 2016), Mala (Poor Claudia, 2014), and Mood Swing (Snacks Press 2013).