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Poetry

Ars Poetica

In the evenings, we watched Jeopardy
Wore surgical masks once she got sick.
Before that my mother sent me to the store
for cigarettes all the time. Pack of Salem Lights.

Belief

I’d come into the room & try to write
a different ending on those anonymous walls. 
There was less time all the time
until time changed. You know what I mean. 

Certified

We had to present proof for everything:  
My mother was born 
August 31, 1954. On that day 
inside the womb of a minute 
she burst from another woman’s life, 

Seeing the Body

She died & I—
In the spring of her blood. I remember
my mother’s first injury. The surprise of unborn
petals curling light, red, around her wrist.

Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

[Untitled]

There is no title. There is no title. The body is content. The body is window.
The body is container, curtain, chair, grid. Do you see? Bones & shoulders, a spine

And If I Fall

There’s this cathedral in my head I keep
making from cricket song and
dying but rogue-in-spirit, still,
bamboo. Not making. I keep
imagining it, as if that were the same

Old Ideas


The first poem in Leonard Cohen’s posthumous book The Flame made me laugh. Not because the lyrics are especially funny (although there are touches of Cohen’s characteristic wry humor), and not because the poem is foolish (it’s quite good), but because it is practically a medley of every single theme and obsession Cohen took up over his sixty-year career. Holiness and pussies are just a start. One almost senses him (knowingly, always knowingly) ticking off boxes. Angels and devils: check. Art, sartorial elegance, and slaves: check, check, check. Messianism: check:


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To wear a vigorous shirt. At See-See Coffee

       in the bathroom, a sticker on the hot-water tank 
 says, It only takes one or two 

seconds to become 
 helpless in flowing grain, or among flowering graves, 
            down where the boats are being unloaded. 
   It happens so swift, that one 

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