Our poetry editor, Joe Pan, has selected three poems by Joseph Massey for his series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

Ryan Seslow and Leon Reid IV's "Technophemera" (2014) installation at LIU's Steinberg Museum of Art (photo Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

Ryan Seslow and Leon Reid IV’s “Technophemera” (2014) installation at LIU’s Steinberg Museum of Art (photo Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

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What Follows

To arrive at a kind of quiet
that won’t recoil into speech

or uncoil into music, illegible
as dusk and its marginalia.

Mind is place
and world, pieces—

how one runs into another, another.
Remember the dark as it creases the dark

could be any animal.


Is this the season
to sleep off disease

bunker under
a low frequency

write into the distance
between shadows
on a leaf-calloused lawn

What can’t be decoded

swerves within
window vision

locked in glossolalia

where a letter
separates word from world

in perseveration

One last blue jay bats
fruit red as a warning

South Station

Retaining wall graffiti twists
into a word: a kind of sound,
closed vowel, filtered through

a bus window. Massachusetts—
this chewed-through surface
of brick and leftover color.

Image is always afterimage.

Smashed factory windows
flash black in overgrowth

and mask my vision.

That, too, is a kind of sound.

Cold collapses
anything I’d think
or think to say.
November’s wiry
reticulation, the
dull glint between
locust branches.

Sparrow in
a planter, in
a fugue state,
kicking up mulch
by the metal bench
where we sit.

The weightlessness
of your face on my arm.

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Joseph Massey is the author of Areas of Fog (Shearsman Books, 2009), At the Point (Shearsman Books, 2011), To Keep Time (Omnidawn, 2014), and Illocality (Wave Books, forthcoming in 2015). He lives in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.

Joe Pan grew up along the Space Coast of Florida and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His debut poetry book, Autobiomythography & Gallery, was named “Best First Book of the Year” by Coldfront...