The State of Things

David Starkey

Welcome, he said, the King of Bankruptcy

aboard. Among his other top picks

were the Earl of Envy and the Queen


of Study Abroad. Afterwards,

some of us were having second thoughts

about digital interface, our personal data


having been hacked; others began wondering

how much anyone could truly know

about our substance or essence


through social security numbers,

credit scores, dates of birth. Further

tragedies loomed. You were lost


when the scaffolding collapsed, although,

ironically, covered in asbestos and plaster dust,

I was found. After we were evacuated


from the fire, another patrol of rescue workers

in red suits, plastic helmets and goggles

arrived to lead us from the flood.


Our connection was intermittent; however,

beyond the hurricane, skies were the color

of robin’s eggs, or so we were told.


David Starkey served as Santa Barbara’s 2009-2011 Poet Laureate and is Director of the Creative Writing Program at Santa Barbara City College, and the Co-editor and Publisher of Gunpowder Press. He has published seven full-length collections of poetry, including two with Biblioasis—Circus Maximus (2013) and A Few Things You Should Know about the Weasel (2010), as well as Like a Soprano (Serving House, 2014), an episode-by-episode re-visioning of The Sopranos TV series, and Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017).  In addition, over the past thirty years he has published more than 500 poems in literary journals such as American Scholar, Antioch Review, Barrow Street, Georgia Review, Massachusetts Review, Poetry East, and Southern Review.