Kiss Without Substitution

In the poem it is first introduced as a transcription of graffiti. By poem's end it is sitting like a manifesto - set off in its own section - the concluding words to "The Protestant" in Tin Can Tourist by Scott Hightower.

there can be no substitutions
for the metaphysics of our senses,
no substitution for the poetry of our lives
I like how the no substitution observation gets repeated. It is as if we are at some universal grill and must choose from the menu and we have few options for customization. And yet the phrases "poetry of our lives" and "metaphysics of our senses" point to great variety — it's the plurals at play that intimate a certain richness.

It's not just a celebratory recipe for hedonism. Hightower is quite capable of making us register pain's particularities. For example, in a poem about his mother's polio he concludes with her at her dressing table and conveys how what may be ordinary to most becomes an ordeal.
Morning she cried brushing
Her hair. The pain was simple.

Her perfume bottles glimmered:
"There will be pains that will not
Leave you with a kiss."
"Polio and Counting" in Part of the Bargain

Whose pain is on display here? Mother's obviously. The poet-child too? What timelines hover in the mention of kiss... no easy cure for the "petit bobo". Here a kiss is but a point; pain is persistent. And the bottles continue to glimmer, a sign not of the limits of poetry in our lives but its ever changeable valence influenced by the metaphysics of our senses.

And so for day 319