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Eileen Myles

That Country

I’ve just
never known
to call
that country.
If I say
I don’t think

I sound so
smart. I keep
tripping up
on their language which is English
so shouldn’t their
country be the
same. Britain seems wrong,
does anyone
go to Britain?
People go to London
that’s where they go.
There’s really no country at all
just a city
huge, old
haven’t been there for a while.
& UK is just a concept
a fashion statement
an economy
it seems you could have
a relationship
with that
but you wouldn’t go there
you would allude.
Though, it includes everything,
doesn’t it: the UK.
Ireland, Scotland,
England, all of it.
England is right

in there, but no place
else, which is why
I never say it.
But what about the
language they speak.
English. My penmanship
sharpens up. I go to
Slowly the words appear
on a line. Could I
write in that language
Think in it
Do I
am I missing something.
I really think a lot:
The second l in really
staggered into a y
the letters got
drunk. I wanted
to fuck up this
language & blame
its nameless
the victors got drunk
they came & came
the words were never
the same again
in the last century
it came to us
to speak American
which means
to speak
where you land
which means
nothing now.
Not proud
but invasive.
Not the language
not the place
not them
not us
neither an island
nor a continent
nor a world
a spin without
a home.

An edgy
feeling. A coin
on its
speaking up

Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles is the author of twelve books including, most recently, the autobiographical novel, Cool For You (Soft Skull Press, 2000) and a poetry collection Skies (Black Sparrow Press, 2001). Just like Dizzy Gillespie, who ran for President of the USA in 1964, Eileen conducted a campaign for the Presidency in 1992.  In 1995 she co-edited, with Liz Kotz, The New Fuck You: Adventures in Lesbian Reading published by Semiotext(e). She has recently written an opera called Hell and is currently writing a novel called ‘The Inferno’. Eileen Myles is Professor of Writing at the University of California, San Diego

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