Our poetry editor, Joe Pan, has selected one poem by Gregory Crosby for his monthly series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

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Edward Hopper, "Western Motel" (1957) at Yale University Art Gallery (photo by Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic)

Edward Hopper, “Western Motel” (1957) at Yale University Art Gallery (photo by Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic)

The Hardest Working Lazy Apartment Poem

I’m surrounded. It can’t be helped. The wagons
are circling the drain, but it will be a long
trip to the trap. I could never buy another
book, & yet never run out of these worlds, inert,
standing in their shallows of dust.
I look at my library & sometimes think,
Humans. Human beings did this. From the bed,
this room, every room, seems to preclude the theory
of parallel universes. It’s your world, Frank,
we just live in it. Or, it’s my world, Frank,
you just live in it. The traveling exhibition
of the self never leaves this museum, space.
The blinds pull out fingernails of light.
Soon, another nest, another egg upon the fire
escape. Birdsong is cheap, cheap, haha.
Everything else in this sphere has been paid for,
thousands of times, over & over, never out.
I could become a minimalist, that
maximum response to speed & drift. But no,
eternity is all the austerity we need.
Blame John Locke: property is bereft,
a hot dish served endlessly at an endless wake.
I’m stretched out in a silence broken only by
everything. All this stuff, stuffing.
But what’s a toy without it? A child hugs
an empty skin & cries, pulling it over her head,
a human blanket. Blankets, linen, clothes, waiting
drily in the dark for the deluge, the patience
of the damned. Let’s wait for the blackout
with our bottles of White-Out, two-fisted,
hand in hand, the twist untwisted.
Somewhere, the gathered twigs, these words,
a bundle for a bonfire to be seen by passing
planes, as if we really wanted to leave
this island. Well, you spend all this time here,
why wouldn’t you write it out; no one is coming
to write you out. I’m tired of these pictures,
their frames. Time to swap them out. Time to get
up. In a moment, the pillow will bloom, translucent,
the soft valley of proof.

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Gregory Crosby is the author of the chapbooks Spooky Action at a Distance (2014, The Operating System) and the forthcoming The Book of Thirteen (2016, Sylph Press); his poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Court Green, Epiphany, Copper Nickel, Leveler, Sink Review, Ping Pong, & Rattle. He teaches creative writing at Lehman College, City University of New York.

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...

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