I draw the line at cats. I draw
the line at parsnips. I draw the line
at LARPing. I draw the line at
five pints. I draw the line at lies.
I draw the line at Richard Dawkins.
At weak sitcoms. At performance art
involving masks. Board games
about shopping. Single earrings.
James Taylor. Vague-booking.
Bad manners. At narcissists. At poems
about being oppressed written
by white MFAs from Maine.
At tiramisu. At congratulations for
attendance. At by-standing. At doing
nothing. At Nicholas Cage. At deep
-fried Mars Bars. I draw the line here.
I bisect the circle. I slice the bread.
I trace a hypotenuse inside its square
of chocolate. I halve an orange.
I line up for lottery tickets. I stop the car
with wheels over the white line.
I draw lines between us. I draw
a circle around us with piss. I triangulate
so my cock won’t miss. I line
my simplest thoughts. I cut sentences
off with lines about brevity.
I draw the line at shellfish, insects
of the sea. At dog shit in the park. At dry
blowjobs. At rapey video games.
My face draws its lines faster and faster.
My heart still jags out crooked lines.
The lines of my thinking change
from year to year like sidewalk cracks.
My eyes draw a line behind each snail,
draw another to its rotten
destination, the circles it will trace
there as it consumes in slime
what nothing else wanted,
each whorl leaning in on itself,
disappearing like cosmic strings
into and out of itself, a set of loops
forming an impossible knot.
I draw the line at gifts like scissors,
watches, and knives.
I draw the line at 5 p.m. I draw the line
when I sign a woman’s chest.
At lateness. At fucking students.
At fever. I draw the line in red, in blue,
in whatever lavender pencil
crayon is on hand. Let us agree
that when I have drawn three
lines we shall call it an A or an F.
I draw the line at unnecessary canes.
I draw the line at all the dramas.
I draw it at designer diagnoses
for assholes. At excuses and passes.
At calculated play with the facts.
At you lying in circles like two slugs
fucking. I draw the line
at no, even when it’s not been spoken.
George Murray is the author of eight books of poems and aphorisms, including the charming and bestselling Glimpse (2010) and the horrific and medium-selling Diversion (2015). A second collection of aphorisms, QUICK, will appear in Spring 2017. He lives in St. John's.