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Blood of a Poet
I breathe in the downstairs couple’s routine meals
today some kind of stew do I live on Pluto
or another celestial snowball?
draining bath water sounds like a minimalist score
with peopled melody my artifacts are enough
in order we don’t want more exes especially if “a lesbian
mode” might not be known in 20 years
ME TANGERE call me anti-Christ the bond must
be physical the tomb peopled observe my artifacts
an ant farm with a queen she asks but haven’t we always
jeered dream of a nonviolent mafia
heard my name on Ludlow oh God there’s another one
I know the names…
I know. But I do not have the proof. I don’t even have clues.
retraced steps on the grid
in the change city
split bowl of Italian chicory her hand squeezed my
side keeping pace with
a monk’s heart
I’m an adorable reindeer
Why don’t I fit in?
structures set up to be weird heaven
as if I showed up to my memorial in a
a colorful jacket greeted by a controversy
authentic those with police powers
bewitched in spaces of yielded sway
the world is of infinitely great roughness
the music is not what it is said to be held
hell tonic sound
outside the ice cream shop
we speak silent
vulnerability wakened fists at chest
bald and breathing like a baby again doing something last night
if a frame can be surmised that I cannot do
what is it in me that does that?
hopping down a city block on one foot past the guards
as the city and my foot grows with my hate and love
why did I turn the east side of my Great Lakes city into New York City
replete with bells of St. John’s and the garrets of elder visionaries left to us
a former friend started to make a casserole but I couldn’t stay and I couldn’t tell
her took her spool of ribbon to Lake Park giving her the chance
to become a no-show…
whatever can come to a woman can come to me
a good café will not have
robots doing pour-overs we come up against the academy
and make panic work for us I want men
like Elaine de Kooning painted them doing nothing
and not solemn about it even JFK
and poets that wipe their faces with time
what you think is what you do the long take I entered the archive
and got a sick stomach
too much coffee
plus inexorable rings too many barrels of ink
too many separate accounts of our making
not since puberty had I been so
antagonized she peaked to the very next week
decline except for the ability to amply tell of it
to those who will bear the sight
A WALKING GROVE OF TREES
hide the villains
from the victims I have pension-envy keep it paranoid
the delusional one will only come away with 10% of your meaning
late nights via crackling line
we portray each other in a way
that makes us feel human again
like de Kooning I am devoted to portraits
the thousands of sketches I make of you to know how you are
if you are
Stacy Szymaszek is the author of five books of poetry, most recently A Year From Today (2018). Nightboat will publish her next book, Famous Hermits, in 2021. Szymaszek was the director of the Poetry Project from 2007 to 2018. Last year she was the Hugo Visiting Writer at the University of Montana and Poet-in-Resident at Brown University. She is the recipient of a 2019 grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
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