Our poetry editor, Joe Pan, has selected a poem by Shane Book for his eighth in a monthly series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

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The Great Gallery, in Horseshoe Canyon, Utah, contains rock art that may be 8,000 years old. (via flickr.com/snowpeak)

The Great Gallery, in Horseshoe Canyon, Utah. (via flickr.com/snowpeak)

Mama said for safety we wander.

I remember different lands.

One where soldiers showed me
where all’s future war,
war signs tow and end,
where shined higher. That’s the word: knack.
In the lands we traveled
they give me ‘war knack,’
a dunk leer to target the target,
an inner spring sword motor.

One land I learned to track without phone.
Put a notch in a lion.
I learned serum full a fool that’s larger,
how to wield bladed
phrases, bang
the proverb stick.

Higher’s abhorred words weirdly inured
me, save me from getting bashed, an “um”
so shimmer designed dense
could brain the louchest tête.

Another place the General show me
wires for leering, den rug nerve potions,
ant-ish spy gels, making the phones
workin the inner spring and valance sway.

And once I learned…                        woe                 the whir groom-white skinned

: Tell me about it, Trawler.

All this before they came                             to call me

Bone Breaking Lion              Son of the Buffalo                 Cats on the Shoulder

I                       just a kid.

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Shane Book’s debut collection, Ceiling of Sticks won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, and was a Poetry Society of America “New American...