Tag: Thad Devassie

The Almost Symphony

I. The Altar of Almost

We’ve long since forfeited lifting up half-hearted prayers to the altar of almost, that pseudo-shrine of near achievement where an out-of-reach challis is prominently perched. This, despite what we’ve been told about petition and sincere supplication. Thoughts of unburdening your almosts land in an empty confessional where a screen and wood-embroidered separation admonishes every admission, where silence is a heavier affliction than the sin of almost.

II. Almost Remains Scoreless

There is no formal scorecard for tabulating the almosts. Every almost exists in the ether, uncounted, an unfashionable scratch, a prelude to cancel culture. Nobody shares the raw data of almost in fear of offending the self-professed, the anointed achievers, those who get the most, display it with upmost confidence, cast heavy shadows atop the great whisperers of almost who can’t help but keep count.

III. Almosting

Between already and not yet, in liminal space they lurch in search of identity. Accepting almost is a setback deeper than not yet, a feeling more like never. They are unsure of its composition, unable to explain what it means, though they know it when they see it.

IV. Almost

It has no crescendo, there is no coda. It doesn’t know how to bow. There are no strings attached. It is a perpetual skip in the record, not realizing that this is the record.


It will be the opposite of toil // the once-towed line that is now yours to draw // to define what has value // what will halve you // much like day from night // labor from leisure // from punch clocks to punch lines from those working the line // lunch lines in the corporate café // clock watching so as not to waste time on the timeline // the time sheets that need to be complete // accounting for hours // by the quarter // like a hoarder of time and profit // yet still not fit for the next rung //the one your brother said you should be gunning for // running for as if you were up for the vote // on the ballot // not some speculative write-in charlatan // work will not be this // it will not be just this toil of hands // head work intended to get you ahead // it will be eye work // mouth work // your words at work // your whole self // poured into something more than self-serving // a conviction of how time, more precious than profit, is spent // work is not the obligation you thought it was // told it was // sold it was // it is a decision // a vote // the only one you’ve got // the most consequential one you will cast.


Blindfolded // she’s been molded into and out of systems of loopholes and bureaucracy // corruption and special interests // a more than occasional rush to judgment // leading to injustice // her antithesis // within justice is word play // just/ice // a metaphor for coldness in the belief that what was handed down was somehow just // righteous // this is no game. lady // and Lady Justice is no lady // at least no longer as you might define it // stronger than the chains // the cuffs // the zip ties that bind // mightier as she drops the scales from her hands and eyes // and simultaneously spies what is just // no longer our bronzed statue // a blind-frozen bust of trust in a system that, by the evidence presented, can no longer be trusted // Lady Justice on the move is not to be confused with on the take // follow her // follow her into the hood and the holler // places urban and suburban // into cities where bigotries fester // she is nobody’s monument // not standing for the standard binary // not him and them // neither he nor she but we // not black nor white or even bronze // but a color you can’t quite put your finger on // unable to tip her newly balanced scales // follow her // which is to say you, us, and for all // pay close attention for hers is the new face of conviction.

NOVUS Literary and Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN